Monday, September 26, 2011

From a Diary I:ii

Taleb and Blyth: Complex systems that have artificially suppressed volatility tend to become extremely fragile, while at the same time exhibiting no visible risks. They're writing about political economy, but it applies to music as well, for example in the commissioning programs of major American orchestras, which tend never to go below a certain safety net of style, idea, ambition. The problem — the fragility — here is that the repertoire of major institutions, so constrained, becomes increasingly predictable, dull, and less exciting and attractive to the audience, and ends up reinforcing the tendency of the institutions to duck back into their tortoise shell of historical repertoire (most of which was innovative in its own time.) The orchestras and opera houses and festivals and concert series which are bucking the trend and thriving are those which are least concerned with suppressing repertoire volatility.

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