“From the music’s technical standpoint, I cannot say anything because I do not care. Certain individuals with good temperament say that I have good technique; others, with bad temperament, say I do not.” ~Silvestre Revueltas.
Silvestre Revueltas challenges artists to consider elements “outside the box” when creating a piece. Composing should not be a lucrative activity; instead, the intention should be about making a difference in the community we already live. Revueltas mentions that musicians should play good quality compositions and that studying about European composers is not the way to go. Why is European music the academic standard to learn from? It seems new generations of musicians work towards pleasing others. However, “others” do not necessarily understand the true value of music, and in certain instances, the music critics’ thoughts come out in a mediocre fashion. Revueltas refers to the issue as “shadows”.
“Our musical medium is made out of shadows that walk playing violin. Tasteless and ungrateful Shadows” ~Silvestre Revueltas
Revueltas considered that composing Gavottes was an extremely ridiculous idea. Why it is necessary to repeat what is has been already done? Revueltas loves the music panorama as much as he detested. Revueltas did not care about money or fame, and, insisted that he was a composer with new eyes. Revueltas believed that it was imprudent to think money is equal knowledge and it is absurd to teach this to the new generations. Every penny is a penny – nothing else. Revueltas says that there is always a need to study and that there are two options: one can become a virtuoso or a clown. However, becoming a virtuoso takes hard work. Originality is needed to become a good artists, it is not worth becoming a shadow.
According to Revueltas, new generations are not being true artists. It seems that new generations are blind and ignorant. Why individuals want to become artists? Is it for the money? Is that the reason why they are afraid to leave their comfort zone? Composers should write to serve the community, otherwise composers are being selfish. Helping others is crucial; sadly music critics do not seem to understand. If composers are innovative, they might not find a job …what is the true purpose of composing, then?
Revueltas admired Francisco Contreras – according to Revueltas, he was the greatest teacher Mexico has ever had! Contreras had a noble heart, his main satisfaction was to make a positive impact in students’ lives. On the other hand, Revueltas thought teachers that do not care, kill students.
The other issue Revueltas finds is that the new generations of musicians do not seem to care. For example, Revueltas recommends analyzing the scores of Jacobo Kostakowsky, but he says that people reading about this will not actually do it. Revueltas says we are in a wave of ignorance.
Revueltas was not happy about the musical atmosphere he was living and expressed his anger in his writings. Revueltas said that artists perform “musical stupidity” referring to playing Beethoven and other European composers. In addition, Revueltas said these performers should feel ashamed, they are fooling themselves and not courageous when performing such works. Revueltas was completely agitated about it.
While I respect Revueltas, I do not agree with the fact that musicians need to feel ashamed about performing European composers. However, I do recognize that artists must experiment with different music-genres, and help others. I admire Revueltas braveness to stand for what he truly believed it was right. I appreciate that Revueltas mentioned that art should not be made for money; instead it should be done to make a difference in our community. Lastly, I also agree that pleasing others should not be the main purpose to compose, helping others through music sounds like a better plan.
Silvestre Revueltas’s “Notas y Escritos Teoricos”