Found on the Web:

” … I think the thing about classical music being a class-signifier is more to do with the fact that our society has lost the notion that there are great works of culture that people should … might be excited to discover and there’s a common pool of artistic excitement that in a democracy you should offer to everyone.

“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t broaden the repertoire, but essentially if you live in a western democracy you have a certain historical — well, things have got to where they are now because of the culture, and I think you’d want to look at what that culture has produced. I don’t think it is particularly restrictive. I’d feel awkward at a pop concert, but if I were to go, I’d try to find out about it.

“I think it’s also partly living in a culture that doesn’t have the idea that in order to enjoy something a lot, you might have to put something into it to get anything out. Maybe that’s television culture — it’s a passive culture. It sounds very old-fashioned, and maybe patronising, but the culture of working-class education at the end of the nineteenth century was incredible, because people had this sense of a culture of self-education, and I suppose that is what we’ve all lost.

“I think we’re all drawn towards the commodiification that television represents: an endless consumption of things. Shopping is the easiest thing in the world to do. Most people’s major cultural experience, where they exercise discrimination, where they look at things in terms of color, and shape, is through shopping. Maybe other things always seem a bit strange in comparison with shopping …”

By Richard Buell

Richard Buell lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One thought on “Hugo Wolf for the masses — what’s elitist about that?”
  1. This is innocuous enough, I guess, but it strikes me as tunnel vision to use the interest in classical music as a cultural barometer–now isn’t the end of the 19th century and there are many other kinds of creative, challenging music out there. And from the perspective of some of those other musics, classical music looks awfully passive, too–other people, it turns out, move around, make noise, and otherwise participate in their music.

    Who wrote this? Any reason why it’s not credited?

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