Music – In the World of Classical Music, Titles Rarely Have Anything to Do With the Works – NYTimes.com

The NYT article linked above takes an interesting look at the titling of pieces. I can’t say that I agree with all of it, but it is thought provoking. Kozinn seems shocked that Penderecki’s “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” was titled after the fact and not composed with the intent of making that statement. Does that make the statement less effective?

I tend to fall into the camp that believes that the listener/experiencer provides his own meaning. After we write/play the music, and give it a title, it is out of our hands. The listener will make of it whatever she likes. As long as the music moves the listener in some way, I feel like I have accomplished what I set out to do. If a title makes that process of discovering personal meaning more fun or mysterious or confounding, then that is even better.

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