Music and Vision homepage




BERNARD COUTAZ, founder and chairman of harmonia mundi,
writes on globalisation and the destruction of culture.

English translation by Celia Ballantyne and Serge Rousset


The whole world was up in arms when the Talibans blew up the statues of the giant Buddhas at the foot of a mountain in Afghanistan -- the world's heritage. It was a shameful and stupid act, the result of over-zealous religious fanaticism.

But when, at the same time, the power of money causes the insidious but inexorable disappearance of classical recordings, even though they, too, are part of the world's heritage, few people bat an eyelid and very few of those in the media denounce this massacre. You could say: 'This is market forces'. In other words, profit comes first.

To make a comparison between the giant buddhas, now in smithereens, and classical music recordings, condemned to disappear slowly, may seem drastic. But these two undertakings, similar in their final consequence, are the products of two similarly fanatical and blind attitudes.

Here we have a strange paradox: classical music can be heard in concert and its followers are growing in France:

Concerts of classical music attracted more than 6 million people last year.

Between them, music schools and conservatoires have 200,000 students.

During July and August last year there were 300 music festivals which attracted 1.2 million people.

Specialist radio stations (France Musique, Radio Classique) had their best audience ratings ever.

At the 'Folles Journées de Nantes' in January last year, 85,000 tickets were sold in one weekend.

Continue >>

Copyright © 11 April 2001 Bernard Coutaz, Arles, France





 << Music & Vision home           Music education in the USA >>