Monday, October 10, 2005

More about Nicholas Maw

Tom DePlonty asked me today about Nicholas Maw - What kind of music does he write? Did the English Horn Concerto have anything redeeming about it at all? Well, You can read more about him here and here. The work is in an extended Romantic style, as he says:

"I'm becoming more and more concerned with what music has lost, with the things a composer can't do any more. I want to be able to do them again... There was a break in the natural tradition around 1914, for obvious social and political reasons... It seems that I am trying to regain that tradition."

Of course, the idea of trying to "regain that tradition" is ok, if you believe in the idea of "progess", that stylistic periods progress into one another. I, for one, do not believe this, I think that as our philosophies change, as our world changes around us, art changes with it. The change from the Baroque ideals to the Classical ideals is not one of "progess", but one of ideas building up to critcal mass, and then we head off in another direction, using bits and pieces of the rubble to create something new, perhaps better, perhaps not. Why not claim that the movement into the Romantic period was a wrong direction to move in and so we should return to Classical ideals? Or why not go back even further?


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