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Music is not mere titillation for the ears, nor excitement for the pelvis, though it may be those things. Music tells us about much, much more.

We listen to music to comprehend life itself, just as we read books of spiritual content, read philosophy, poetry or history. Indeed, an intellectual life without music is as obviously flawed as an intellectual life without say, poetry. From music we can glean knowledge of how to live.

And so it is, that Wilfrid Mellers may also be the key to making sense of the current collapsing classical music world, declining ticket sales and fading interest in the 'immortal' masterpieces. The situation is changing, our society is changing and our needs are changing. The music of the past may not answer our requirements as they once did.

Emeritus Professor Wilfrid Mellers
Emeritus Professor Wilfrid Mellers

Except, and this is the exception, if music does matter, if music is as serious a path to knowledge as philosophy, poetry, scholarship, mysticism or science, then we must maintain our collected wisdom and draw upon it. No philosopher would jettison Plato just because it's old fashioned, nor would anyone mock the old fogy Whitman. We need their wisdom, we need their ideas. And so too in music, we need what Beethoven inspires (Sri Aurobindo commented that he thought a true path to spirituality potentially lay in Beethoven's music), what Mozart inspires, what Sculthorpe, Mahler and Gershwin inspire. The very sounds they created make a difference. For indeed, music does matter. And Wilfrid Mellers is one of music's most powerful advocates.

Copyright © 28 November 2002 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Singing in the Wilderness:
Music and Ecology in the Twentieth Century

by Wilfrid Mellers

University of Illinois Press, 2001.
ISBN 0-252-02529-6, Hardback, 224 pages

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SECOND SIGHT - MUSIC WITH WILFRID MELLERS

GORDON RUMSON INVESTIGATES WILFRID MELLERS THE COMPOSER

WILFRID MELLERS - A WEB PAGE AND WORKS LIST

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