|CLASSICAL MUSIC IS NOT DEAD!
by PAMELA ROSS
Are you, by any chance, a classical music lover, or, worse yet, a classical
Well, then you know about it.
The ugly rumor.
And it's going around AGAIN.
They're saying we're dead. DEAD.
As in "doornail".
Let me ask you something. Don't you agree that the names
"Beethoven","Bach",and "Mozart" mean something to almost EVERYONE?
Of COURSE they do.
But the naysayers are out there, my friends, and they are naying that not only
are the classics dead, but that WE who play them are dead, too. And not just a
little dead, but DEAD DEAD.
Well don't just SIT there! Get your ammunition out, we need to fight this
NOW, while we still have breath left in our bodies!
TELL THEM they hear classical music every day. Whether they realize it or not.
In elevators. In restaurants. In supermarkets. On "hold" on the phone. In
doctors' offices. In flower shops (it helps the plants grow better).In bus
terminals. In airport terminals. In train stations. ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL.
TELL THEM the reason their appendectomy scar came out STRAIGHT was because
their surgeon was listening to MOZART and not ALTERNATIVE ROCK while
TELL THEM that they put words to classical pieces to make us think they've
just invented something brand new. Like "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows". Or
"Take My Hand, I'm a Stranger in Paradise." Or "Ave Maria."
TELL THEM little kids play hopscotch and hum the music from "Amadeus".
TELL THEM there's a movie about a dog named "Beethoven."
TELL THEM Walt Disney took Tchaikovsky's music and played it throughout a
cartoon movie called "Fantasia."
TELL THEM MERCHANT/IVORY movies ALWAYS use classical music to ground the
audience in time and place.
TELL THEM their favorite soap operas and commercials use classical music ALL
POKE THEM IN THE STOMACH and ask them HOW CAN SOMETHING THAT DEAD BE SO
And if they are still shaking their heads and wagging their fingers and saying
that classical music is a DINOSAUR and it is facing EXTINCTION...
LIFT THEM UP BY THEIR SHIRT COLLARS AND ASK THEM WHO IS GOING TO EXTINGUISH
IT, YOU IDIOT?!?
And then put them down gently, because I don't think you'll ever quite get an
answer, and also because you might get arrested for (classical) harrassment.
TELL THEM you heard that some people have even suggested "renaming" classical
music, taking away the "classical" part and just leaving the "music." Makes
it more marketable,they say: people will buy "music", it's the "classical"
part that frightens them.
TELL THEM the word "classical" does not in and of itself FRIGHTEN.
TELL THEM seeing an alligator in the Times Square subway station, THAT is
TELL THEM classical music by any other name would sound EXACTLY the same.
TELL THEM classical music will outlast pet rocks, pound puppies, cabbage patch
dolls, Elmo, stuffed bears with pedigrees, Batman, beanie babies,and
TELL THEM to put all of the above in a time capsule with a couple of Mozart's
manuscripts and a couple of medieval monks' manuscripts and see what happens
when they crack it open a thousand years from NOW. See what they recognize and
what they do NOT recognize!
TELL THEM about those Benedictine monks who recently went platinum with their
TELL THEM that these monks did NOT have to accompany said album with a tour of
the world called "Virgins 'R Us"!
TELL THEM there are 3 tenors packing stadiums of 20 to 30 THOUSAND people at a
time singing, you should pardon the expression, CLASSICAL music!
TELL THEM about the clone groups of 3 sopranos,3 countertenors,3 altos,3
mezzos,3 guitars,3 pianists,and for heaven's sake, TELL THEM ABOUT THREE BLIND
TELL THEM about the "popular" composer/performers who have now gone THE OTHER
WAY. Back to Bach and Beethoven and Brahms. Like Bobby McFerrin. Keith
TELL THEM you already know that many classical musicians were rocketed to fame
by P.T.Barnum,and to stop talking about it, for God's sake.
TELL THEM we like publicity, too, but tell them we don't HAVE to display our
mental instabilities or our genitals live-on-stage to attract attention!
TELL THEM we don't MIND a pinch of P.T. Barnum and Madonna and David
Copperfield thrown in with our advertising, TELL THEM it's fine with us, but
above all, TELL THEM WE CAN DELIVER THE GOODS WITH OR WITHOUT THEM!
TELL THEM we will continue to entertain and enthrall and perform MAGIC, NO
TELL THEM WE WILL WEAR PURPLE!
TELL THEM ANYTHING!
BUT ABOVE ALL TELL THEM THAT WE AND THE MUSIC WE LOVE TO PLAY ARE NOT DEAD!
AND TELL THEM YOU'LL KILL THEM IF THEY KEEP SAYING IT!!
Now go to the nearest mirror and look into it.
Do you look dead to yourself?
THEN GO OUT THERE AND GIVE 'EM HELL!
And don't forget to call me.
I'll go out there, too.