Music for a While III
A Peregrine Post (if ever there was one)
[This time around, I return to my capricious ways, and flit impulsively back and forth between epochs and cultures. That is more or less my approach to listening to music, after all. I have one friend who calls this the great pathology of the recorded music age, and thinks that the aesthetics that (of necessity) reigned in earlier centuries, when one was generally limited to listening to the music of one’s own historical moment, was healthier. All something to do, apparently, with authenticity, a shared culture, a participation in a particular epoch of Being’s self-disclosure in the arts—that sort of thing. We late moderns, by contrast, are apparently dilettanti and pococuranti and dainty dabblers in borrowed sensibilities. Then again, my friend is a reactionary by temperament, though not in politics (there he is something of a Fabian). I rejoice in our technological advantage over our forebears in this regard. The discovery of “world literature” was one of the great advances of Western culture in the eighteenth century, and the discovery of world music was one of the great achievements of the twentieth. And, as for our ability to move effortlessly across centuries of musical forms with the press of a button or the gentlest palpation of a touchscreen, it is the glory of our time.]
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