Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rigor mortis

I've been thinking about Latin. When I was in high school, Latin had just ceased being a necessity for the college-bound. The Latin fan base moaned and argued and fought this decline in prominence. Didn't stop Latin from becoming an obscure elective for 99% of college students.

Perhaps classical music is headed the same way. Good, bad--doesn't matter. The best arguments from the most knowledgeable experts aren't putting young people in the concert hall seats. Doesn't mean I don't think that MYO should play classical music. (I am a fan.) It just means we need to seriously consider where we need to go with the orchestras over time. Is the purpose of a youth orchestra just to teach the classical repertoire? What do the students really need to get from youth orchestra?

What's to be done about classical music? Well, the influence of Latin on our language is acknowledged in the dictionary and by English teachers in passing. Is that what's to become of this music? A chapter in a book? Time will tell. But I cannot think of any art form that has persisted just because it should. If it does not speak to the human heart at the moment, it's history.

The only good thing about that is that whatever art form you currently passionately abhor will inevitably suffer the same fate.

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