Recently I went to a concert of new classical works, presented by an organization that typically specializes in the 18th- and 19th-century European classics. The host of the evening discussed the context of the new works, presumably to win over the more reluctant of their series subscribers. His argument was along these lines: We can enjoy the great classic works of the past because they were heard in their time; people learned to love them when they were new, the works became well known, and they entered the standard repertoire. We need to program new works, regardless of if we like them or not, because this is how we create the classics of the future.
As much as I wish this were a sound argument, I think it is problematic. (more…)