two kinds of music…

The Arnica Quartet

There is two kinds of music the good and bad. I play the good kind. – Louis Armstrong

Last night the Arnica Quartet played for a Friends of the Oregon Symphony (FOS) Parties of Note event.  Held in a lovely 60’s era Rummer home in Beaverton, the planning for the party quickly evolved into music built around the idea of the setting of the Mad Men television series.  As I was gathering together music for the evening, I realized that even though there was not any “classical” music per se on the program, it was all good – even great – music.  Henry Mancini, Leroy Anderson, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney were each very talented songwriters and composers, and their best work really stands up with some of the best “classical” music.  This reminded me of the first paragraph of Alex Ross’ new book Listen to This (originally published as an essay in the The New Yorker magazine):

I hate “classical music”: not the thing but the name. It traps a tenaciously living art in a theme park of the past. It cancels out the possibility that music in the spirit of Beethoven could still be created today. It banishes into limbo the work of thousands of active composers who have to explain to otherwise well-informed people what it is they do for a living. The phrase is a masterpiece of negative publicity, a tour de force of anti-hype. I wish there were another name. I envy jazz people who speak simply of “the music.” Some jazz aficionados also call their art “America’s classical music,” and I propose a trade: they can have “classical,” I’ll take “the music.”

I was also struck by this sentiment as we were rehearsing for our first pops program for this weekend.  There is such a wealth of music that is so incredibly effective, moving, and well-crafted that has been put into a non-classical box.  I prefer to think of it as good music.

One Reply to “two kinds of music…”

  1. looks/sounds like y’all had a fine time.

    PLUS, i agree with the sentiments in your mini-essay.

    may music continue to be music . . .

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