The tendency of many orchestras in the Western world to try to make themselves ‘useful’ to society, to become instruments of social change, results from the decreasing status of classical music as a whole, and especially one of its most expensive mediums: the symphony orchestra.
Justification of the costs has now to be found in some form of utility that lies outside music because music as such becomes much too difficult to see as something socially relevant. In a time when the notion of culture, and of psychological and spiritual subjects, is eroding, only the material and the financial aspects of life remain visible, and social injustices because they are understandeable by most people, including the culturally-challenged, on the most basic level.
So, in an attempt to survive in an increasing hostile environment, where classical music is seen by large groups as 'white suprematist', 'elitist', 'inaccessible', 'outdated', 'irrelevant to the modern world', a number of people at symphony orchestras think it necessary to turn away from the idea that classical music is a common good in itself and accessible to anyone, and to prostitute the medium. It is like an upperclass woman whose husband has left her and emptied the mutual bank account, and who desperately tries-out selling herself for survival.
But the idea that a symphony orchestra is not, or less, relevant to society if it is not directly connected to the needs of social change, is entirely wrong. Classical music is not an utility instrument, it is an art form which has no other ‘use‘ than being itself. In a world where so much is measured for its utility, it is the arts who offer an island where the value of a psychological and spiritual experience can be found in itself, as itself, and not in relation to some ulterior motive. Classical music addresses itself to the inner experience of man, and not to the outer world with its worldy concerns and needs. It is the opposite nature of classical music to the nature of the world that this unique art form finds its value and relevance, to compensate for the materialist, commercial, trivial and utility-saturated world of modernity, a world which tends to leave people nihilistic, depressed, exhausted and meaningless.
... Phenomena like the renaissance of the guitar in this century are usually presented as the result of the appearance of some great players. This is not my approach. I have described the renaissance of the guitar from Tarrega to our days as the consequence of a new wave in music history. We have always had, in all centuries, very good guitarists, but whether they were highly appreciated or not did not depend on them, but on the general musical scene. In the second half of the 19th century for example we could not have successful guitarists because romanticism and its latest phenomena had created a climax that was impossible to produce on the guitar. The search for a certain kind of colour, a tone of orchestration, led from one side by French composers around Debussy, and from the other side by the composers from the Vienna School around Arnold Schoenberg, had created a new kind of sensitivity to art – to sounds like that of the guitar. This is why we had a new situation in which several guitarists have been able to make themselves appreciated and make the guitar more popular, but not as a personal miracle of theirs, but as a sort of consequence that music history had produced. So guitar repertoire is not primarily the result of the action of any guitarist but is something that happened within the general situation of musical history. This was my approach, and of course, it calls for a complete new setting of the chapters and also for a new explanation of the relationship between facts, causes and efforts.