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Book cover of Who Needs Classical Music?: Cultural Choice and Musical Value

Who Needs Classical Music?: Cultural Choice and Musical Value

by Julian Johnson

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages: 160
Paperback
ISBN: 9780199755424






Available to Buy

Overview of Who Needs Classical Music?: Cultural Choice and Musical Value


Praised in The Economist as "heartfelt and finely reasoned...wise, perceptive and inspiring," Who Needs Classical Music? offers a fresh and balanced defense of the value of classical music in contemporary culture. Challenging the many cultural critics who contend that the division between "high" and "low" art is an artificial one, that Beethoven's Ninth and "Blue Suede Shoes" are equally valuable, Julian Johnson counters that music is more than just "a matter of taste." Music can provide entertainment or simply serve as background noise. Classical music, he suggests, is shaped by its claim to function as art. It is distinguished by a self-conscious attention to its own materials and their formal patterning. Far from being irrelevant today, Johnson argues, classical music continues to offer rich and engaging insights into our experience of modern life. The paperback edition includes a new preface from the author, bringing his argument up to date. Who Needs Classical Music? will stimulate readers to reflect on their own investment (or lack of it) in music and art of all kinds.

Synopsis of Who Needs Classical Music?: Cultural Choice and Musical Value

During the last few decades, most cultural critics have come to agree that the division between "high" and "low" art is an artificial one, that Beethoven's Ninth and "Blue Suede Shoes" are equally valuable as cultural texts. In Who Needs Classical Music?, Julian Johnson challenges these assumptions about the relativism of cultural judgements. The author maintains that music is more than just "a matter of taste": while some music provides entertainment, or serves as background noise, other music claims to function as art. This book considers the value of classical music in contemporary society, arguing that it remains distinctive because it works in quite different ways to most of the other music that surrounds us.

This intellectually sophisticated yet accessible book offers a new and balanced defense of the specific values of classical music in contemporary culture. Who Needs Classical Music? will stimulate readers to reflect on their own investment (or lack of it) in music and art of all kinds.

About the Author, Julian Johnson

Julian Johnson was educated at the University of Cambridge, Dartington College of the Arts, and the University of Sussex, and is currently a lecturer in Music at Oxford University. The author of Webern and the Transformation of Nature, Johnson is well known for his work on music aesthetics and the relation of music to society. He is also a composer.

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