Music and different cultures
Different cultures should be connected among themselves because what is lacking in one can be found in the other. It is precisely this “lack” of something which binds them together. We should be able to compare different languages without necessarily idealistically joining them into a superior unity. There can be no progress (in the sense given to the word by nineteenth-century philosophy) in the field of culture, unless we exclude the concept of rectilinear historical time in order to achieve a kind of contemporaneity of all times (this is why masterpieces never stop being such).

Leaving behind the age of egoism and calculating utilitarianism has now become a primary need. At the threshold of the third millennium the need to examine with new methods the critical assumptions of the nineteenth-century culture is becoming impelling. This means leaving behind nihilism and the alienated relationship between life and art, abandoning negative thought, but also the strong thought pertaining to Structuralism, to linguistic abstraction, in the hope that artists will be able to plunge, with humility, into a constructive contact with the people. Our wish is that art will change the feeling of dismay which has tormented the Twentieth century into something positive, not in order to hide its anguish and tragic events, rather to inaugurate another expression of humanism, not fortified by certainties and vain dignities, but open to the everyday needs of society and ready to integrate with the world, in a critical way.

Only an oblique perspective, intersecting the various methodologies, is able to filter and decant the various formulations, expelling the elements which have no(more) propulsive and vital relationship with what contemporary (musical) art is, lingering instead over those aspects which, in any methodology, whatever their origin, are still useful, functional for a new and different approach, flexible and willing to be put at stake again.

History must be brought up to date , acquiring some kind of spatial function, not through a nostalgic glance back or an unlikely revival, but fulfilling a cultural purpose because, through the widening of the musical space, it widens the understanding of what music and the condition of the musician are today. The stylistic methods of the past must be seen as some sort of topoi all closely associated in space. The time of topology is the time of co-ordination, not of sequence, and the fundamental figures of thought place themselves here and are constantly de-constructed and re-constructed to be ‘re-put' at stake, in a perpetual hermeneutic circle. The history of music becomes a sound geography.

Language must be continuously reconsidered and remoulded, reinvigorated with the tension which comes from interior requirements, it must be meditated and mediated through an up to date thought on forms, redefined to obtain new paths and new solutions, in a dialectic between innovation and tradition. The terms tradition and innovation are not antithetical, but complementary, the present can not be based simply on the past, otherwise art becomes mere (dim) remembrance, but it must also have the impetus given by the glance to the future which, on the other hand, can only be realised through its links with the past, otherwise it becomes pure speculation, abstraction (experimental music was enormously important in the moment when there was an evident need to renew language, but when it continued to perpetuate its typical modus operandi it became mannerism and, above all, it was not able to integrate its discoveries in a broader context capable of reproposing them to the public).

The concepts expressed by Goethe, in the introduction to his work Farbenlehre, are interesting, so much so that they are frequently drawn upon, for instance by Webern who speaks of music as a kind of botany. This idea of music as self-reproducing, something which has an inner ability to develop itself, like a plant, is undoubtedly important.

It is in the natural acquisition of plasticity, in this production of the characteristics of the sound element, starting from the very sound itself, it is in this space that a kind of transition, contamination, of isomorphism between sound and its collective meaning can take place, almost as if sound preserved, in its becoming music, a deep memory of the world.

In the approaching millennium, the function of total music is one of betrayal. It will have to wrong-foot the commercial structure, it will be forced to operate, even though against its will, inside market laws, but occupying a lateral, slightly off-centre, position. A frontal clash with the system which rules the cultural industry is unthinkable, thus it is necessary to get hold of the cynicism of the culture of the Eighties and exploit whatever is possible to exploit, using different aims from those set by the vulgar ethic of the market. In other words it is a matter of making the concept of exploitation reversible, obviously from a subordinate position, but amidst the waste and luxury of the consensus culture it is possible to gather some crumbs which will lead to a change, a contradiction (with respect to the established self-perpetuating model), setting up an alienation process, a process of rejection of the cultural model proposed by industry, creating imbalances and dissociations which, though partial, are nevertheless important because they can create new space for new languages and new messages. Then it will be up to the energy, intelligence and ability of he who works on this plan of betrayal, to increase such novelties, penetrating a system which will close itself immediately but which, nevertheless, will end up with wounds and lacerations.

Music should become an intelligible means of communication amongst mankind, not in the naïve Romantic sense according to which music is a universal art, but in the sense of giving life to a plastic form capable of incorporating, in terms of forma mentis more than from a technical point of view, the idea of multiplicity , a respect for that which is different, the appreciation of everybody's needs, in order to achieve a kind of geo-music, a music which has a geographical meaning more than a historical one, supportive of all the different cultures in the world.

The global village will be successful if we accept to be part of all cultures. Art, with its fantastic language, will have the supreme task of making a peaceful utopia a reality. If art continues to be entangled with power, such a utopic vision will continue to be nothing but a bitter illusion, but if it manages to free itself and simply serve humanity in a constructive way, then it will make a fundamental and invaluable contribution to the realization of world peace.

Renzo Cresti - sito ufficiale