After a recent altercation with a famous musician in which he seemed to deem it necessary to try to bring me down both as a person and as a composer, I started thinking about the relationship many composers must have with such people. I was already thinking about being authentic to ones self, and how this tangles up with the posturing and correct image that many push forward as the only way to succeed in the classical music world. But I forget how occasionally prolific musicians are more concerned of their ego then the music they perform.
Of course this is somewhat understandable, they have worked hard to get where they are technically and of course deserve the credit for it.
As a composer this is interesting because it brings out the nature in which one must compose music that makes someone else look good, rather then say, composing music one wants to hear. Globally this of course means very little, there are always musicians who are interested in performing music in which the aim is not a show of skill, perhaps this obsession has to do with the way musicians are trained rather then educated. But in smaller places, where the music scene is limited and especially when it is rigid, it seems one should fall in into the recognized pattern of behaviour or risk not being performed.
This made me think of how it is currently in pop music, pop music has been taking huge strides today in its incorporation of noise and elements which traditionally are thought not to enter. The way in which pop music is made is of course different, in that performers often write their own music or hire someone else to write it for them, this second one is perhaps closest to the way I would see what I am talking about dealing with commissions. The other side to this pop music is that one is allowed to be as crazy and different as one want's, even when it means that there is no engagement with ego in this sense. It is far from non existent in pop music of course, but one can not say, that one would not be allowed to do it, just look at all the avatars flying around.
But where does this leave us aesthetically? Where does it leave us artistically? And where does it leave classical music politically? Like this musician told me, they the musicians are the ones that keep composers in history, here implying not only that I will be forgotten. The first thing he told me in fact was not to bother sending him music, this in a situation where he initiated the conversation, and after this did no faze me proceeded to ask me to send him some music. This to me shows much of the problem in the relationship between composers and musicians, both whom are very involved in music, in that one cannot think beyond this professional relationship where the composers job is to ask everytime possible if a musician wants to play their music (his critique was unfortunately uninteresting).
Just saying this, it is obvious that there is something abusive in the way someone can deal with composers in that what is allowed to be presented to a public is used as a tool for putting people in their place. The hierarchy is obvious as is the distaste for not respecting a priori ones elders or the famous.
In today's pop music this is not the case, electronic media has totally surpassed the live form, and while I do not suggest this should be the case in classical music, as I am a stern proponent of concerts and live music, there is much to learn in the transparency it allowes politically.
The problem here is that classical music is never a singular thing, one needs not only composers and musicians, but also infrastructure and beyond, all of which is concerned with things not directly related to the actual sounds being produced.
Recently there has been a growing number of young contemporary composers whose aim is to understand and refine a new type of collaboration in classical music as well as lead this collaboration outside the traditional image forming aparatus.
When one looks at it, it seems obvious that new types of relationships and methodologies are needed in classical music, and that this collaboration between the people involved should come out of artistic and aesthetic concerns rather then say alligning ones self correctly socially or politically.