February 13, 2010

Artistic Liberty Member, Ney Mello explores the future of classical music performance standards. Based in Silver Spring MD, Ney is a performing and recording artist and a dedicated guitar teacher.

Can we please have actual artistic Liberty for the classical guys and girls?

By Ney Mello

Recently I have been studying String quartets and symphonic writing in order to increase my grasp of multifocal arranging techniques and approaches. I have also become aware of how few are and were the real artists playing concerts in the classical world today and last century.

One artist who had the real classical music spirit was Glenn Gould. Now..What IS the real classical music spirit and why is it not happening in more than a handful of "controversial" masters in the last century and today?

In fact classical repertoire is poised for an inevitable return to its source as a living art. A restoration of the old living values of genuine artistry and humanism has become the only way for classical music to stay relevant in today's world.

If it does not it will die completely. Attendance to classical recitals and concerts is decaying fast to nothing and record downloads and CD sales are almost non existent these days and orchestras are being eliminated.

The source of all this decay and death in the classical establishment is precisely its own decision to be dead in spirit and to teach the classical musicians to play alike as quasi-automatons devoid of personal vision and interpretation (except affected, directed and precisely dictated musical conduct regulations - as is done in so many master classes which are de facto indoctrination seminars of a most totalitarian nature).

Classical musicians have been indoctrinated on how to play the works “correctly" and as "they should be played".....This fascist cultural gestalt was not the reality in the 16th to 18th centuries, when the music was alive and Franz Liszt was a "rock star" phenom as well as Paganini and so forth. In fact very much like today's Gwen Stefani, Paganini influenced fashion trends with popular apparel items such as “Paganini style" gloves.

Mozart was like Andrew Lloyd Weber in popular impact with is opera productions etc... so was Puccini.

However the 20th century was a deathly period for classical music and the final days are almost here...unless: The renaissance of real feeling and real musicality gets going soon.

When it happens (if it happens) improvisation will be re-instated as it was in the times of living classical music. Embellishments will be again a common practice. Performers will be again musicians instead of recitalists quoting the printed page as they were ordered to do and always in the same standard spiritually dead manner.

Furthermore the forced ideological concept of recitalist versus composer must be dropped as it is one of the most poisonous forces that has weakened the classical world to it's knees.

Any composer is also a player and when they played they changed things around a lot and added sometimes an hour of "extra" improvised on the spot variations during a concert's solo cadenza. This was forbidden in the 20th century and remains prohibited today in spite being a blatant violation of these composers’ fundamental values and artistic intentions. The classical player has been reduced to a flesh and blood ipod!.. Just play the file and nothing more. No room for human creativity.

In my estimation, among the very few artists who actually lived and live as real classical musicians free from the collective death inducing directives of the oppressive classical ideology of the late 19th and 20th centuries are: Julian Bream, Martha Argerich, Muza Rubackyte, Gidon Kremer, Ivo Pogorelich, Yehudi Menuhin and Glenn Gould among a few rare others.

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