There is almost no evidence in thisnbook that he is able to step back andnenjoy the musical architecture. Possiblynhe can, but if so he can’t write about it.nHe devotes a few pages to performancesnof Bach’s Goldberg Variations andnBeethoven’s Missa Solemnis, two of thengreatest works of Western music. Then,nabout Bach: “What can still be saidnabout the Goldberg which is notnsummed up in Tovey’s observations…”;nand about Beethoven: “After the blazenof Gloria in excelsis, the composer’sngaze drops to earth with the soft, lownet in terra pax, ” Thus, the sad truth isnthat Porter is just one more illustrationnof the peculiar editorial fear that if thenspace devoted to criticism of the artsnis filled by anyone other than properlyncertified building inspectors, then thenreputation of the journal in questionnwill be forever buried beneath a mountainnof expert obloquy. There hasnhistorically been a strong element ofnintimidation here, of course—editorsnsomehow have been bullied into believingnthat only music majors are “qualified”nto write about music.nThis is an absurdity, as we all knownperfectly well. Historically the bestnwriting about music—almost the onlynreadable writing on the subject—hasnbeen done by amateurs: G. B. Shaw,nAldous Huxley, and C. E. M. Joad comenfirst to mind. The most important thingnto say about music is that it is ultimatelyncompletely mysterious. It is an analogynto another world which we fleetinglynunderstand through the mysterious operationnof this aural analogy. Beethoven’snmusic is a particularly strongnexample of music as metaphor. Thenlanguage of music which he deploysntranslates the emotional content ofnsome other world into our world ofnfugitive sounds.nA redescription, in words, of thisnother world that the composer is tryingnto convey to us should be the ultimatentask of music criticism. In fact, it isnhardly ever attempted. (J. W. N. Sullivan,na mathematician, did attempt thisnin his very interesting book on Beetho­n36inChronicles of Culturenven. ) Writers and poets, who themselvesnhave had some practice in the use ofnmetaphor, at least have a chance of sayingnsomething interesting about music.nMusic school grads have almost nonchance at all.nThere is one remaining point tonmake: 20th-century classical music hasnbeen overshadowed by one event of predominantnimportance: the completenand total breakdown of the very musicalnlanguage which earlier composers employednto transmit that other world intonour world of sound. There simply is nonlonger any such language—merely annincreasingly absurd avant-garde Babel.nContemporary classical music no morendeserves the name of music than a successionnof words randomly chosen fromnthe dictionary deserves the name ofnspeech.nThe second most striking event in thenhistory of 20th-century classical musicnis the widespread pretense among academicncritics such as Porter that thisndestruction of the musical tongue hasnnot occurred. That, of course, is whynthe academy has been so anxious tonappropriate to itself not merely the per­nKeeping Time with the CLUnand Other Thoughtsnby Douglas A. RamseynWhen you are sitting in the midst ofna couple of thousand life insurance agentsnand their wives listening to the NewnYork Jazz Repertory Company recreatenLouis Armstrong, and the audience beginsnclapping time, and they do it on thencorrect beats (second and fourth), younbegin to suspect that something maynhave gone right with American culture.nTwenty five years ago I sat in Jazz atnthe Philharmonic audiences largelyncomposed of the jazz cognoscenti, andnMr. Ramsey is a jazz musicologist fromnNew Orleans.nnnforming but also the critical function.nThe danger is that if the amateurs, merenmusic lovers, were allowed to writencriticism they might simply respond tonthe evidence of their ears with commonnsense and tell us what an incredible junknheap of pseudointellectual theorizingn20th-century “serious” music hasnturned out to be.nWhen such a breakdown of the criticalnfunction occurs, as has happenednwith modern music, it is as though therenis a momentary vacuum—a vacuumnwhich is soon displaced by a generalninrush of gullibility. At that momentnthere appears on the stages of our concertnhalls and in the composing roomsnof the academy a disreputable paradenof charlatans and exploiters, more thannwilling to use to their advantage thenpervasive climate of doubt and uncertainty.nAndrew Porter lends a degreenof legitimacy to this corrupt enterprisenby having us believe that the interpretationnof that grace note in the 32ndnbar really makes a difference. He is thusnonce again reminiscent of the buildingninspector who set out to find hairlinencracks and plumbing defects—in Hiroshimanafter the bomb had fallen. Dnthey invariably kept time (sic) on thenfirst and third beats, a gross violationnof hipness but one that was common innthose days and, indeed, until recently.nCome to think of it, the mere fact ofnthe New York Jazz Repertory Companynor any other jazz band being engagednto provide entertainment for a conclavenof insurance agents confirms that somethingnin the collective unconscious hasnmade average Americans feel the rhythmicnessence of jazz, or at least has persuadednthem no longer to regard jazznas a cultural embarrassment.nThe site of this revelatory eveningnmusicale was the Hyatt hotel in NewnOrleans, where the College of Lifen