Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kitsch: Thought for the Day

I’ve been reading The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross and was struck by this in a chapter on the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius:

“Mainstream audiences may lag behind the intellectual classes in appreciating the more adventurous composers, but sometimes they are quicker to perceive the value of music that the politicians of style fail to comprehend. Nicolas Slonimsky once put together a delightful book titled Lexicon of Music Invective, anthologizing wrongheaded music criticism in which now canonical masterpieces were compared to feline caterwauling, barnyard noises, and so on. Slonimsky should also have written a Lexicon of Musical Condescension, gathering high-minded essays in which now canonical masterpieces were dismissed as kitsch, with a long section reserved for Sibelius.”

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