February 16 (and a soapbox)

On this day:
Again not so much musically. On to births:
1774 – Pierre Rode, French violinist and composer
1847 – Philipp Scharwenka, Polish-German composer (I’ve played one of this dude’s polkas)
1856 – Willem Kes, Dutch conductor and violinist
1938 – John Corigliano, American composer
1957 – Josef Hofmann, Polish-American pianist and composer
2013 – Eric Ericson, Swedish conductor
And that’s about it for today. 
I’m running into some issues, though. I am obviously just scanning Wikipedia’s entry for each day, but some people are listed as composers or pianists or instrumentalists, but for commercial jingles, jazz ensembles, South Korean pop music, or new age piano-y stuff, and I’m making a decision on whether or not they belong in the context or the scope of what I am covering. Even the choral conductor above (with the stunningly Nordic name Eric Ericson) I considered not including, but he made it.
There were a few of those today, and I opted to leave them out. Even classically trained, some pianists’ or composers’ careers or images or reputations don’t necessarily do much to further interest in classical music. Again, I’m a traditionalist: I don’t care for the two-cello or string quartet versions of some popular rap song as any kind of segue into appreciating classical music. At all. It’s not the same, and those people are not ambassadors for the classical music world. They’re the white zinfandel of classical music (or wine spritzer, because they’re not even really classical music, to me), like the wine that people who don’t like wine can drink. Perhaps Mahler is a Supertuscan, with Bruckner and Beethoven and Brahms (not intentionally all Bs) great barolos and Chiantis and ghemmes or cabernets. That’s wine for people who know it and appreciate it. 

That got serious. Anyway, there’s definitely a niche being carved out for ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ or ‘mainstream’ or ‘pop’ classical, especially with tributes to pop songs on YouTube and the like, but I find it to be a watered-down, dare I say disrespectful, version of the original. In reality, it is not ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ classical music in the sense that Corigliano or Cage or Glass or Babbitt, Feldman, Finnissy, or Stockhausen are. It’s instrumental pop music. And believe it or not, that all being said, I have nothing against it; just don’t try to pass it off as something it’s not. 

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