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THE DEATH OF THE HIGHBROW: A great article by Robert Tracinski on how musical culture has declined over history.

Popular music is fine. It’s fun, at least if it’s done right. But it tends to be ephemeral, dealing with relatively simple themes in a relatively simple manner, and its appeal is often tied to a time and place and ultimately retains a mostly nostalgic value.

Don’t tell the kids that. They’ll hate the idea that the cool, cutting-edge stuff that only they have discovered is really just building up the soundtrack they’ll listen to wistfully when they’re 50, their hair is thinning, and they’re recalling their lost youth. I have plenty of my own favorites that I still listen to because they recall a certain era and time of my life, but which I would not publicly defend as timeless or universal or, in some cases, particularly good.

Agreed.

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PRACTICE IS IMPORTANT: Egyptian Orchestra Performs Painful Rendition of the French National Anthem.

Either that, or they did an amazing Ives-ian tone cluster arrangement.

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A ROBOT CHOIR SINGS BEETHOVEN: I’m not particularly impressed with the singing, and even less so than the conducting. Perhaps this is good evidence of how difficult choral singing can be.