KOSTIS APHORISMS ON MUSICby Richard Kostelanetz
Classical music correctly played epitomizes perfection.
The continuous availability of music at home constitutes
a democratic advance.
Music heard live with other people offers a different
experience from music heard alone.
Every classy American city has at least one radio station mostly devoted to classical music. Every classy American newspaper employs at least one reviewer of classical music.
“Early music” never sounds late.
One of the great intellectual advantages of contemporary life is providing a vast library of summaries of cultural artifacts—books, exhibitions, music, etc.—that thus need not be experienced firsthand.
From crooners to noise runs that line of music
No one reading a book, no one listening to music, no one looking intently at visual art ever suffers loneliness.
One crucial measure of the cultural difference between Columbia University and NYU is that since the 1930s
the former has continuously sponsored distinguished
professionals playing classical music. I learned about classical music from going to concerts at Macmillan, now Miller Theater, while pursuing graduate studies in American history at Columbia, and so did many other Columbia students of subjects other than music.
Too often nowadays, in concerts of even contemporary music in the classical tradition, amplified sound is loud, very loud, I guess meaning to signify seriousness, passion, audacity, technical moxie, or lord knows what. In rock concerts, I recall, loudness was meant to affect one’s body to move to the beat. To my aging mind, however, in more austere venues, loud music is just loud.
RICHARD KOSTELANETZ recently completed a second book of essays on innovative music.