You betcha. I was in a chamber music society board meeting a while back when the subject under discussion was the various levels of patron membership. We survive entirely on the generosity of private patrons: no government funding. There are various levels from Mendelssohn ($100 to $499) to Beethoven (minimum $5000 donation). The complaint was that the Mendelssohn level folks were getting too many perks for their paltry donations and we had to discourage people from staying at that level--get them to upgrade. So in the meditative pause that ensued I said, "well, why don't we just re-name the Mendelssohn patrons Hindemith patrons?" After another pause a few board members started to chuckle, tentatively. Yes, it's a joke! Poor Paul Hindemith. He was once regarded as one of the key figures in musical modernism in the first half of the century right alongside Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky. But over the decades it has become evident that Paul Hindemith wasn't a terribly good composer. About the only piece of his that survives into concert programs these days is the suite from his opera Mathis der Maler:How do you listen to music?
Which frankly sounds a lot like tidier and more polite Wagner (with better voice-leading). There might come a time, when the last traces of avant-gardism have been washed out of the musical ecosphere, when we might re-evaluate Hindemith and find he wasn't so bad after all. But that time is not yet. Plus, as Nico mentioned, there is all that damned saxophone music:
And I have to confess sometimes I wake up screaming in the middle of the night after having a nightmare that my latest composition when first heard in performance, came out sounding a lot like Hindemith or Metallica!
Like many composers Nico Muhly likes putting on the interviewer:
At least I think he is putting on the interviewer. Or perhaps it really is de riguer for all young artists today to at least pay lip-service to anything that contributes to the downfall of Western Civilization. Sadly, Blogger doesn't want to embed the original video so you will have to make to with this live performance:Imagine you’re a festival director here in London with unlimited resources. What would you programme - or commission - for your opening event?Obviously Tom Adès arrangements of Beyoncé’s entire catalogue - including Destiny’s Child-era best-of. Then you get a huge orchestra together, fly Bey over, and get a graphic designer to make a big deal about accents aigu and gravewith perhaps a commissioned sculpture and boudoir photographs. I’m shocked nobody has done this already. Can you imagine his version of “Nasty put some clothes on[gong] I told you [bell + muted trumpet] don’t walk out the house without your clothes on [piccolo filigree]”?