Saturday, November 23, 2013

Another Thought about Peter Maxwell Davies' Criticism of Educational Systems

I was talking with a colleague about the piece I wrote on Monday, in which Sir Peter Maxwell Davies expressed concern over the number of British youngsters who had never heard of Ludwig van Beethoven. This time I am more interested in the fact that they also never heard of William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. I remembered that, at the beginning of last month, I had been put off by a composer whose songs sounded as if all he had done was figure out how to match notes to syllables without showing much apparent interest in the text itself. The corollary of never having heard of either Shakespeare or Dickens is that one is also totally devoid of any experience of reading what those authors wrote. Ultimately, what I was complaining about last month was a composer who had apparently not taken the trouble to give serious reading to the poems he was setting to music. Where such "music" is concerned, one had to wonder why a composer would bother to write songs in the first place.

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