Festival 20·21: open mind, open ears
Many music lovers still feel that music history ends around 1900. Music written after then, they feel, is contrived, difficult to understand and not enjoyable to listen to.
Open-mindedness is what it’s all about
The great(est) villain in this regard was Arnold Schoenberg, who in around 1910 threw all the familiar conventions around composition overboard and launched himself into a distant atonal galaxy. Gone was the recognisable, gone was the blissful enjoyment, and gone was the audience!
Music fans were suddenly expected to become intellectuals, so to speak.
This perception is totally wrong. Of course, Schoenberg and many other composers did pull out more stops, and did attempt to transport listeners to new and unfamiliar destinations in the 20th and 21st centuries. But it’s nonsense to say that these new stops and destinations were contrived, difficult and impossible to enjoy.
After all, music is never a stand-alone phenomenon; to a great extent, it is the listener’s attitude that determines how accessible the music is. The more listeners are willing to cast off fixed patterns and conventions, the more recep- tive they will be to the enchantment of new sonic worlds. The more they are open to the staggering diversity of musical possibilities, the more they will be transported or captivated by its delightful contrariness, its confusing idiosyn- crasy or its unsettling beauty.
Open-mindedness is what it’s all about, and music is no exception.
That’s why the Festival 20·21 motto is ‘open mind, open ears’. Our festival fiddles around with preconceived habits and facile prejudices. Its foundation is the conviction that enriching our musical taste also enriches who we are as humanity. We are convinced that this humanity also benefits from minimal familiarity with the classical-music culture from our recent past – as seems obviously to be the case with literature, architecture and the visual arts.
Based on this conviction, Festival 20·21 aims to fan the flames of curiosity. Each and every one of the concerts is conceived of as a musical adventure that stimulates, challenges, amazes and changes people.
Festival 20·21 aims to fan the flames of curiosity. Each and every one of the concerts is conceived of as a musical adventure that stimulates, challenges, amazes and changes people.