Modern Music and the Tradition, Part 1 of 2

Music historians Edward Applebaum and William Prizer address the subject of modern music and its evolving place in the musical canon. Joseph Addison, the eighteenth-century man of letters, wrote “Music, the greatest good that mortals know / And all of heaven we have below.” But agreement about Addison’s couplet among twentieth-century audiences might prove to be problematic. What was the status of classical music in the 1980s? If there is a musical canon, where does it come from, and who determines its contemporary outlines?

At the time of this interview, Applebaum was professor of music composition and theory at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prizer, a Fellow at the National Humanities Center (1984-85), was professor of musicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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