John Rockwell: Music and Social Participation

WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO: Music has a long history of societal commentary, but are contemporary composers still trying to tackle the same kinds of social and political questions? For that matter, music abstract, textless music has a much harder task tackling these ideas than visual art, literature or even opera. In some cases, the meanings that get attached to a piece weren’t intended by the composer.  Was Dmitri Shostakovich celebrating or subverting Stalinist Russia? Depends who you ask.