Tag: Talent

Adrian Wooldridge joins Brian Anderson to discuss the history of meritocracy, modern obstacles to a truly merit-based society, and the geopolitical implications of the West’s growing anti-meritocratic streak. His new book, The Aristocracy of Talent, is out now.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

Member Post

 

Talent is God-given: be humble. Fame is man-given: be grateful. Conceit is self-given; be careful. –John Wooden At first reading, John Wooden, the great basketball coach, is sharing a truism. Who would disagree with him? The difficulties in working with these ideas are noticing when we are ignoring them or are trapped in them. Are […]

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Cloudburst — only a paper cloud?

 

“Tell me, burnt earth: Is there no water? Is there only dust? Is there only the blood of bare-footed footsteps on the thorns?” “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

Eric Whitacre is a conductor and composer with matinee-idol good looks, personal magnetism, a slick marketing strategy, and arguably common sense, too: he recommends young composers not waste time acquiring training in academic theory beyond what they need to write music that sounds good. Whitacre is beloved in the choral world, but also, sometimes, disdained — for being overrated (he is, although overrated can still be good), for being gimmicky (also true, though his gimmicks often land), and for writing music “suffused with a sense of easy spiritual uplift… Everything [is] maximally radiant and beautiful, and beautifully sung. And that [is] the problem.”

If that’s the problem, it’s a problem many composers would like to have. Or at least it’s a problem many performing musicians wish the composers whose music they have to perform had. Our disdainer continues, “Whitacre is so sincere I suspect he would glow in the dark.”