Classical music “revolutionaries” and middle-aged teenagers

From the way some of the po-mo middle-aged hipsters who pretend to promote a “revolution” in classical music talk, they’ve never heard of this guy. They’re as ignorant of Virgil Fox and his rhinestoned shoes, too.

I mean, Jesus. 1881. This whole “bring classical music to the masses” stuff has been around for a lot longer than those overgrown teenagers imagine. I tend to be tolerant and maybe a bit overprotective of youngsters anymore, but not of greybeards who pretend to be one of them. It’s understandable although annoying when a 17 year old thinks that just because they’ve felt a certain feeling for the first time that it’s the first time any human being ever felt it. But when you are approaching retirement age and are still completely disconnected from the history of your culture, and imagine that nothing of note happened in music before Woodstock, it’s pretty pathetic.

And in classical music, this attitude is even more so. We’re talking about a musical tradition that goes back about 800 or so years. Isn’t it a little too perfect that the “revolution” is poised to happen just as you happen to approach adulthood (or to have gotten tenure)? Even as they pretend to be knowledgeable about all of this, there is still a deeply buried, not even acknowledged, conviction that the “revolution” will happen just in time for them to get on the NY Times bestseller list by writing about it. It won’t. People have been writing books about culture and society — and topping the NYT list — for a long time now, and they will continue to do so as the years roll forward, whether there is a “revolution” or not.

Meanwhile, the Arthur Fiedlers and Virgil Foxes of the world (although they may now be named Mark Wood and Zoe Keating) will continue to steam along nicely, selling out auditoriums and making ordinary people very happy.

It’s worth noting that in a great two-part interview with Berklee radio, Keating remarked that she has found herself “at war” with the music hipsters because her music is pretty and accessible. They always seem to attack those at the forefront of the revolution, and then — in all innocent disingenuousness — retroactively claim as Of The Tribe them three decades later. (Happened to the Beatles as well, and it’s starting to slowly happen to some other bands.)