When I read The Classical Revolution I ended up moving from that book to what ended up being about half a dozen books by Adorno. I eventually got to reading a few books by Roger Scruton, so I have made a point of reading a few books by Future Symphony Institute authors in the last few years. One of the ironies of my reading has been discovering that Scruton and Borstlap have leveled charges against serialism and aleatory as musical styles that lack musical substance and expressive humanity that were, in sum, made half a century ago by none other than Theodore Adorno.
The irony of all of this, which I hope to demonstrate, is that the legacy of Adorno on aesthetics as a philosophical enterprise may live on a bit more in the work of Roger Scruton than in those who have appropriated ideas from the Frankfurt school in order to praise popular music as a new art music. Now I think that, ultimately, Adorno was spectacularly wrong in a number of his assertions about the exhaustion of tonality and the non-art status of jazz but I don't want to get into all of that. Instead I want to highlight the ways in which Adorno criticized both serialism of the Boulez variety and aleatoric music of the John Cage variety on the basis of a core objection to both musical techniques.
But first ... we have to get to his assertion that these techniques were developed in response to the crisis of the lost legitimacy of more traditional tonal musical language.