Winter 1940 • Vol. II No. 1 Nonfiction |

The Changing Ethos of Contemporary Music

The composer of today is much closer to the wide audience of generally cultured musical people than he was ten or fifteen years ago. The fact is curious and significant: curious, because in the post-war decade the tendency was markedly in the opposite direction—these artists, squeezing the last bitter drops from the romantic grapes, had almost to assemble and train each an audience for himself; significant, because it indicates that the babel of strange tongues of that period is resolving itself into a language which, if not universal, is at least reasonably intelligible. And it is the employment of a universal language, rather than the rigid restraint of the neo-classicist, which is the essence of classicism. That such a rapprochement between composer and audience has to some extent been achieved is the result of a number of factors. There have been concessions on both sides. Music in the modern idiom has filtered into concert and radio programs, in small amounts to be sure, b

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