Grant seems to be under the impression that I wanted to criticise (or
'be nasty about', if you happen to think that way) some music. Far
from it - since I haven't heard, or seen scores of, almost all the
things under discussion, it would not be honest to do so. Beyond
remarking that Leedy's counterpoint is rather different from that of
the 16th century, I don't intend to say a peep, unless someone
specifically asks for opinions.
However, I do criticise the idea that the absence of adverse criticism
is necessarily a good thing. Clearly it is a good thing, in the sense
of saving time and effort, to know that (for example) Graupner's
keyboard music is mainly pretty boring. (On a subjective and relative,
but nonetheless meaningful, scale of boringness.)
Also the idea that one can publicize one's own music here with the aid
of manifestos, that tell us how perfectly liberated and
trans-historical you all feel, but nothing about what makes a piece
(irrespective of style) good or bad, and not expect any questioning.
> some to believe "quality" in modern contemporary classical equals the
> same as one saying "What the hell was that? Gee, I didn't understand it in
> the slightest so it must be good. (...)"
Straw man - I don't think anyone believes this. I have my idea of
'quality', which involves, as I said, (among other things) to avoid
the obvious without becoming incoherent. If you want to persuade
others that your music is interesting then it might be useful to talk
about what your idea of quality is and how you achieve it.
I don't see any non-rhetorical questions that I could usefully answer,
and certainly none that I have 'avoided'. What would be discouraging
is if our Baroque composer turns down the invitation to discuss what
in his judgment makes or breaks a piece.
Another thing I find is lacking is any discussion of what *is* a
style. And for example, did Bach compose in one style, or in many (or
dozens)? Is there such a thing as 'historical style' divorced from the
works of specific composers?
The problem is that a style can be thought of as a set of things that
are commonly expected in a composition; however, a composition that
does nothing except what is commonly expected is boring (absent a
particularly imaginative performer).
Another way might be to point to a group of historical pieces and
declare that 'they constitute a style'. But this doesn't seem to allow
anyone to compose in it, unless they are imitating those pieces.
Another way to formulate style might be by what is forbidden. This
opens the way to a composer to exploit the space between what is usual
and what is forbidden, inside which lives what is interesting but not