How far is anyone justified...in expressing or trying to express in terms of music (sounds, if you like) the value of anything, material, moral, intellectual, or spiritual, which is usually expressed in terms other than music? (Ives)New music -- again, modestly -- is a response to the complex of developments which are thrown together nowadays under the word globalization. Questions of tradition, identity, and propriety and of the control over properties real and creative are, even for the least political among us, inescapable and urgent as the way in which we answer these questions can determine how our music is placed in the world, how it is consumed, valued, disposed. What does it mean for a music to identify itself as "popular" or "classical", "new" or "experimental"? What forces control the distribution of music? Who are the gatekeepers for training, prestige, distribution, payments? What is musical diversity and how does our music fit -- aesthetically, practically -- into an expanded repertoire? These questions are intimately connected to issues in the globalization complex, and our response cannot be left at a naive and inadequate expression of pro- or anti-globalization, but must work instead to optimize a process that is irreversible and has potential for good as well as bad.
O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!Our sounds, our noises, whether comforting or disturbing, are, as forms of response, substantially different to the forms taken by either the politicos and bureaucrats at the current G-8 summit or the protesters, both peaceful and violent, shut behind barricades. Musical sounds are less direct that words exchanged or stones thrown, but don't the sounds have potential to be both more subtle and more honest? A musical disturbance strikes me as an infinitely superior and more subtle expression to those responses which have been reduced to either physical violence or physical barricades. But still, the honesty of our response should always be questioned: have we tempered our music to meet the demands of the gatekeepers?
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere
anstimmen und freudenvollere.
(The above is inadequate, provisional, and quite probably preposterous, but the best I can manage at the moment. The piece I'm working on now, a string quartet, is the more coherent argument, I think. In particular, I've decided in the quartet to answer those gatekeepers who'd have us avoid or even abandon the idea of a music that is identifiable as classical and still make discoveries, perhaps even radical ones).