19. March 2005 · Comments Off on On The Town · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’ve asked before why certain works are considered “classical” and others are not. Recently I guess there’s been a bit of hoopla because an opera company (English National Opera) is doing Bernstein’s On The Town. (I’ve played it; great fun and wonderful book! The movie, by the way, is not at all like the musical.)

So anyway, Greg Sandow is talking about this in his blog. At the end he writes:

I’ll say again that most of it, and especially the beginning, is better composition than anything in any American opera. In fact, I think I’ll take it to my Juilliard class (a graduate course on the future of classical music) and ask the students why we don’t call it classical music. The only reason, I suspect, is its style. It’s too catchy. Most classical composers, even tonal ones, can’t relax enough to write a real tune. Too bad for them! (And, of course, too bad for classical composers of the past, when this prissy restriction didn’t apply.)