Insights into the state of the classical and contemporary music – Book review

The Music of the Future – Analysis

In this article, we refer specifically to a book called “The Future of Music” by Robert Barry. Narotam, one of the members of WKMT team found this book engaging for piano students and piano teachers alike.

In our piano lessons, it is always an enriching experience to have contact with thoughts and insights of people who are more observers of the musical development. This gives them an objective approach and overall vision of how the music is perceived through time, different currents, and more specifically in this book, how the music will probably progress. This is a topic that concerns most of the composers nowadays, as much of the experimentation and innovation had happened in the last 80 years and now we find ourselves immersed into an array of divergent stylistic prism that goes from, in Richard Taruskin’s own words, the notion of ‘Minimalism and Maximalism – “these opposing tendencies that have forever oscillated back and forth in some never-ending and seemingly inevitable historical cycle”. Regarding the cycle of music, the posits an interesting and compelling idea of how the music has morphed from extreme complexities in music, exemplified in music of the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez or the English composer Brian Ferneyhough, to the straightforward and even considered the most friendly-audience trend of the last 30 years, Minimalism, being Steve Reich its creator and most important and acclaimed composer.

In regards the future of music, Robert Barry gives a revealing statement:“A falsified past (can create) a new and unpredictable future.” The “fakeness” that Barry is referring to here is less a criticism than an analysis of the music’s place in time, and he actually tells us that “he prefers the fake every time”. In order to move forward we need to fail, fail again, and fail better because after all: “Might our own era’s maximal bent then be like a prelude to some great flowering, a sort of clearing of the stage before the entrance of the twenty-first century’s very own Varese?

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