Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis didn’t hold back during a new interview in which he discussed the impact rap music has had on the Black community. He believes hip-hop is more damaging to African-Americans than statues of the confederate leaders who fought to preserve slavery.In a recent interview with journalist Jonathan Capehart on his Cape Up podcast, Marsalis shared that he’s never been fond of the vulgarity some rappers spew on the microphone.
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This is just bizarre: Top musicians unite in call for all pupils to have the right to learn an instrument.
Well, if it's for the children... The idea of providing resources so that every child who wants to study an instrument and who shows some aptitude is a really good one. But c'mon, the idea that everyone has to learn to play an instrument is just absurd. Not all children are that interested in music, at least in learning to play an instrument. It is a long and challenging discipline and most children are not up to it. It's a vocation and a discipline, not a "universal right."“Today, we are launching a campaign for every primary schoolchild to be taught to play an instrument, at no cost to them or their families,” writes the group, which includes oboist and conductor Nicholas Daniel, violinist Nicola Benedetti, and cellist and reigning champion Sheku Kanneh-Mason.“It is crucial to restore music’s rightful place in children’s lives, not only with all the clear social and educational benefits, but showing them the joy of making and sharing music. We are especially concerned that this should be a universal right. This is an opportunity to show the world that we care about music’s future and its beneficial impact on our children.”
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Music is not something that we’re prepared to invest in anymore. Coincidentally, or perhaps consequently, music is no longer the great cultural force and influencer that it once was. It seems to matter less to us, and many of us have found other things to do with our time, especially the young.Much of this story will be familiar, even overly familiar. As ordinary music fans went online in the mid to late 90s the opportunity to greatly increase one’s music collection with free (illegal) downloads proved too big a temptation for most. A generation grew up unaccustomed to the idea of paying for music – and that generation is now reaching adulthood.From a purely commercial point of view, this was a game-changer and one that the industry has never overcome, or is likely to anytime soon. But, it’s not just music industry profits which have shrunk. The cultural capital of popular music as a whole also appears to be in permanent decline. So how did we get here and will things ever get back to “normal”?MP3s didn’t just detract from the commercial value of music. They inadvertently did much to reduce the aesthetic value of music too, I would argue. To be sure, this is a difficult, if not impossible thing to quantify and its causes are multiple and interconnected. Naturally any argument along these lines is necessarily subjective and speculative.
That seems like it might provoke a discussion or two.
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Musicologist Philip Gentry rakes the Philadelphia Orchestra over the coals for being, as he sees it, nostalgic and reactionary:
A right-wing fantasy tour of Israel, a glaring absence of women’s voices, an artistic vacuum when it comes to contemporary music – all hiding behind a romantic notion of the sanctity of classical music. These problems are all connected, and speak to the orchestra’s anxiety at its own status in this city, and in the larger world. For generations the Philadelphia Orchestra was one of few institutions in this town that could claim a world-class status, and even for the many citizens who could care less about classical music, this was a source of pride. Today, it’s hard to find similar pride in an organization so attached to a nostalgic, often reactionary vision of its own history. There is room for lots of different kinds of music in our big city, and maybe it is for the best if the Philadelphia Orchestra is no longer at its center.
Well, he certainly knows the narrative...
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Time for something wacky. Courtesy of the Violin Channel we learn just how expressive the violin can be. In fact, it can imitate the sounds of a number of animals:
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Canadian superstar conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin had some words on political protests at concerts. Here is an item on the protests. Slipped Disc has the story on Yannick's remarks.
Musicians are not men and women of words, but of notes and peace. The expression of a political opinion had no place here tonight.The only thing is that we seem to be in the middle of a culture war and I'm afraid that classical music is no more isolated from it than any other element in society. I'm not sure where this is going, but one thing for sure, it ain't over yet!
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Time for something to remind us just how wonderful and, yes, important music can be, even when it is mere diversion. Some of Haydn's greatest music is to be found in his piano trios. The ensemble playing these trios in the box I am working my through is the Van Sweiten Trio with Franz Polman on violin, Jaap ter Linden, cello and Bart van Oort on a copy of a 1795 fortepiano. Here are four trios: