Is it me, or is this kind of an unusual photo of Ellington?
Wow, I like it.
Thus the participants in a symphony concert are bringing into existence, for the duration of the performance, an ideal industrial society, in which each individual is solitary and autonomous, tidy, disciplined and stable, punctual and reliable, the division of labour is clear, the relationships are impersonal and functional, and the whole is under the control of a charismatic figure armed with clearly defined authority. The music played is drawn from a repertory which, like the ideal industrial culture, is standardized the whole world over and played in a standard manner; it is a repertory of musical works which themselves either celebrate the individualist values of western industrial culture or can be forced into that mould: it consists of abstract dramas of the individual soul through which performers and listeners alike can participate vicariously in the processes of becoming and overcoming, or else of abstract dances, many of them hijacked from more dancing cultures, in which the performance invites us implicitly to do what the concert-hall conventions prohibit us from doing, or else of abstract landscapes, of fantasy Espanas, Americas, Hebridean Islands or pastoral Englands of nostalgia or of the tourist imagination. Above all, it is a society in which producers and consumers of the commodity, music, fulfill clearly defined and separate roles. In the ceremony called a symphony concert, which brings this ideal society into existence, the values of performers and listeners, and their sense of who they are, are explored, affirmed and celebrated. It need hardly be said that, for those who do not share these values, neither the concert-hall ritual not the symphonic drama is likely to be of much interest.