DESSICAL THOUGHTS

Des’s Classical Music extravaganza of links, lilts and lost life (1999)

My own definition of ‘Classical Music’ (shown here in 2004): “A formless area (defaulting towards an aspirationally cultural & predominantly exact art form) within the universal, uncompartmentalised, wholly accessible language of sound commonly known as music: encouraging spirituality and/or various permutations of all human emotions — centring on and radiating from the serious deployment of an ostensibly organised pattern of acoustic sounds as produced by orchestral instruments and voices (performed normally by established or qualified interpreters/musicians, from one to very many). The question of taste and the unknowable relativities of disharmony and harmony are no part of this definition, because such affective considerations differ from individual to individual.”

“The ‘Classical’ in ‘Classical Music’ entails Romantic and all manner of other styles ancient and new: a Marriage of Heaven and Hell from Baroque to Broke. Indents and spacings-out with ligetis or ligottis and other knots of text that create new visions, new meanings: ugly or sublime, rarely neither, often both.” — from ‘Thumper-Monster: The Phenomenology of Music’ (2001) by Tokkmaster Clerke.

“‘Classical Music’ is the music that is sold from the Classical Music department of HMV in Oxford Street, London.”  — from ‘Simple Definitions’ (1996) by Nial Hopper.

THE BOOK’S FRONT COVER WORKS POWERFULLY IN REAL LIFE ON A REAL BOOK.

THE INTERNET IMAGE CANNOT DO IT JUSTICE.

“Hovering dreamlike above them I could see they contained the musical notation for an ambitious symphony, though judging by the number of torn and wadded up sheets, violent pen slashes marring many of the pages, it didn’t appear to be going too well. And even though I recognised a few standard notes, there were many that I didn’t, nor did I recognise them as normal notes per se. Strange, nonsense markings stood out in various places on the musical staff, indicating … I know not what. Nor did I know what sort of musical instrument, or what sort of string could produce such so-called notes.” — from STRINGS by S.D. Tullis

“Its geometry crumbles, flares, bursts, so that he thinks of a house alight: black beams on white heat, the door flung wide, a mouth of flames.” — from DE PROFUNDIS by Daniel Mills

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LATER EDIT

I have slightly altered my own definition of ‘classical music’ above as a result of discussion elsewhere: “A formless area (defaulting towards an aspirationally cultural & predominantly exact art form) within the universal, uncompartmentalised, wholly accessible language of sound commonly known as music: encouraging spirituality and/or various permutations of all human emotions — centring on and radiating from the serious deployment of an ostensibly organised pattern of acoustic sounds as produced by instruments and voices (performed normally by established or qualified interpreters/musicians, from one to very many, whose identities are subsumed by that of the composer’s surname). The question of taste and the unknowable relativities of disharmony and harmony are no part of this definition, because such affective considerations differ from individual to individual.”

I think mankind has ever tried to define terms that had been taken for granted over the years. I am trying to define a style of music that grew up into a whole department in HMV on Oxford Street London called ‘Classical Music’ (in one room, this was certainly the case in the 1990s) incorporating Mediaeval music, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Beethoven, Schubert etc. and then composers like Wagner, Mahler, Shostakovich, Britten, Bartok, Webern, Stockhausen, Glass – all of which (and many more) I love.

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