Winter 1962 • Vol. XXIV No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1962 |

French Fashions for the Spring

Back in 1948, it was the opinion of the composition faculty of the conservatory from which I was about to graduate that, in order for a student to be permitted to call himself a composer, he should have to submit to an oral examination consisting of only one question: Where is music going? I didn't know then (I said I did) and I don't know now. (Surely, making off with a B.A. in other fields does not require such prescience.) Could it have been that my questioners were taking the fearful chance that the answers of youth would corroborate their own direction? (Most of them were going the same way, as I recall, although a few of them hadn't moved for some time.) This is a nasty suspicion, I suppose, but probably justified. For the past century and a half, during which the composition of music has become less and less a saleable service, composers in general have worried about the approbation of posterity. As patronage dwindled, composers found it increasingly easy to neglect t

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By Eric Bentley

Back in 1948, it was the opinion of the composition faculty of the conservatory from which I was about to graduate that, in order for a student to be permitted […]

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