MURDERING CLASSICAL MUSIC
A Speculative History of the Present,
by GORDON RUMSON
According to reports there has been a claim that the BBC Proms concerts do not have widespread appeal like 'such icons of common culture' as Coronation Street.
In Canada the CBC has closed its own in-house classical music orchestra as well as reduced classical programming generally.
Needless to say, many classical music buffs (are they naked?) are incensed. 'Too bad, so sad', is the pop culture reply.
One of the strangest anomalies in Soviet era Russia was the continuance of the Western classical music tradition. In spite of the very close connection of the major classical music institutions with the Tsarist regime, the Soviet government retained, supported and even encouraged classical music throughout its decades in power.
It was a strange sight to see (or hear). Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart -- all Germanic masters performed and appreciated in the Soviet Union -- even in periods when the two countries were at odds.
Classical music was widely appreciated by the whole range of Soviet society. (One Russian émigré told me that in her country children dreamed of being pianists as American children dreamed of being doctors.)
And now the Soviet Union is gone.
I have often wondered at a possible connection between Classical Music and the demise of the Soviet system.
Get ready for a logical leap into the dark ...
Copyright © 25 May 2008
Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Canada