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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

Thrill of the chase


Just think back about ten years and remember the amazement of us musicians generally that the CD explosion was still thunderous on the air, and now today marginally quieter yet still echoing around with a vibrancy that bewilders. In steady procession more obscure composers of whatever nationality emerge from the mists, and a fleeting chance of recognition for them depends upon our speed of action.

We all take time to think and evaluate. Music is not suited to snap judgements. There's an interesting diversion here for those who dislike the rush of modern life desecrating our times of listening to music. It needs to unwind for our senses to take hold and gently squeeze this musical fruit until all the nourishment is conveyed to our mind. Then we wait as it moulds a value judgement, a highly subjective process and conclusion.

Whether it is age or not, my rate of musical absorption slows down as time goes on, which was the starting point two paragraphs ago. There’s so much music on record, radio, TV and live, to make us, at times, feel that our system can take only so much before we shrivel and shut down.

My publishing background taught me in my early twenties to search and find gifted composers. Now at the opposite end of the life cycle I still search – and I must emphasise, sizzle with anticipation - for the new music that sets my heart pounding. Music of today, through recording and the CD format, has become a riotous chase of an ever- increasing multitude of gifted composers, so many of whom have benefited from rising standards of musical education, and the ease of recording almost anything.

Whatever you personally feel about unfamiliar music, it is now all around us. Avoiding it will not harm your health, and plunging headlong into the fray will not destroy it. We are all different, but I think universally our exposure to the unfamiliar, if regarded as a positive gesture on our part, can stimulate our minds and thus heighten our general approach to music. But for us, as ever, haste kills.

Copyright © 29 June 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK


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