Jeffrey Armbruster wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:10 am
Toru Takemitsu and others seem to think that the Beatles will stand the test of time. And the unwashed masses grokked them just fine.
Same with Vivaldi and a host of others we now call High Art. Dickens was serialized in the newspapers. Hugo was a smash hit with the masses. People committed suicide in sympathy with Goethe's Werther. It was a best seller. The French Academy rejected Cezanne's paintings and Van Gogh was considered a primitive if he was considered by the arbiters of classical culture at all. So the picture is complicated.
I must disagree that the "picture is complicated." I would rather say that it just needs a bit more fleshing out. In regards to the Beetles, I would argue that if one academically studied the transcribed music(note by note, measure by measure) they would find nothing special other than what one would find in other folk music in non-English speaking countries around the world. In fact, in comparison to German Lied Musik, they would fall apart as the doggerel called "poetry" today would fare in comparison to that of W.B.Yeats. In regards to some classical composers who achieved success in their lifetime from the "masses," this has always been the case but perhaps Vivaldi is not a good example, at least for me, in comparison to the earth-shattering music found in Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Wagner, Mendelssohn, or Schumann, but certainly more accessible to the general public. And, without wealthy patronage, Vivaldi's works would not have surfaced. History records that Vivaldi died in poverty. So much for success. In regards to Dickens and Hugo, we must not also forget the most prodigious writer to date, Balzac, whose works were also published in the newspapers. But, one must understand that prior to the 20th Century and the advent of the greatest destroyer of human ambition--television, the masses read for entertainment. And, since the cost of owning a leather-bound book with quality paper was inaccessible to them(paperbacks did not exist), the newspapers of the day serialized many authors. Now, when we turn to Art, we must factor in the power of the elite Art critics and schools who dictatorially pronounced what was Art--good and bad. The masses had nothing to do with the process. In my opinion, Cezanne was a good craftsman but a lightweight intellectually in comparison to VanGogh and Gauguin. If you believe, as I do, that good Art transcends technique and has the ability to touch a human's rasion d'etre then we can discount the praises of jealous and dogmatic art critics and the dull-witted masses who have the ability to provide success for Artists. And, like many talented Artists, Gauguin and especially Van Gogh died in poverty and went to their graves believing their lives were a failure. We all have a choice in our life. And, the road you take determines who you are as a human being. In Robert Frost's classic poem, "The Road Not Taken," the final stanza prophetically reads:
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra