Since when has classical music been a freak show?
Pretty much always. Sure its not the whole story by any means, but check two things.
1. The Classical charts and CD music sales
Album sales--the freak of the week club--this week: Opera Mom.
Remember David Healthgot?
2. Critical (media) coverage.
This includes: Child prodigies, "how weird is this?" or" what the kids are doing" slanted articles, crossovers, fake compositions, newly discovered, or rediscovered, or found in a pile of junk, masterpieces, technology over art,, handicaps, politics, unique and strange, etc. etc. etc.
3. Commercial music has become so central and New Music has been so marginalized that commercial books and commentators feel free to take the language of these arts and then pretend this "other music" did not exist. For example---NEW MUSIC SEMINARS, The book WHY I HATE NEW MUSIC doesn't even mention anything classical. We have been defined out of existence. Yet the need for pop music to provide more than a good dance beat or clever lyrics persists.
What I'm talking about here is a similar concept. The point is this; the creation of sentimental favorites.
Cynically understanding that no one actually cares for art a reason to care about something must be invented.
Commercial Media, even ostensibly independent critics, can't avoid a "hook" that gives a story legs. Publicists are there to make more of this hay. Anyway, how many new music folks have them?