The Problems of Modern Music

The Problems of Modern Music

The Problems of Modern Music

The Problems of Modern Music

Excerpt

During the last twenty-five years a great change has come over the whole art of music. The history of music tells us that it has always been subject to changes of style such as have occurred continuously in the history of every art; but most people are probably under the impression that the change which we have witnessed recently, and are indeed still witnessing, represents a revolution to which no parallel can be found since the days of Monteverdi. In spite of all the efforts at its interpretation made by the small band of critical enthusiasts, the average music-lover is uncomfortably conscious of living in a state of complete musical chaos, a chaos indeed made still more chaotic by the fact that the prophets of the various new movements are often in the most violent disagreement with each other. Whatever opinions may be formed as to the actual merit of the music produced to-day, it is undoubtedly true that no such general upheaval has taken place in the art for three centuries. The war of the pamphleteers over Gluck and Piccinni was a mere ebullition of journalism; the wrath and fury expended on Wagner and the "music of the future" is near enough to our own day to be remembered by many still living, yet remote enough to be viewed as a historical episode of much the same type. We listen to Bach and Handel, to Mozart and Beethoven still, and come to the conclusion that these so-called revolutions made very little difference to the ordered development of music. We listen to Beethoven and think of him as "fixed in his everlasting seat," though there are bold spirits at this moment who proclaim him to be no more than a "great Dagon." Those who reverence him most devoutly hardly . . .

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