(Elsewhere is a peculiar response from composer David Salvage, voluntarily outing himself as a mainstream modernist, to Kyle Gann's — also peculiar, for better or worse — notion of an "absolute presentism" (which, all to Gann's credit is introduced as a rather tentative term in an talk about "The Trouble with Serialism" (here.))
My own response to all of this is
(a) with Schoenberg, as well as with any number of innovative composers, the roadblock for listeners is usually described in technical terms when, actually, the roadblock is style; Schoenberg's tonal practice is not the problem, it's his heightened expressionism that alienates audiences (although, when placed in a suitable context, for example suspense or horror films, even seriously watered-down pseudo- or ersatz-Schoenberg becomes unproblematic) ;
(b) that the really valuable new music (as well as the older music worth renewing our acquaintance) is an optimistic assertion that we can change the way we listen (and, consequently, the way we live, alone or together); the conservative/mainstream/institutionalised school of musical quietude, on the other hand, is ultimately pessimistic, doubting if not denying the possibility that our ears (and, consequently, our persons as individuals or groups) can change.
elsewhere: there is something rather disappointing about the state of the discussion of the aging new music when access to day jobs as College or University teachers has become such a central concern. The discussion elsewhere is between someone comfortably tenured, but still complaining about it, and someone who seems to want nothing other than to become comfortably tenured himself. That's the "mad scramble for crumbs" (Morton Feldman), that's not music.)
Jeez, am I relieved that everything went well enough yesterday. I'm just paranoid enough that worry about these things never exactly subsides (pace Gravity's Rainbow, Proverbs for Paranoids 3. If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.) My expectations for a new administration are limited, and I'm sure that there will be ample disappointment ahead, but if the US is to be governed at all, it is good to have the US be governed by grownups for a change. All of which provides a nice push to sitting down and getting more work done. I'm even looking forward to a trip to California next week, the land that's always been absolutely present, whatever that means...