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Of the four articles I read, my favorite was the very first one, by Daniel

Gelernter. I agree mostly with his critique on Fure’s music. However, I’m somewhat
skeptical about his critique on Beethoven and Stravinsky, meaning, I would have to be
there, and see it myself to believe it. He sounds very harsh with the entire program. I
trust what he says about Fure’s music because it is exactly what I think of her. In fact,
as a side note, I just found on youtube a video where Daniel Gelernter himself reads the
same exact critique he published at National Review.

The other three articles were generally very welcoming and warm to the new
conductor and Ashley Fure. All of them spoke very well about her, but one of them
exposed warning signs to the new conductor’s style, which demands a harsh sound out
of the orquestra.

I would like now to present my thoughts on Ashley Fure, first of all saying that I
enjoyed very much reading this very interesting articles and reviews, and also
apologizing already for my long ranting, and for the length of the assignment…

I personally dislike very much everything Ashley Fure has composed. There is
nothing of interest or of value behind the notes she writes. To paraphrase something that
the Spanish pianist Josu de Solaun once told me, “to cure the anemic state of
contemporary art, the artist must start conceiving himself a craftsman, and not a
genius.” To be applied perfectly to Fure’s music, a constant fabric of musical fallacy. In
one of the articles I read she states, “Romantic music can let us get swept away in a
melody, and there’s something incredible about that,” she added, “In my work,
however, I’m trying to do something different, which is pull us into the present — to
feel our bodies, but also feel the strangeness and the beauty of this act of sitting in this
room together.” I would like to point out the word “feel”, which she uses twice to
address her music, and how she emphasizes to “feel our bodies.” Again, this is not art,
this is group therapy. Music can’t be reduced to a mere “feeling.” Much of Fure’s music
does this. It’s music reduced to the sensory world. Music to be felt with our body, not
our intellect. Music more concerned with effects and the world of the senses than with
our intelligence. Art cannot be reduced to the sensory or the emotional world, because
art is, above all, a challenge to the human intellect. When you open up a score, the score
tells you “interpret me if you dare…” Music must be conceived as an essential activity
of human rationalism, it must be something that emerges from human reason, and
something that only through reason can be analyzed, interpreted, transmitted, criticized
and constructed. It’s not enough with the senses, music demands the intelligible. Fure’s
music however asks for the unintelligible, she herself in interviews has said that she
doesn’t want the words of the listeners to be able to describe what they heard: art must
challenge rationalism, but if art falls into the domain of the unintelligible, the
incomprehensible, if it deliberately aims to avoid the scrutiny of human reason, then it’s
not art, it’s simply a chaotic irrelevant mess of arbitrary material. The creators of such
works would be better off studying math, medicine, or engineering. Their daring
ignorance and foolishness wouldn’t be tolerated in a world where the lives of people
depend upon their work.

Sources

Gelernter, Daniel. “A New Conductor Brings New Problems for the NY


Philharmonic.” National Review, National Review, 27 Sept. 2018,
www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/music-review-new-york-philharmonic-jaap-van-
zweden/.

Tommasini, Anthony. “Review: The Jaap Van Zweden Era Begins at the
Philharmonic.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Sept. 2018,
www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/arts/music/review-jaap-van-zweden-new-york-
philharmonic.html?rref=collection/byline/anthony-
tommasini&action=click&contentCollection=undefined®ion=stream&module=stream_
unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=collection.

Davidson, Justin. “What's That Sound? In Ashley Fure's Compositions, It Could


Be Almost Anything.” Vulture, 3 Aug. 2018, www.vulture.com/2018/08/in-ashley-
fures-music-almost-anything-can-be-an-instrument.html.

Barone, Joshua. “Megaphones Up, the Philharmonic Opens With Two Young
Voices.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Sept. 2018,
www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic-ashley-fure-conrad-
tao.html.