But if we look at the fortunes of classical music in public spaces, they are dismal indeed. Take the Wall Street Journal's end of year stories on art and culture. This is what they offer for The Best Music of 2016:
In rock and pop the year 2016 is defined for now by the loss of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, George Martin, Prince and Maurice White, among other exemplars of modern music. To help assuage the grief, there seems an almost endless supply of musicians who enrich, inspire and entertain; in 2016, as in recent years past, there were too many good recordings to access and comprehend. I’ve listened to all or part of about 1,300 albums this year, and what follows are capsule summaries of the best of what I’ve savored.The writer, Jim Fusilli, is "the Journal’s rock and pop music critic." And he doesn't pretend to be anything else. But the editors place his article on the best pop and rock of the year as the best music of the year. And no, there is not a companion article on classical music. As far as the WSJ is concerned, classical music doesn't exist (despite their employing other people to write about it). Taking a glance at the New York Times, they don't seem to have end of year tributes up yet. But in past years they have commemorated the deaths of any kind of musician (the drummer for Spirit?) as long as they were not classical musicians! Even Alex Ross complained about it.
There has just occurred a significant upheaval in the world of politics demonstrating that the mass media, far from having their finger on the pulse of the world, are actually closed off in their own "progressive" bubble. There is a concerted and widespread policy to suppress all news that does not support The Narrative. That bubble seems to be starting to pop. We can only hope that some of the same thing happens in cultural news.
Hundreds of thousands of people attend classical music concerts, millions more buy or stream classical recordings. Everywhere there are music schools with dutiful students and cranky teachers. As a result there are possibly more classical musicians playing today than ever before in human history. But as far as the mass media are concerned We Don't Exist. Being made invisible in the public space is something of a crime against humanity, wouldn't you say?
Edward Gardner leads the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the CBSO Youth Chorus in a performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets: