I love it when an audience responds well to a work of mine. That’s because there is a lot of “me” in the work and hearty applause (with positive and meaningful comments afterwards) is a sort vindication that my technical skills supported this transaction.
When I write music for commercials, I suspend my “voice” and provide what I think may strengthen the visual message. In this case, failure to reach the audience is indeed failure.
But for my concert music, I invite the audience to meet me half-way. I think it’s fine for composers to be critical of a close-minded audience. To be un-thinking is as dangerous as it is undesirable.
I say this, having gotten almost all positive reviews and comments and applause for presentations of my work. Whenever I am programmed on a concert the presenters love to point out that I’m “modern”¦ yet listener-friendly!” which is far too apologetic for my tastes.
On Seq21, or any new music site for that matter, there is always talk of how our audience became alienated after WWII and whatnot. Personally, I’ll be glad when animosity for the audience is hip again. Not that I really hate the audience, or write music that is not listener-friendly, I just don’t understand the pressure to bend towards the wants of overly-broad focus groups. What’s the point of making decisions based on likeability? Shouldn’t composers make choices based on clarity of idea?