James MacMillan

It is time to make a stand against incomprehensible modern music

Hot on the heels of James MacMillan’s red-hot piece in these pages calling Emperor’s New Clothes on Pierre Boulez, plus Dilettante Music‘s digital composer-in-residence contest, and Norman Lebrecht’s poll of the living composers creating the most durable work (John Adams is no.1, then Part, then Reich), here’s more contemporary food for thought. Greg Sandow of Artsjournal’s blog about the future of classical music has run a post about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s two new composers-in-residence. They are Mason Bates and Anna Clyne.

The November issue of Standpoint is in the shops now. My column this month takes a look at the concept of ‘No Music Day’ (21 November, since you ask…) – a phenomenon embraced by Scottish radio but, as far as I can tell, not much else – which isn’t quite as crackpot a way of celebrating St Cecilia as it might sound.

“The prophets of Marxist-inspired modernism are in retreat right across the board. They are perplexed at how the world has gone. Their view has not prevailed, even in modern music. Everything, including our understanding of recent history, is up for grabs.”