Carson Cooman thinks composers should destroy early manuscripts to prevent them from being published or performed alongside mature works. I've always said it's a bit silly for any of us, these days, to think our music is going to be played after we're gone. It looks like there may be 12 or 15 billion people crammed onto this planet by 2100; they're going to have their own music to write, and moreover will probably be royally pissed at all of us for using up all the fossil fuels so we could sit in Colorado and eat apples from New Zealand.
But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that standard ensembles as we know them still exist in eighty or ninety years, and that they are just clean out of decent music to play, and that you, the Composer, still have some sort of reputation... well then, let them tarnish it by playing that awkward piece you wrote in high school. The world deserves to know what a complicated and flawed person you were, especially once you're no longer possessed of a physical presence and are therefore no longer able to trip over things, tell the wrong joke at the wrong time, engage in a disastrous romantic affair, say something stupid, or write a bad piece to show everyone you're human. The bad pieces, the foibles, will only enliven the great music by comparison.
If they think too much of you, it'll only lead to unfortunate patterns of thought. An untarnished reputation is a dangerous thing.
And besides, the 6.whatever billion of us on the planet right now, today, now, are better off focusing on the musical experiences through which, into which, from which, by which, we are living. And the 12 or 15 billion still coming? Them too. They'll have their own fish to fry. Let's not worry too much about how great they think we were--especially if they're generous enough to actually pay attention to the music we wrote while we were eating all those globetrotting apples.
• Gone Walkabout
• Music as Drama
• Crossroads II
• 10 Best of 2014
• January: Wyoming and the Open
• February: New Mexico and the Holes
• Coming Up
• Notes on The Accounts
• Crossroad Blues