I have a different view of the canon. As far as I can see it consists of pieces that have an aesthetic quality that appeals to the listener. There are actually quite a few different "canons" if by that we simply mean lists of pieces that people like to hear. The audience for the Canon by Pachelbel is rather different from the audience for the Hammerklavier Sonata by Beethoven which is different again from the audience for the lute songs of John Dowland and different again from the audience for the music of John Cage. But each of these works is part of a different canon. We might label them as Mainstream Classical, Serious Listener Classical, Early Music Classical and Avant-Garde Classical respectively.
What I'm wondering is if my readers would be interesting in doing an exploration with me of these different kinds of canons? I think they are always in a state of flux and it might be nice to check in and see what the content is at the moment. For example, from our perspective, what would be included in the canon of 20th Century Masterpieces? Is Paul Hindemith still on the list? Where would Henri Dutilleux fall these days? How about John Cage?
But while there is certainly a lot of debate about the 20th century, we might be able to find some controversy even in earlier times. Just how good is the music of Henrich Biber? C. P. E. Bach? This would be a great opportunity for my readers to make suggestions both about different eras and canons and to start some arguments for and against different composers. The reward for this is the potential discovery of some wonderful music we weren't aware of (and maybe some wonderful performers as well).
So leave me a comment! Perhaps we can all distract ourselves from the US election campaign and other horrifying world events!
To whet your appetite, here are some of the those lute songs by John Dowland. These are five songs recorded at Wigmore Hall, London in July 2013 by Iestyn Davies, countertenor and Thomas Dunford, lute: