Sunday, September 28, 2008


What can we do about disappearing art?

The field of classical music is a hugely prolific one. Some people think that pop music is the largest recording field out there - it's all about record deals and "recording artists" and the latest winner of American Idol. In fact, most times now when I go into a media store that sells CDs, if it sells classical CDs at all (i.e. Borders or Barnes and Noble), it is most likely to be the smallest section in the store (there are some independent stores out there, but they're few and far between). But if you really think about it, a field that has only been around for maybe a century (pop music), localized within certain cultures of the world, can't possibly compete with that which dates back a millennia (or more) with countless genres, composers, countries, and eras to deal with. What we know of as the "classical music" field is really a record of the rich history of mankind's ability to make music. Recently, more and more performers are specializing in the earlier and more obscure fields of music (whereas only that of the most recent centuries - especially the 1800s - have been most often sung and recorded). This excites me, because there is still so much more out there to be explored, recorded, and generally brought to the attention of the mass public arena, and I hope to someday be a part of that effort.

However, although the discography of classical music is quite remarkable, going back through classic LP as well as CD recordings, availability is a difficult situation in many cases. Even on a popular and seemingly limitless website as (which I enjoy and use most often), many CDs that I have wanted to use in researching my recital have either had only one or two left in stock, were only available in used format, or were not available at all (often discontinued by manufacturer, even if the recording was only made two years ago!!). There can be many reasons for this, one of which is the general lack of interest or understanding in our rich musical history by the majority of the consuming public.

MUSIC EDUCATION is important! One possible reason for the public's general malaise or disinterest in classical music - which not only causes a lack of record sales by quality artists and labels, but also the decline in ticket sales for live performances - is a lack of education from early childhood. If people are exposed to and excited about classical music from an early age, they are more likely to become consumers, audience members, and even benefactors for the arts. Something to think about (in addition to all the other cognitive learning advantages to music education, which you can readily find elsewhere in many many studies).

Obviously, I plan on being a music educator in my life as well as a singer. Whenever I've introduced something new in the field of music to a student - be it at the elementary, high school, or collegiate level - the reaction (one that I've experienced myself countless times, especially in researching this recital) is one of absolute epiphany and wonder. Excitement is also infectious, as is passion, in regards to music - it needs to be spread around! Music without passion is like a book without imagination. Passion, imagination, depth of meaning and understanding - all good and important things... things to experience, things to encourage and share, things to work for and dedicate oneself to.

NOTE: Classical recordings that are difficult to find or have gone out of print can often be found at, the resource referred by KUSC (broadcasting classical music online via broadband and on the radio in Southern California - local Orange County station for KUSC is 91.5 FM). The link to the pictured CD above takes you to its ArkivMusic page. If you were to look for the same listing on Amazon, it would list one used CD set available, with no picture, reviews, or details. However, the used CDs are more likely to come with a booklet. University libraries can also be good places to find media (especially LPs) - however, most media items are non-circulating (particularly audio CDs and LPs).

Copyright © 2008. All textual materials are the sole property of Lorraine Joy Welling and may not be reproduced, copied, or used in any way without permission.

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