Friday, November 29, 2013

Reclaiming Cultural Legacy

Recently Russian President Putin has asked a committee to look into the procurement of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Swiss home.  Until recently Rachmaninoff's grandson (I believe) has been very protective of his grandfather's music, papers, and documentation.  The grandson died last year, hence Putin's attempt to buy the estate.

This was described as Putin's continuing an effort to reclaim and repatriate Russian cultural legacy.


The idea of reclaiming or protecting cultural legacy is not new.

Study Bartok and Kodaly's collecting of thousands of folk songs and music in Hungary during the early 20th century.

Consider the John and Alan Lomax's song collecting in the USA.

These are just a few of the people who have made it their life's mission to retain the musical legacy of the past.

I am immensely thankful to these people because much of what they collected was evidence from an earlier time when every moment in time was not recorded, videotaped, or photographed.

However, now that we have the collected musics what is being done with it?

Sadly, very little.


Children today can sing the latest song by Adele or Maroon 5 or Taylor Swift word-for-word.

Many young people can recognize songs from earlier times - say, from sixty years ago, from the birth of Rock and Roll.

This is because of recorded music and its availability.

But what will happen to the music that existed before recorded music, before the 20th century?

Sadly, I really don't know.


I think the music of earlier eras will only echo in the ears of my generation and older.

Perhaps, music teachers, families, communities need to be as the Russian government and try to hold on to the cultural - musical - legacy of bygone days and share it with the current and future generations.

Before it is gone.



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