What musical features engage you?

Our era exalts the idea of mass approval, mass appeal.   Yet even though we recognize  Rodney King’s  genial entreaty “Can’t we all get along?” as nice in theory,  it  does disappear in practice.  

Making choices  is not  a betrayal. When we get right down to what items are on any single  listener’s playlist of  favorites  (‘can’t-do-withouts’),  there are all sorts of cut-outs operating to arrive at  those very selections.    It can only be  a positive that  composers and listeners possess a developed sense of self, even as they remain open – wisely – to explore within an infinity of options.  

My  personal  threshold is pretty high.  But I know that if a piece misses my expectations in  basic ways  I’ll turn aside – and fast.   

What do I expect from a piece?  

  • It requires active, not passive, listening.
  • It is  ‘fresh’ in some way — let the composer spin convention, even if just a  little bit.    
  • It is  genuine. 
  • The music conveys,  somehow, that the composer cares about the notes.
  • And, preferably, the music does not give up  its  entire essence on a single hearing.

What frames your listening?

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