The New York Times carries a completely redact-worthy essay by composer Glenn Branca, entitled “The End of Music?” Apparently the only people who write music that matters live in Malibu and New York.
Fortunately I have a few retorts:
1) North Korean MCs are on the way, as discussed in my forthcoming article “North Korean Hip Hop? Reflections on Musical Diplomacy and the DPRK” in Acta Koreana (Seoul: December 2009).
2) Interesting things are happening at the MTV Music Awards (e.g., Lady Gaga) but these in fact have already been surpassed by the north German rap group Fettes Brot (trans.: “Fat Bread”)
3) Classical music is still thundering along. I’m the principal cellist of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra; this weekend we ripped through Hadyn Symphony #104, the Bruch Violin Concerto, and Mozart Symphony #38. These are still gutsy pieces, especially the Mozart. No CCP, no New China; no Mozart, no new Beethoven.
4) There is a connection which the NYT author is missing, completely, between music performance and enjoyment of fine Chinese dining in Seattle’s “Tai Tung,” the restaurant founded in the heat of anti-Japanese resistance in 1936. Perhaps it was a good thing I spent some time with Chairman Mao’s 1938 essay “On Protracted Warfare” before these arrived, perhaps from the cauldron of Yanan: