Sunday, February 19, 2006

A "Note" on Progressivism

Went to the symphony today at the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. The two major works were Stravinsky's entire Firebird (always a treat) and Beethoven's third piano concerto. I don't remember ever having listened to the 3rd piano concerto before--but I was floored, especially by the first movement.

Beethoven was a freaking genius. Even his more mediocre works are simply amazing and transcendant. Listening to Beethoven makes me forget, momentarily, the evils besetting our country.

And yet, reading the programme for today's concert, it was said that "Stravinsky shocked even the most progressive Paris audience with the Rite of Spring."

I'm sorry. Comparedto Beethoven, Mozart or Tchaikovsky (but especially Beethoven) the Rite of Spring is crap. It just is. It's not inspired or transcendant. It's merely an interesting experiment devoid of real genius.

And it's not just old classical music that is genius: John Williams is genius. Gershwin was genius. Ennio Morricone is genius. So I'm not a musical reactionary just for reactionary's sake.

And that's a serious problem. For too many people, the word "Progressive" has come to mean the abandonment of time-honored quality in favor of experimental garbage.

To me, "progressive" means, as the denizens of Daily Kos say, "Reality-Based."

And the reality is that Beethoven is a genius. And that the Rite of Spring was, is and will always be inferior to it, and that the so-called postmodern and minimalist "music" of the late 20th-century is crap.

To say otherwise--to me--would belie my own personal sense of "progressivism."


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