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The Classical Music of the Twenty-First Century
by Don Robertson
© 2000 by Don Robertson

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A Change of direction
After months in a tiny thatched-roof hut on a beautiful deserted beach west of Progresso in the state of Yucatan, Mexico, I felt purified. I now had a new direction to follow in music: a positive direction. I knew now that John Cage had performed the final straw for classical music: he had brought it to a state of noise! I had read in a book by Peter Yates about 20th Century music that "Music is born out of the ordering of noise." I was now ready to start anew.

In 1970, in a book called Kosmon, I wrote a series of articles about music. In this book I explained the concept of the duochord, the state of both pop and classical music, and introduced my ideas on the relationship of music and mathematics. I also wrote an article about various musical and social influences, including negative music, and how they fit into the cyclic duration of a society. At the end of the duochord article, I made this bold prediction about the coming changes in rock music:

"The Chinese called it indecent music. During times of great negative influence, such as ours, this indecent music appears. So what is it? Are we talking about the sleepy banality of muzak: piped-in office music and middle-of-the-road FM fare, or the speedy, nervous energy of jazz, or the hardcore dissonance of so-called "contemporary music" played in concert halls and in movie houses and on our television tubes (providing background for violence and horror flicks), or the super-hostile electronically amplified music--the culmination of all the above--that may manifest itself in all its horrors during the 1970s?"

Aware of the changes that would occur musically during the coming decade, I gave away my radios and my TV set in 1970. I turned instead to the discovery, research, and enjoyment of positive music, beginning with the great ancient traditions in Western classical music: Gregorian chant and the music of Victoria, Bach, Palestrina, Lassus, Josquin, Dufay and Gallus. As I studied each composer’s music and each musical period, I purposely looked for music that was truly positive, glorious and uplifting. By 1976, I had worked my way forward in time to the music of Wagner, Cesar Franck and Alexander Scriabin…music from the late 19th Century.

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