Diamonds in the Fluff
It's funny how music goes in and out of fashion. During my recent musical education there were a number of composers that we studied that I simply didn't like their music (some of whom I have commented on this blog). While I can appreciate their attempts and admire their ingenuity, I don't like the music they have written. Opinions about music vary wildly and what some like others can't stand.
What's important about understanding this is the appreciation that not everything that is in fashion now will always be, and some of the music that is out of fashion may well become the music of tomorrow. Julian Lloyd Webber wrote an article for the Telegraph speaking on just this topic. He writes about composers like Mahler, Rachmaninov, Franck and Delius - all great composers in one extent or another. Some get played more than others, and this is due to the conductors who ultimately make programme choices. The music that doesn't get played is still good music; it just doesn't get heard.
In my musical education it was important to be exposed to a variety of different styles of music to get the largest breadth possible, and then to make up my own mind as to what is and is not my personal taste in music. The problem is instructors have their own tastes and so they tend to try and promote the kinds of music they prefer - or at least promote the kinds of music they feel are seminal. And truthfully, there are too many composers in the 20th century to be able to cover everything.
Who I did study were composers who followed the path of Serialism, and the school of Darmstadt. These were primarily European composers. I don't object to this; the reason I came to Europe to study music was to get a European bent on music, so this is (in many respects) exactly what I wanted. What I learned between the lines is my own tastes tend to composers who took the path of minimalism and returned (in many respects) to tonality. These composers, and the ones who followed in their wake, are the ones who most influence my compositional choices or whose music I most enjoy listening to.
As I continue to write (and attempt to get pieces performed) I strive to keep true to the voice (the music) in my head, to compose music that I would like to listen to.
And, if I am to listen to Mr Webber, I need to get friendly with a number of conductors, get them to like my music . So, if you're a conductor out there, expect a call from me someday. I intend to get my music played.