Friday, September 5, 2008

Suffocation by tuxedo?

"The overarching problem of classical music is the tuxedo," The New Yorker's Alex Ross asserts in a book review-essay on the evolution of modern classical concert formatting and etiquette, producing what Ross calls "a culture of conformity encircling an art of untrammelled personal expression":

Nutshell counter-argument: Uniform (boring, anonymous) concert attire directs attention away from performers and toward the music. That's also the case for quiet audiences and for visually undistracting, dimly lit performance spaces with good climate control and comfortable seating.