Avant-garde composers

When I listen to work by avant-garde composers, more often than not I am overwhelmed with a sense of discontent. In these musical constructions everything is too clear, arithmetical and trivial. “Clear” not in the Mozartian sense, but petty and eclectic. In this fragment it seems that the composer is thinking, pondering, and here he is suffering and grieving, and it is even obvious what about, while here there is some Russian Orthodox singing, and there some Pink Floyd, which has all been “symphony-ised” by the bitter-sweet deployment of the accordion and adorned with sweet little gurgles and sobs by the violins… It’s pretty, and terribly “astral”, but I just can’t take that sort of art seriously. 

It is flat music. With no depth and perspective. Easily exhausted as a resource…
With Bach, Mozart or Chopin, on the other hand, every sound is inexhaustible. The beginning of Requiem – nothing happens, the strings play an empty accompaniment, then the bassoon enters, then two Bassett Horns and then… time recedes, drawing the listener into sweet eternity. Like a river flowing…
Avant-garde music, or conceptual or post-modern music – despite all its anguish, cosmic abysses, glugs and significant pauses – is light music, wonderful, sparkling, but it does not touch, it gives your cheek a quick stroke and tugs at your ears…
I listen to it with half an ear, I recognise where the musical material comes from, I laugh and stay exactly where I am. This music does not let you rise above the mundane, nor plunge into the depths…
Listening to it is the same as going for a walk on a picture postcard of a landscape…. It’s all very well, but not enough.
Playing it is too easy, there is no demand for “heart or head” when performing. It plays itself, or as Ostap Bender said about the astrolabe, it measures itself…

From the Book Andrei, Fira and Pitch


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