Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL July 16, 2015
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-During Mozart’s day, the only way for his works to be spread
among the populace was for orchestras to learn them, practice them and then perform them in concert. This led to a very high level of reproduction quality, as no conductor worth his salt wanted to be known as the man who butchered “The Magic Flute.”
This also restricted creativity and improvisation, as at the time it was seen as disrespectful or even downright heretical (in the case of religious works) to change the creator’s vision in any way. If a violinist thought of a better or more entertaining way to play a passage, he kept it to himself or performed it only for trusted friends and family.
Contrast that with today, when Arianna Grande can “drop” a new song on iTunes or a new video on YouTube and it is heard and viewed within a matter of minutes in every corner of the globe. Where it might have taken months for a Mozart symphony to make it from Berlin to London, now new works flit from Los Angeles to Luxembourg in seconds.
This lessens the impact of individual creative works, but I do think that true greatness will endure. My personal favorite of late is “American Gods” by British author Neil Gaiman, a far-reaching and ambitious tale of old gods and new that is already making its way onto college reading lists, and is soon to receive the miniseries treatment. Books, in my opinion, will always provide works of lasting impact.
Our next Mozart, however, is nowhere to be found.
Asheville, NC Correspondent-It’s easy to turn on the radio or wander the best seller’s section of your local bookstore and think that art is dead. All books cycle through the same predictable plots with the same stock characters. Every song is the same repetition of three chords and tired lyrics. Modern culture is just reproduction, imitation, and recycling. It’s nothing like the music and literature of yesteryear. Kids today just don’t have any appreciation for the classics!
It’s easy to fall into that trap, but it’s not entirely accurate. The surviving works from years before tend to be the very best of an era. Consider the 1960’s, often thought of as a musical and cultural peak in America. In 1969, the number one single in America was not the Rolling Stone’s “Gimmie Shelter”, the iconic revolutionary rock track released that same year. Rather, that honor goes to “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, a formulaic three-chord bubble gum concoction. Every era has had its low-brow bits of culture, and they’ve always been incredibly popular. What separates the good from the bad is not time period, but time.
The “classics,” like Beethoven or John Milton, tend to be the very best of very long periods of history. There are likely musicians and authors recording and writing now who will be considered pioneers of cultural production. They will be held up along historical greats. We can have no idea of what the judgement of history might be, much as those in Shakespeare’s audience thought they were just seeing a play.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Society has drifted away from creativity in the arts, and what is considered the arts in the 21st Century is sadly different from that of former times. In the past, the arts were considered an exclusive enclave of selected and creative individuals who produced imaginative, ingenious and original works. The arts today are replete with substitutions and reproductions, and genuine artistic aspects are replicated and distributed for mass consumption. What is being generated appears to be lower level quality with limited staying power. The public in general has drifted away from cultural and visionary input and has relied on others to provide creative distractions for them.
Rather than generating creativity, and a healthy respect for the longevity of the arts, the arts themselves have become a product for use by more and more people, rather than something to be examined, appreciated, learned, mirrored and held in high regard. In addition, the innumerable affiliated art venues, the staggering number of publications, on a minute-by-minute basis, and the influx of more and more so-called artists, musicians, dancers, writers, playwrights, entertainers, and those affiliated with the arts, has taken away from the individuality within the arts and has turned the whole process into a hit and miss, quick fix consumable for the masses.
Creativity within society has been declining, most probably due to the time that younger and even older people have spent watching television, engaging in video games and other related media, interacting on the internet through social sites, burying their faces in cell phone texting and other devices, entertaining themselves on line through various activities, and just generally tuning out participating in creative aspects altogether. Developing creative processes takes time and effort and much of society today is not interested in working that hard. Creative development has also been minimized in the educational process, and children have been deprived of the opportunity to develop their own creative abilities. Little effort has been put forth to cultivate the creativity of all children, which has caused a decline in the creative process.
What is being produced in the arts today lacks the staying power of a Mozart or Shakespeare. The immediate gratification aspect of the arts today lacks the moral, introspective and creative input that classic, individual pieces of the past demanded and expected from its artists and patrons. There are limited artistic works and movements produced now that could possibly be labeled classic, in the sense that they have staying power. Perhaps there are a few selected plays, written works, musical compositions, and artwork in general that might fit the mold, but they are usually based on platforms from the old school of thought that correlate with the classics of the past.
Creativity is tied into cultural resurgence, and when a culture within a society is lacking in creative thought and input and is lagging culturally, creative thought will be underdeveloped, cast aside, wasted and ignored. Until a culture is revived and infused with creativity and given the means, guidelines and incentives to instill it within themselves, the society will remain dormant and devoid of creativity.