So what’s so special about YOUR kind of music? some people ask classical musicians. As if we all were von oben snobs. Which some (a few) of us ARE, but that shouldn’t reflect negatively on the music.
Let me try to partially answer that question. And bear in mind that even though I am a classical pianist and composer I am no “homeboy”; as a listener I have traveled wide in the country of Melosophia.
So, a quick answer.
— If we compare different genres (classical, jazz, pop, rock, hip-hop, etc.) we can see that classical is an old beast. How old depends on how we are counting, but let’s say around thousand years? That’s old, an extra zero compared with other genres.
Old and I would say mature. Classical is out of kindergarten (even if we like to be scherzando childish at times).
— It understands the values of softness, silence, meditation and inward turned centripetality. Classical music is not materialistic, praising money, fast cars and gold necklaces. Much of is it “religious”, turned towards a spiritual world.
There is no such thing as a gangsta sonata (but due to the unfortunate, modern tendency of desperately trying to be “with it” there might be one next year).
— Classical music has the highest level of Yin of the different genres, at least in our Western world. (Eastern music is a world to itself.) In a world caught up in Yang, often of a negative kind (action orientation, speed, stress, the fast buck, etc.) classical music can act as a balancing force.
— Classical musicians understand the meaning of long-term. Nobody ask how long it took a pianist to learn the pieces for his recital. And if it took a really LONG time, nobody says: The concert was an artistic success but a financial failure! We are (relatively) free from the germs of Taylorism and cost-effective hinking.
For example, Vladimir Horowitz was approached by a young fan after a recital.
Fan: Maestro, how do you play that phrase in bar 26 so beautifully?
Horowitz: Simple, my dear. It only took all of my life.
— The classical domain is far from a totally harmonious and ethical paradise, however, we do have a special place reserved for the Muse. It’s not just about our own careers and number of Twitter followers. The words inspiration, dedication and service (of things invisible) represent real values for us.
That is enough for now. However, check my first post about the silent aspect of classical: Collection of silences – 1.