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Just listen to what you like

June 01, 2008

HERE we are, almost a decade into the 21st century, and Mark Swed insists on maintaining the critical stance that helped make contemporary classical music an irrelevance in the late 20th century ["Tough Times Call for Some Tougher Music," May 18]. For him, challenging "modernist" (i.e., dissonant) works are good, while new works that "audiences react to . . . with pleasure" (e.g., Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis) are bad. The condescension with which Swed refers to audiences seeking music they actually like, as opposed to music they're told to like by critics, is a 20th century relic whose time should long have passed.

My advice to your readers: Ignore him, and seek musical pleasure without guilt.

John Montanari

Amherst

Montanari is the music director of WFCR Public Radio at the University of Massachusetts

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