Friday, June 15, 2007

"If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art"

I came across this fun commentary in the introduction to the current Brick

"It is very regrettable that so many contemporary composers care so much about style and so little about idea. From this came such notions as the attempt to compose in ancient styles, using their mannerisms, limiting oneself to the little that one can thus express and to the insignificance of the musical configurations which can be produced with such equipment.

No one should give in to limitations other than those which are due to the limits of his talent. No violinist would play, even occasionally, with the wrong intonation to please lower musical tastes, no tight-rope walker would take steps in the wrong direction only for pleasure or for popular appeal, no chess master would make moves everyone could anticipate just to be agreeable (and thus allow his opponent to win), no mathematician would invent something new in mathematics just to flatter the masses who do not possess the specific mathematical way of thinking, and in the same manner, no artist, no poet, no philosopher and no musician whose thinking occurs in the highest sphere would degenerate into vulgarity in order to comply with a slogan such as "Art for All." Because if it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art."

Arnold Schoenberg


Joe Reifer said...

Being true to your own artistic vision, and creating art that achieves recognition by a large audience are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I'm reminded of a great musical piece by poet John Giorno where he repeats the phrase "If something is good, people like it" over and over again.

- JR

Stan B. said...

I think there's way too much dumbing down in just about anything and everything today. At the same time, I'm more than a little leery of those who create soley for the chosen few- rather than try to elevate the whole. Sometimes it can just be a matter of attitude or intent that can enable the latter.