For much of the past century too many of us who compose music have hidden behind a screen of
intellectualism, accusing people of lacking the intelligence to understand us. Yet music is a
powerful form of communication that speaks to the heart and gratifies the senses. All music should
strive to achieve those goals. Instead, "art” music became a ghetto with few supporters and those
few were often nearsighted or in bad faith. They took pride in being the few “in the know.” We
composers lived on the flattery of these closed circles of devotees. We formed incestuous fiefdoms
in which no one asked the simple, naïve questions. As in the famous fairy tale, none of us would
admit that our king was naked.
In reaction there are those, like me, who have chosen to work in a spirit of naïvité. No work of art has incontestable value. I cannot believe in successes decreed by critics, or by audiences, or even by the vaunted judgment of time. History itself is written and rewritten according to the ideologies and fashions of a time and place. A work of art can become untouchable thanks to the imprint of memory when we have seen it again and again, heard it again and again. Some music, some painting, and some films became ours. We could no longer change even a comma of them. We had learned to love them as we knew them. Some we loved because they succeeded in artfully hiding their blemishes. Others we loved in spite of their imperfections because they managed to express our universal humanity.