The achievement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries remains the great sun of the Western musical solar system: the repertory that dominates performance and recording. Composers who approach it must either maintain their ironic distance, as Stravinsky did, and later Ligeti, or be content to turn into its orbit, adopt its premises and its modes of thought. The further past offers less gravitational pull–partly just because it is further off, but also partly because its forces seem to be complimented by, rather than at war with, those of our own age.
–Paul Griffiths, in Modern Music and After (3rd Ed), Oxford University Press 2010, pg 168.
Beautiful imagery! I couldn’t agree more!