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
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
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.
Copyright © 11 April 2001
Bernard Coutaz, Arles, France
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