I think that parts of the classical music world still suffer from the concept of a hierarchy of composers, with Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart etc at the top, and “lesser” composers further down.
This means for instance that the music of the people unfortunate enough to be placed somewhere down the ladder is conceived as “Schumann, only not so good” if the style resembles Schumann in any way. I believe this means that we lose a lot of music. I don’t believe it is necessarily like Schumann or Brahms at all, but something entirely different. Even if many stylistic elements may look the same, they represent something else because the overall concept is something else and going in a different direction.
This problem applies probably not least to women composers, and also unknown composers from “lesser countries” like my own. Some musicians are trying to do something about this, by bringing out unknown pieces, but still, to a great extent, old ideas prevail in interpretation, especially in the “mainstream” department, basically of 19th century music, which is so central to the whole repertoire.
I think if as an interpreter, you skip the hierarchic thinking completely and apply a “democratic” way of seeing things that ought to be part of us by now, I think you will discover that many more voices have interesting and hopefully surprising things to say. There is no need to skip any acquired technical or musical capacities, they just need to be moulded in new ways.
Today’s demand that everyone should be taken as an individual at face value can be devastating and sometimes ridiculous, for instance in politics or discussions going on in public. But in music it is possible to do such a thing to a much greater extent, when an interpreter works with a composer’s works and tries to give us what’s in the score. The composer’s music is also a personal statement from one individual, not only part of a tradition.
Any concept must be placed in a context if it is to mean anything, and this can’t be any different in the arts than in science.
Talking about society, it is absolutely my opinion that everyone has the right to be heard, but there are many problems of communication across all kinds of borders in society, and not every opinion has the same weight. The general problem is of course to sort out what’s what and decide what is important and what not.
But that’s another discussion. The point here is that I believe there is a lot of music waiting to be heard for what it really is, due to lack of understanding, which is actually a parallel to the many voices in today’s society.
The text has been edited after publishing.