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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

Musical expansion

Music continually expands by the efforts of countless composers worldwide. Goodness knows how much music results from this, most of it unknown, and the work of both professionals and amateurs convinced of their chances. Artistically, the percentage that might claim merit as 'music' is infinitesimal, yet must still be of some immensity in relation to the awesome profusion of completed music that has survived its immediate birth.

Consider this logically, and the inescapable conclusion is that there could be no useful purpose served by engaging a team of experts to separate good from bad, for the world would be faced with an overwhelming torrent of insipid note-spinning, and passable to excellent music from a thousand or so of genuine talent.

Alarming as this may appear, real quality is a rarity in all facets of human endeavour. It is logical that such a matter should be so. Music of exceptional merit can only stem from the minds of those suitably endowed. Nonetheless, what has accumulated over time forms the backbone of an accepted repertory that provides for public hearing throughout the world. It enshrines the greatest that has been penned, much of which commands universal attention. We only need remember such as Bach, Mozart and Stravinsky to witness the staggering creative imagination bestowed upon a few mortals of each generation. Should those select few increase to many, the wastage of quality material, mostly unperformed, would be colossal to the point of absurdity.

Obviously the percentage is infinitesimal. But should we allow the commonplace to infiltrate our standard repertory, musical tradition as we so deeply revere it would be tainted. Yet accumulated riches today are overwhelming in quantity, sufficient to provide ample variety for programme building.

We enjoy the best fruits of the centuries, a fact sadly overlooked by some narrow-minded pessimists. I am sure that most readers have long reached this conclusion without reservation, and deeply rejoice in this overwhelming abundance.

Copyright © 14 December 2005 Basil Ramsey, Yorkshire UK



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