Of one thing I am certain: there are more composers endeavouring to make
themselves heard than ever before. Taking into account the ease of communication
worldwide, composers of slender talent can blow their internet trumpets
as easily as those of massive talent. Some of the earlier variety blow loudest
Nonetheless, we all know that an indisputedly vast resource of glorious
music received from the workings of incomparable musical minds leaves us
no alternative to musical sanity than strict exclusion of the meretricious
lest we drown in a sea of half-digested mush. The fellow music-lover next
door has the same problem and may not be aware of it.
These thoughts are laid down as a prelude to one of my intentions as
editor of an internet music magazine. We are so near to the close of our
century that we can merely look back over our shoulder to view the long
hilly climb music has taken. The obvious question of selecting the composers
whose music and message has taken Music forward as an Art, subject to the
same principles of vitality and stylistic progress as other arts, hangs
in the air and invites judgement.
Let us at least make an effort towards defining answers, and - perhaps
the most important - getting a perspective of our own that pinpoints the
musical pioneers who have played some part in moving everything forward.
Certain names boom out and none would challenge them. By the same token,
a few remarkable composers still too little known will eventually be recognised
for their part in this musical hill climb.
We can immediately conduct an exercise amongst ourselves, the staff and
readers of Music & Vision. Focus your thoughts on the likely
candidates, and complete the form below with just three composers of this
century that in your estimation have progressed the art. Beware of the pitfall
of naming composers who have written comfortably and well in a prevailing
When all is said and done, the 20th century has seen an amazing journey
of musical development. It has also given life to each of us, experiences,
a touch of wisdom, many mistakes, and hopefully a love of music that seeks
only the most powerful manifestations.
Copyright © Basil Ramsey, May