por que ninguém liga pra música clássica?

2 11 2007

Se você é um grande fã de música clássica, eu recomendo que leia este – longo – artigo de Richard Taruskin sobre o assunto (Defending classical music against its devotees). A leitura é mais útil ainda se você odeia música clássica.

Além de escrever absurdamente bem (e isso é razão suficiente pra ler o artigo), Taruskin é conhecido pela crueldade com que trata as opiniões das quais discorda; e esse artigo é uma excelente mostra do estilo Taruskin de destruir alguém. Tente não antipatizar com o tom dele; ele realmente entende do que está falando.

O texto é, na verdade, uma crítica a três novos livros, cujos autores repetem a ladainha que você já deve ter ouvido de alguém “música de verdade é a clássica, o resto é lixo”. O resto pode ser qualquer coisa (geralmente significa rock). Jazz e, no caso da terra brasilis, MPB, já adquiriram o status de boa música, de clássicos. Sente o clima do que escreve Taruskin:

Classical music has itself (among others) to blame for the quandary that it now faces, and I see the reason epitomized in The Washington Post’s disgusting “experiment” with Bell the busker.

Ele está falando dessa palhaçada aqui, que foi devidamente avacalhada por Ben H. aqui.

O que eu acho particularmente válido no artigo é que ele desmascara o discurso “essa música é um patrimônio da humanidade e todos deveriam conhecê-la”. E Taruskin, graças a Deus, chama pelo nome certo essa conversa ridícula:

The discourse that supported its old prestige has lost its credibility. As with rising gorge I consumed these books, the question that throbbed and pounded in my head was whether it was still possible to defend my beloved repertoire without recourse to pious tommyrot, double standards, false dichotomies, smug nostalgia, utopian delusions, social snobbery, tautology, hypocrisy, trivialization, pretense, innuendo, reactionary invective, or imperial haberdashery.

A crítica, veja bem, não é ao repertório e sim aos discursos que as pessoas usam para defendê-lo.

É claro que sobra pra o pessoal da academia. E só não faço um mea culpa completo porque estou em etnomusicologia (a parte mais cool da musicologia. Sim, eu vou defender meu peixe) que vem brigando com essa maneira distorcida de pensar música já há alguns anos.

The status quo in question, by now a veritable mummy, is the German romanticism that still reigns in many academic precincts, for the academy is the one area of musical life that can still effectively insulate its transient denizens (students) and luckier permanent residents (faculty) from the vagaries of the market.

O que ele está condenando é a sacralização, a idéia, entre aficcionados e envolvidos na produção deste gênero, de que essa música é indispensável e culturalmente superior.

The discourse supporting classical music so reeks of historical blindness and sanctimonious self-regard as to render the object of its ministrations practically indefensible. Belief in its indispensability, or in its cultural superiority, is by now unrecoverable, and those who mount such arguments on its behalf morally indict themselves. Which is not to say that classical music, or any music, is morally reprehensible. Only people, not music, can be that. What is reprehensible is to see its cause as right against some wrong. What is destroying the credibility of classical music is an unacknowledged or misperceived collision of rights. The only defense classical music needs, and the only one that has any hope of succeeding, is the defense of classical music (in the words ofT.W. Adorno, a premier offender) against its devotees.

E ele sugere uma maneira interessante de se medir o prestígio cultural de uma expressão artística:

The cultural prestige of an art medium can be calculated according to the extent to which there is perceived social advantage in claiming (or feigning) an appreciation of it.

Well, well, o Sr. diz isso, Sr. Taruskin, porque não conhece um país chamado Brasil. Lá isso não funciona, não. Em terras tupiniquins, o que traz “vantagem social” mesmo é aparecer associado com a música dos pobres. Quer um exemplo? Pense no tipo de música que os políticos brasileiros usam para atrair as pessoas. Dizer que gosta e ouve Mozart é suicídio eleitoral para um político brasileiro. E eu incluiria na categoria “vantagem social” qualquer tipo de ajuda governamental a projetos artísticos: eles patrocinam massivamente manifestações artísticas “genuinamente brasileiras”.

Ele cita o exemplo do presidente Eisenhower posando de ouvinte de música clássica para melhorar sua imagem junto ao público:

Identification with classical music was considered, by him or his handlers as much as by the record folks, to be a significant enhancer of his image.

Alguém aí sabe o que toca na vitrola de Dom Luis Inácio?

Outra coisa que ele critica é a associação que automaticamente se faz entre intelectualidade e música clássica:

The idea that someone who read Hegel and Quine would seek musical fulfillment in McCartney rather than Webern was new, and it was very threatening to established authorities such as Milton Babbitt, who complained, in an interview published in 1979, that “we receive brilliant, privileged freshmen at Princeton, who in their first year of college are likely to take a philosophy of science course with [logical positivist] Carl Hempel, and then return to their dormitories to play the same records that the least literate members of our society embrace as the only relevant music.” Pierre Bourdieu, were you listening? This came very close to enunciating as an explicit program the tacit view of art as a producer of social distinction that the Joshua Bell “experiment” reinforced.

Of no other art medium is this true. Intellectuals in America distinguish between commercial and “literary” fiction, between commercial and “fine” art, between mass-market and “art” cinema. But the distinction in music is no longer drawn, except by professionals. Nowadays most educated persons maintain a lifelong fealty to the popular groups they embraced as adolescents, and generation gaps between parents and children now manifest themselves musically in contests between rock styles.

O exemplo que ela cita da entrevista do compositor George Benjamin é emblemático de como estes compositores vivem num outro planeta e estão totalmente por fora do que está acontecendo no mundo.


classical music is now generally regarded not as a common cultural heritage (except, perhaps, at funerals) but as an upscale niche product.

E o contexto histórico que colocou essa música na posição atual:

The result of living for three decades in a fool’s paradise was a vast overpopulation of classical musicians as many more were trained, and briefly employed, than a market economy could bear. The cutbacks that seemed to imply the sudden cruel rejection of classical music were really more in the nature of a market correction, reflecting the present scarcity of patronage and a long-deferred confrontation with the changed realities of demand.

E finalmente ele chega nos livros (sinceramente, quem liga pra eles?) que se propôs a resenhar:

All three authors are professors. In its strongest and most “uncompromising” form, the heritage of German romanticism is the ideology of modernism, and it is again no surprise to learn that two of the authors are composers who write in academically protected styles. (The third, Kramer, is also a dabbler in composition, but that is not his main profession.) Despite their obvious self-interest, they claim to be offering disinterested commentary and propounding universal values.

E começa a destruição…

Johnson ladles out the Adornian brimstone and the Arnoldian bubble bath in indiscriminate gobbets, desperate as he is to recover for himself and the rest of his deposed cohort the unquestioned cultural authority, and the unlimited official patronage, that once were theirs. The result, a sort of Beyond the Fringe parody of a parish sermon in some Anglican backwater, will convince no one but the choir. To have such a voice advocating one’s own cause is mortifying.

The primary assertion, made on the first page of Johnson’s introduction and reiterated endlessly thereafter, is that classical music is uniquely distinguished by “its claim to function as art, as opposed to entertainment.” The whole book is an elaboration of this categorical, invidious, didactically italicized, and altogether untenable distinction, the purpose of which is to cancel the claims of consumers on the prerogatives of producers.

Estes autores criticam a música popular sem saber bulhufas sobre ela:

Like Adorno–he [Johnson] shows himself to be exceedingly ill informed about the object of his derision.

E esta frase:

Teaching people that their love of Schubert makes them better people teaches them nothing but vainglory, and inspires attitudes that are the very opposite of humane.

E esta:

To cast aesthetic preferences as moral choices at the dawn of the twenty-first century is an obscenity.

Adorno aparece vez ou outra para ser igualmente massacrado:

The idea that in popular culture production equals consumption was already a canard when it was first handed down from Adorno’s Delphic armchair.

Com o livro de Kramer, ele pega mais leve, mas tem um argumento – na minha opinião – muito bom para condenar o livro:

I am uneasy, moreover, about encouraging listeners to decode formal archetypes, as when Kramer uses Beethoven’s symphonic trajectories to show how music can become the bearer of deep-seated cultural myths. Such stratagems descend ineluctably into abuse. Look what’s happened to poor Shostakovich, whose symphonies and quartets, perhaps the twentieth century’s paramount examples of music as Bildungsroman, have been turned into political footballs by interpreters who have no ear for music. Or to poor Chaikovsky, whose symphonies are now routinely read as evidence of his homosexual guilt, and in support of ridiculous legends about his alleged suicide. If homophiles or homophobes can get their various kicks from a Chaikovsky symphony, or communists or anticommunists from Shostakovich, that is fine with me: I do not care why they listen as long as they go on listening. But when they tell me they know what a piece objectively means, and that their certainty makes them better listeners than I, then I know that they have stopped listening. The paraphrase is all they hear.

What draws listeners to music–not just to classical music, but to any music- – is what cannot be paraphrased: the stuff that sets your voice a-humming, your toes a-tapping, your mind’s ear ringing, your ear’s mind reeling. And that is not the kind of response anyone’s books can instill. It is picked up, like language, from exposure and reproduction, which eventually lead to internalization. Kramer leads prospective listeners astray when he counsels them, in a chapter about performing music, that the “most vital role for performance” in relation to the fixed score “is precisely to suggest verbal and imagistic connections with the world, the very thing that the traditional culture of classical music, in the twentieth century at any rate, tried to get us to regard as forbidden.” If the value of music lies in the words and the pictures it prompts, then why not cut out the middle man and go straight for the words and the pictures? Like a good citizen of Chelm, a listener taking Kramer’s advice will go to the market for a goose and come home with a bucket of water.

E sobre o futuro da música clássica, ele diz:

Classical music is not dying; it is changing. (My favorite example right now is Gabriel Prokofiev, the British-born grandson of the Russian composer, who studied electronic music in school, has headed a successful disco-punk band, and is now writing string quartets.) Change can be opposed, and it can be slowed down, but it cannot be stopped. All three of our authors seem reluctant to acknowledge this ineluctable fact. But change is not always loss, and realizing this should not threaten but console.

Altered demographics and evolving social attitudes will work their inevitable effects. New or advancing media will continue to transform what they convey. We may not like the changes, any more than speakers of Latin may have liked the transformation of their language into French or Romanian. That, too, must have looked to some like corruption, degeneration, and death. Others learned to reap its rewards. Maybe it takes a historian to realize that mediation, the hydra-headed monster at which the sub-Adornos tilt, has been around as long as music has been, and its function is adaptive–which is to say, destructive and preservative in equal measure. Autonomous art, the recent product of a chance concatenation of circumstances, will last only as long as circumstances permit. But its origin, whatever it was, and its end, whatever it will be, are points on a continuum.

Tenho só uma coisinha a acrescentar. Taruskin lançou há três anos The Oxford History of Western Music, seis volumes da sua versão da história da música ocidental. Adivinha o que compõe 99% do livro? Acertou se você disse música clássica.

Ou seja, para Taruskin, a música ocidental é música clássica por natureza. O resto é resto. Contraditório? Eu também acho.

Mas você precisa ler esse artigo.



One response

10 12 2007
Edson Tobinaga

Sim, a música clássica está mudando e, diga-se, para melhor, porque os intérpretes cada vez mais se aperfeiçoam e estão mais criativos. Deve-se destacar o trabalho que músicos do âmbito “popular” tem realizado (ou já realizaram) com irresistíveis recriações de clássicos, isso desde o século passado: os Swingle Singers, o trio de Jacques Loussier, o Modern Jazz Quartet, Claude Bolling, e, por essas paragens, Radamés Gnattali, José Eduardo Gramani e Antônio Nóbrega, só para citar alguns exemplos. Chega a ser comovente a interpretação do Toninho Horta do Prelúdio nº 20 de Chopin. Vale também salientar a ampliação do conceito de música de concerto, em que podemos colocar lado a lado Gesualdo, William Byrd, Monteverdi, Arnaut Daniel, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Sivuca, Tom Jobim, Modern Jazz Quartet, Beatles, Foca Neves, Mão de Onça e por aí vai…

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