Beth cites Burney:
>Try reading Charles Burney's comments on John Bull,
>sometime--something to the effect that Bull's pieces couldn't possibly
>have been meant for actual performance, because they're too difficult.
This reminds me of, really, about the only thing that really grabbed
me and shook me about Burney's 'Current State' travelogue, which I
finally got around to reading a few months ago.
Somewhere in there is the most astonishing aside. Burney reflects
upon dissonance and even something going further than just the level
of dissonance necessary to prepare resolutions in baroque and (later)
classical music. He goes as far as to suggest that he's thinking of a
dissonance as radical as that in modernist 20th-century music or even
further into something like aleatic cacophony. He actually says
something like this paraphrase: 'Who knows but that in a hundred
years or more from now people will have reached the point that they
can use, appreciate and enjoy pure cacophony, dissonance and noise as
legimitate and even necessary parts of real music?" He goes on to
suggest that he finds this prospect exhilarating and a stimulus to
his imagination, rather than as something to be feared or rejected as
the "end of civilization as we know it."
Does anyone remember this passage? It is almost spooky in its
prescience, and in the way it suggests that Burney's imagination may
have been broader than that of many of his otherwise more talented