[LAU] [OT]: Heritage [WAS] Re: musicmadewithlinux: Mozart Symphony #40

Neil C Smith neil at neilcsmith.net
Tue Dec 18 12:54:34 UTC 2012

Hi Paul,

On 18 December 2012 11:48, Paul Davis <paul at linuxaudiosystems.com> wrote:
> cultural heritage isn't about preserving the past at the expense of the
> present day culture. its about retaining cultural memory that gives whatever
> the present day culture is doing some context. the efforts to create culture
> devoid of historical context (i'm looking at you, adorno) have failed to
> offer much to most of those who might receive it. you need that cultural
> memory in order move - not necessarily forward, but just move, move in any
> direction. if you don't understand where you are, your chances of going
> anywhere interesting other than by pure chance are not very good.

This I almost entirely agree with.  Culture without shared cultural
memory / experience is dull, and probably in reality impossible.

> when people, when cultures build *objects* to signify things of importance
> to them (for whatever reason), it tends to follow that if you want to
> understand them, and thus to some extent, to understand yourself, some kind
> of appreciation for those objects is necessary. you need cultural heritage
> to help appreciate those objects, and paradoxically, those objects are part
> of the same cultural heritage that offers some chance of appreciation.

I don't believe the cultural significance lies in the *object* itself,
but in the stories and experiences around it.  Things that are not
preservable, and eventually evolve or fade away - and a good thing
too, as that's how culture moves forward.  We attempt to preserve what
we can but in many ways we cannot preserve what is important - we
venerate the object like a taxidermist preserves the body, but the
life is still gone.  It is a fairly modern and (initially) Western
perspective.  I'm not even saying I disagree with it, but I don't
think it is unambiguously a good thing.

On 18 December 2012 08:48, Lorenzo Sutton <lorenzofsutton at gmail.com> wrote:
>It's not clear if you'd like so-called 'philological' interpretations, that is interpretations which try to perform Mozart's music in a way as accurately as
> possible as it was performed in those days (e.g. using original or replica instruments etc.) which is indeed very interesting,

Is this interesting?  Acoustically perhaps, but we should not kid
ourselves that we are experiencing this in any way like it was
experienced in those days.  Maybe we should have The Rite of Spring
performed in this hideous synthesized way - at least then the hostile
reaction might be more accurate! :-)

Best wishes,


Neil C Smith
Artist : Technologist : Adviser

Praxis LIVE - open-source, graphical environment for rapid development
of intermedia performance tools, projections and interactive spaces -

OpenEye - specialist web solutions for the cultural, education,
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