Music That Will Last

Oct 5, 2020

Credit Mary Noble Ours

People often wonder, “Which pieces by contemporary composers will be familiar to classical music lovers fifty… a hundred… two hundred years from now”?  Well, it’s not foolproof, but one pretty good indicator is that if a piece remains unloved after fifty years, or has entirely dropped out of sight, it’s not likely to be in the standard repertoire after a hundred years.

Love is in fact the key word. It’s all very well for critics to admire a composer’s theories or philosophy, or to marvel at the unusual sound effects of a piece or the density of its rhythmic complexities or the hidden mathematical structure -- or to wax eloquent over some other set of technical achievements. But in the long run, the judgment of the public is much more important than that of the critics, and the music that lasts is the music that moves people, the music that people want to hear again and again over the course of their lives – the music, in other words, that people love.

This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.