February 3, 2005
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UnPop Music

Michael Druzinsky, a composer, sends along a link to an interesting review by Martin Kettle in The Guardian that explores why classical music's history, which spans hundreds of years, suddenly ended fifty years ago. (Turnadot premiered in 1924; since then, no opera has lasted in the repertoire. Aaron Copland and Olivier Messiaen died in the 90's, Shostakovitch and Britten have been dead 30 years.)

The audience that mattered to modernists (even the many who saw themselves as socialists) ceased to be the general public and increasingly became other composers and the intellectual, often university-based, establishment that claimed to validate the new music, not least through its influence over state patronage. Any failure of the music to become popular was ascribed not to the composer's lack of communication but the public's lack of understanding.

Anja Rau, on reading a critique of net art in Die Zeit, worries that too many of today's hyperfictiions "are children of their time: self-reflective, plotless, formal."

But, much as I hate to say this, there's some truth here. Where's the hyperfiction that's really keeling me over? There's Donna Leishman's phd-project, Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw. There is Of Day, of Night, forthcoming from Eastgate Systems. But i haven't been thrilled or provoked into thought lately. And that's especially true for computer games.