The attitude of far too many performers toward today’s composers is both deprecating and patronizing (in the worse sense), and this does the art of music no good at all.
In this regard I try to make the point everywhere I go that new music must be treated as conscientiously and as lovingly as any; it must be understood and assimilated as deeply as any; it must be projected even more carefully than traditional music for the very reason that it is not traditional and therefore is less known and therefore is in need of greater understanding and care. italics ed.
It is strange, however, and this is the source of my continuing puzzlement, that these same dedicated people balk—protest violently in some cases—at the idea that one should think about music, that there is an intellectual as well as an emotional side to the appreciation and performance of our complex art. Strange or not, there it is, this pervasive attitude, this insistence that music is, at best, a vague, undefinable expression of feeling about which it would be better not to “get technical” for fear of losing the desired effect.
Above all, however, music is an art. In every age it expresses the essence of that age. It is, therefore, not enough simply to learn yet again to reproduce the musical creations of earlier times. An attitude insisting that this is the performer’s sole function is, to my way of thinking, basically anti-musical; it leaves out the most important part of the performer’s function and contribution. Music, if it is to continue as a truly living art, must include the sounds and musical thoughts of its present-day creators.