There are many different manners and perspectives to receive just one work; whether is poetry, music, literature, painting, dance and arts in general. I think that the perspective depends on what time or what period the critics or the audience are living in. Therefore, it is clear that there is a considerable connection between audience and artists that never ends. Artists can be always seeking better audiences, but nevertheless, if there is no language established, the art would never speak. [I have the opinion that in music, there is a lack of language and coherence for many contemporary composers. It might probably be because of the audience’s barrier for something new.]
Nowadays, the compositional techniques and styles that are used for the many different genres in music [vary widely], i.e., the use of non-musical instruments, visual media or many different sources. If we compare these contemporary modus operandi to baroque or classical compositional methods and structures, we can notice the existence of totally new tendencies. These tendencies, compared to the old compositional school, make a sense of ambiguity, lack of coherence and language. Therefore, I agree that the artists have the task and responsibility to explain their works and perspective to the audience.
While listening to and watching Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach, my first aural perception was that there is no established structure. In my opinion, there are too many repetitions that they never took me to a certain place, resting point, or arrival for the music. Personally, I had to research about the work and the composer’s review of his own work. I can explain this with a better example:
Philip Glass’ review is quite different to Susan Flakes’ commentary. There were two perspectives: On one hand, Glass’ review approached many things about the musical structure, harmony tendencies and the general thematic content. In the other hand, Flakes’ articles review was, at the most, focused on the production: what she saw throughout the entire opera. She focused on the characters, visual media and staging.
The reaction of the audience will always be the artist’s executioner. Therefore, I can say that, nowadays, the reaction to Philip Glass’ opera would be well received and considered an acceptable work. Glass, by the hand of Wilson, used too many visual media sources; sources that in the 70’s might have been too contemporary for the time. In the 2000s might be a common work. Nevertheless, Glass’ opera could be a watershed for the use of less music, repetitive patterns, and more visual sources. Thanks to Glass’ work, nowadays we have a better reception of that specific compositional style. Therefore, Glass could be a pivot point for the minimalist music and the manner that the audience receives it.
Finally, I definitely look forward for May 28th; in this wonderful day I will have lunch with Philip Glass, my brother’s Godfather and my brother. This happened because I will attend to the Nova Scotia Musical Festival and probably I will ask him about all of this concerns; language and style.
Owens, Craig. “”Einstein on the Beach”: The Primacy of Metaphor.” October 4 (1977): 21-32. doi:10.2307/778477.