The loss of our national character post-70s

What began as a lament about the lack of good musical composition since the turn of the C20th, going into composers such as:

John Adams, Frederic Rzewski, Ann Cleare, Thomas Adès, Angélica Negrón, Klas Torstensson, Roger Zare [fractal miniatures], Wolfgang Rübsam [ambient music], Robert Lombardo [rubbish for mandolin] and Mark Adamo [slightly better].

… soon moved onto other things. Others were suggested as good, such as Copland, Samuel Barber and Golijov. Note we’re speaking here of classical composition or however you’d describe Copland. In fact Wiki describes his style thus:

… best known to the public for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as “populist” and which the composer labeled his “vernacular” style.

What if, since TToTC20th, the main reason for the dearth of good composition was that the best composers had moved into “the vernacular”? Centuries earlier, Lennon and McCartney would have had no choice but to compose classically or in folk.

And the field of classical composition?  It was now, in the C20th, left to experimenters such as the above, of whom I wrote:

Nobody seems to be able to write a symphony or a piece of chamber music any more, it’s all avant garde, which means a clarinet makes a squeak, someone hits a triangle and the kettle drummer goes bang. That’s meant to be music.

This blog has gone into atonalism and the manufacturing of despair before, thank you Frankfurt School members.

If Sibelius captured the spirit of Finland and Grieg of Norway, who was doing that now for their own countries? The popular musicians were doing it, with their Penny Lane, Our House, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and so on.

The folk musicians had ever done it, e.g. Liege and Lief and to a point – Blackmore’s Night.

But these were collections of songs. What of pieces of sustained music, with movements, parallelling symphonies? Enter prog rock in the 70s until it ran off the rails in its pomposity.

And one who borrowed from classical, folk [Fairport Convention] and rock, encapsulating the eccentricity of the English before the PC disease took hold, was Jethro Tull.

A decade ago, a fellow blogger at my first site wrote on eccentricity and the English character:

He wrote:

Civilisation isn’t just Michelangelo and Machiavelli, its Wallace and his efforts to get to the moon, its loving Wensleydale and its a dog knitting in a chair and rats with shades over their eyes, its merry eccentricity which is a value all to itself.

The absurdity of life is in many ways its essence- when we talk about freedom often we lose sight of the fact that freedom isn’t just a political issue- its a personal issue as well.

Put simply in a totalitarian state like North Korea, you can’t live a life based on Wensleydale and tea- you can’t just decide to build a rocket to go to the moon (theoretically you could in the West) and you can’t be madly, lovably, endearingly and frustratingly often eccentric.

That’s the reason its important to be free- its so Wallaces and Gromits continue to flourish in our society.

Amen. The French had their Moliere. And you can’t get much more manically British than Ian Anderson’s one-legged flute.

But the insidious, dead hand of socialism, now called social justice [it keeps changing its name, it was communitarianism a while ago] has western society and particularly Europe in its grip of oneness, of uniformity, of bureaucratically convenient mediocrity and one of the key fields which needed killing off was national character.

National is too strong and too easily misinterpreted a term. We’re referring to the culture, forged over bittersweet centuries, difficult to define but we all know what it is. And in a few years from now, it will be defined by this popular music below, if this EU deal goes through:

Wasn’t that lovely? And here we are right now, weeks away from our course of history in these isles being determined by those who intend to vote Remain to be Overrun. Just why anyone outside of the multinationals and banks would do such a thing to their own cultural heritage is beyond my understanding. It’s a death wish sugar-coated to look like a vote for “niceness” in some way.

1 comment for “The loss of our national character post-70s

  1. March 13, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Excellent post!

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