The word 'music' in the early 21st century means many things. It means Mozart in the elevator, 50s pop songs on TV adverts, Finnish folk songs on Nokia 'phones. It means inflammatory Serbian nationalist song, ancient Coptic Church chant, Berlin electronica, Wynton Marsalis. It means Bach cantatas performed in Japan, Algerian rai in Madison Square Garden, it means Gilbert and Sullivan performed in Texas, it means Mongolian rap. Given this bewildering abundance, how we can speak of a single thing called 'music'? This book will argue that we can. More than that, it will argue that a vast area of cultural practice is at risk of vanishing behind the deafening roar of all those dead simulations of music that fill the airwaves. This sounds like a paradox; how could 'music' be in danger, indeed actually disappear, while the world drowns in musical sounds? The reason is that music is not just 'out there' in the sounds - it is also in us. It is a relation between sounds and those who hear them - and also those who make them. What makes that relation so precious to us is that it lifts us into a different realm, even as it roots us firmly in the here and now.
In this passionately argued and convincing book Ivan Hewett reclaims the unique place that music should have in our culture in its own right.
Table of Contents
1. Acknowledgements; 2. Introduction; 3. Depths and Shallows; 4. Words, Words, Words; 5. Things Fall Apart; 6. Multiplicities; 7. Text, Body, Machines; 8. Authenticities; 9. Expression makes a Comeback; 10. The New Nativity; 11. Rediscovering Music
Ivan Hewett presents Sound Read on Radio Three and is a regular contributor to The Times, Musical Times, BBC Music Magazine and Prospect.