The symphony of thoughts composed by the woke ensemble cast of leftists is out of tune. Today’s progressives are writing random notes on blank sheets to appeal to tone-deaf comrades in academia and the press. Instead of producing a new movement that would deliver standing ovations and demands for encores, the left is creating a Requiem Mass for decency and common sense. The cancel culture crusaders have put together another performance of the Theater of the Absurd by targeting a legendary classical composer who has been dead for 200 years: Ludwig van Beethoven.
Beethoven is Canceled
Beethoven is synonymous with classical music. He produced a library of works that even today offer a lifetime of entertainment. Everyone has a favorite tune from the German composer: Piano Sonata No. 14, the second movement from his Seventh Symphony, Ode to Joy from his Ninth Symphony, and every beginner piano student’s required playing Fur Elise. Thanks to today’s technology, everyone can access his music. You do not need to attend a concert, buy a CD, or comb through your grandfather’s record collection.
Today’s neo-Marxists leading the modern-day Cultural Revolution have placed a bullseye on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, pontificating that the heavenly composition represents white superiority, as well as “exclusion and elitism.” In a Vox article titled “How Beethoven’s 5th Symphony put the classism in classical music,” Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding regurgitated the tired and empty platitudes of how the hallmark of Western Civilization reminds women, LGBTQ+, and people of color it is classist. If that is what springs to mind when hearing J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations or Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, then perhaps you may have listened to too much Cardi B.
The Vox blog referenced classical music critic James Bennett II. The critic has complained that Beethoven’s popularity “is part of the problem” since “you perpetuate the idea that the giants of the music all look the same, it conveys to the ‘other’ that there’s not a stake in that music for them.” It also quoted New York Philharmonic clarinetist Anthony McGill, who says championing Beethoven “will alienate new listeners” because the classical community is “not promoting any of the composers alive today.”
Let’s explore these two points. If you think Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Liszt, and Antonio Vivaldi look the same, perhaps it would be wise to look at their portraits. Second, even novice or passive listeners of classical music know that there is more than Beethoven – and that his music might even expand someone’s interest in the genre. Plus, contemporary composers are plastered throughout the industry, from Max Richter to Ludovico Einaudi to Phillip Glass.
The Vox duo then grieved about how concert halls have conventions and etiquette, writing:
“Today, some aspects of classical culture are still about policing who’s in and who’s out. When you walk into a standard concert hall, there’s an established set of conventions and etiquette (“don’t cough!”; “don’t cheer!”; “dress appropriately!”) that can feel as much about demonstrating belonging as appreciating the music.”
But is expecting a rudimentary standard of decorum really “gatekeeping”? Is being asked to turn off your smartphone or refrain from repeatedly entering and exiting the auditorium preventing LGBTQ+ community members from attending Sergei Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos? Hardly. Societal protocols evolve over time. Every institution involving groups of people consists of rules; it is not confined to attending opera. It is safe to say that concert halls are doing everything they can to attract and accommodate the younger crowd, including not forcing people to wear late Victorian dinner jackets for men or ballroom gowns for women. If you sit in the peanut gallery, a sea of gray is one of the most noticeable sights. Today, you are far more likely to see attendees wear jeans and t-shirts than a tuxedo. So, this is overall a moot point, aimed at trying to highlight imaginary woke credentials.
Classical Music’s Final Curtain?
Rumors of classical music’s death have, for a long time, been greatly exaggerated. In the age of streaming, studies have found that it is soaring in popularity, becoming the fourth most popular genre among music consumers. Be it YouTube or Spotify – these outlets act as gateways to discovering a diverse array of tunes, whether it is Baroque or Cantatas. It may even come as a surprise that classical has a greater audience than R&B and hip hop – a saving grace, perhaps, for Western Civilization’s decaying culture. It may have the left foaming at the mouth and howling at the moon since white men primarily shaped the history of classical music.
The cultural Marxists have been trying to eviscerate American and European vestiges of art and culture, as did the Red Guards of Communist China under the iron fist of Mao Zedong. Ostensibly, wokeness is disdain for Victorian architecture, Renaissance art, William Shakespeare, and the golden age of cinema. No longer can something be admired for its beauty and skill; the philistine barbarians demand that everything is viewed through the lens of social justice. Should you commit the cardinal sin of not believing that Beethoven was a black violinist, you are advancing white patriarchal supremacy.
René Descartes proved his existence with the phrase: “I think therefore I am.” It is a philosophical case that any form of thought is evidence that you are alive. Leftists in 2020 may have disproved the 400-year-old concept because the more they pontificate, the less they display any coherent insights. And yet, they are walking among intelligent life. It is time to listen to trigger the left and put on a Herbert von Karajan recording of Beethoven’s Fifth.
Read more from Andrew Moran.