I have, of late, been reading a book called The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross, music critic for the New Yorker. It is a history of classical music in the last one hundred years. While reading, I have been revisiting recordings of many of the scores he discusses, and generally ruminating on the many merits, and the much more numerous demerits, of classical music during this period.
It was a happy coincidence, therefore, when Anthony Esolen posted a reflection at the Touchstone blog on the question: “Can there be great composers anymore?” The ensuing discussion, to which yours truly has made several feeble contributions under a secret moniker, has been thought-provoking, and makes worthwhile reading if the subject interests you. Some of what I contributed will likely reappear here when I finish the book and write a Book Note.
The discussion has reminded me of Jacques Barzun’s excellent book The Use and Abuse of Art, which I wrote about several years ago. I think that I will dig up those thoughts and re-post them here.
A-rummaging I will go…