Does anybody except Greg Sandow and Anne Midgette think that Alt-Classical is a useful designation?
I mostly ask because I can’t work out what it is supposed to be or why we need a word for it.
If we’re using it to describe a mode of presentation rather than a type of music then appropriating a combination of genres doesn’t seem terribly helpful.
If we’re trying to describe a type of music, are we talking about a subset of classical music, something inspired by classical music that lives beyond its limits, or a mixture of the two? Disagreement (or at least confusion) on this point seems to be the root of almost all debate on the subject.
When somebody does something cool, it is tempting to give it a name, to define it, to notate what happened so we can come back here and do it again – but when we look at successful meetings of artistic cultures and approaches, the lesson learned is usually a more universal one – that good music is good music in any language, venue or dress code. The musician’s job is basically the same. Critics have a much bigger problem crossing genres than the performers do, mostly because they’ve spent their careers constructing an extramusical frame of reference for what they’re hearing.
If we’re going to be specific, we need to agree on the definitions of our terminology. If we’re going to make up words, it had better be because the vast expanse of the English language can’t communicate what we mean, and not just because we haven’t worked out what we’re trying to say.
Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me this wasn’t made up for the sake of a few column inches. Point to a simple definition. That’s what the comments are for. In the meantime, this is the first and last time I’ll be talking about it. I’ll leave you with Gretchen Weiners from Mean Girls.