Friday, February 01, 2008


New post "New Music Box" check it out.

Also check out the following wisdom from Jeremy Denk;

  • J Denk wisdom

  • Oh, and don't I agree with him.
    Too bad I'm not a young composer,
    Someone my age should have accomplished more.
    I did manage to go out and by bread for the family already today, that should count as an accomplishment.
    I suppose.

    My SSO spies report that Josh was not in his seat last night hmmmmm...?
    But Jeff Bergler was!
    What's going on here?
    And what has Mr. Green to do with it all?

    If anything.

    I'm starting to feel like Lenny Bruce's Lone Ranger.
    "Has the thank you masked man man been by today?"
    I'm beginning to get hooked on the praise and the applause.

    Probably should be on the other computer, composing.
    But that requires effort.

    Stop me if you've heard this one before........



    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thanks, VERY much, Lane
    for putting me on to Jeremy Denk's excellent piece on "New Music"!!! I couldn't agree with him more, including his five strongest reasons for disliking most of the junk that contemporary "composers" call music. But NONE of that applies to YOUR music, which is why I like it so very much, and I think Jeremy would, too, as it meets the criteria in his piece about what he likes and dislikes. You should send him one of your BEST piano pieces; it may be the needle in the modern haystack that he seeks. He does like Hegge and Rorem (and Ives), and so do I. I talked to Jeremy at the Chamber Music concert last Sunday before he wrote this piece. Too bad he hadn't already written it so I could have complimented him personally about it!!
    Other than your Violin Duet, the rest of the music at the last Composers' Salon was indeed junk: noise, NOT music!!!!!!
    Thanks for writing good music!!!!!

    3:09 PM  
    Blogger butch said...

    Mongst the J. Denk wisdom there was some cool stuff; statements like, "the agile leap of the poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world..."

    and here's a bit more out of the middle (god, he is long-winded, enit?)

    Okay, much better. My therapist suggested that I air a number of my serious grievances with New Music, just to get them off my chest:

    too much rhythm, not enough pitch;
    too much energy, not enough thought;
    too much strumming in the piano;
    too much pseudo-world-music for no reason other than hipness;
    too many program notes.
    This is the short list of my irrational peeves, the creed of my blind, fusty faith. I feel sure I'm missing some good ones; it's sad, I can't even plumb the depths of my own prejudices. It is easy to pontificate; we dinosaurs have no problem with it; after all, we're nearly extinct, what do we have to lose?

    No, I don't wish to be a mean-spirited dinosaur, an elephant laden with past, canonized values trampling the party. But let me take another angle on this. I read a lot of discussion on NewMusicBox about elitism vs. accessibility, tonality vs. serialism, high art vs. low art, the choices of style of the composer, the paths diverging in the world—and I see forests of false binaries. As I am reading, I am thinking: no, it's not either this or that; it's never this or that. (Supply your own thises and thatses.) Maybe at last we are freed from an iniquitous historical narrative (certainly, soon, to be swept into another); maybe at last it is finally time to "choose" the new. Did composers ever think that newness consisted in simply more of something: more dissonance, more dynamic contrasts, more chance, more determination, more whatever? More is a bottomless pit. This kind of newness is closer to fashion.

    I have a great confidence in, a great lust for newness, not fed by fashion but by invention. To define this sort of newness, I'd like to steal from Italo Calvino, shamelessly:

    Were I to choose an auspicious image for the new millennium, I would choose that one: the sudden agile leap of the poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world, showing that with all his gravity he has the secret of lightness, and that what many consider to be the vitality of the times—noisy, aggressive, revving and roaring—belongs to the realm of death, like a cemetery for rusty old cars.—From Six Memos for the New Millennium
    Free associating from Calvino's "lightness," I would like to propose "delight" as a value, as a frequent ingredient of the durably new—the delightful as opposed to the agreeable, as opposed even perhaps (but not often) to the enjoyable. Delight is more muted than joy, it is not quite ecstasy (thank God, I can only take so much ecstasy). I'll take a stab at defining it: a combination of discovery with pleasure, a kind of mental activity brought to bear upon pleasure, running into it as if in a traffic accident where no one gets hurt. It's the brain slamming into the obstacle of beauty, waking up, rubbing its eyes. It manifests itself in a wide range of reactions—a smirk, a beatific smile, a thrown-off laugh; it is tied up perhaps with the moment of invention, where you create something that even surprises yourself. Delight is the flight of meaning, the free bird of thought defecating on the dictionary, the wobble of the definition. The light travel of meaning from one place to another, by hidden connections, leaving you shivering.

    My definition is useless. Do we need examples? To pluck one author from all of history, I feel like Baudelaire is one of the great delighted writers, despite his miseries. Like these lines:

    Vast woods, you terrify me like cathedrals.
    You roar like an organ...

    or is Boredom, with an involuntary tear in his eye,
    he dreams of gallows while he smokes his hookah.

    or this unbelievable passage, where the poet addresses his beloved, imagining her death:

    ...when you will go down
    beneath the grass and perfumed flowers
    to grow green among the bones.
    Then, O my beauty!, tell the vermin
    which will devour you with their kisses,
    how I have immortalized the image and divine essence
    of my putrefied loves.

    At which point I imagine you saying, This is delight? True, it is horrible—awful, disgusting, sickening—and yet wonderful, at the same time: a terrific virtuosity of reversal, a terrible truth-telling through image. The images and metaphors clash, crash, zing; they wake up my addled or bored brain, time after time.

    What Baudelaire does from line to line, from metaphor to metaphor, is more or less something I tend to desire from music (his is a music of meaning). If composers become too obsessed with shapes and processes and forms and methods and styles—I may well be wrong about this—it seems to me they may become distracted from another essential: What fleet, deft, delightful detail will redeem this moment of music, will make it interesting until such time as the next moment? (The next moment may never come, anyway.) By a leap of association, I think another related question is: How playful and disrespectful can you be with your own conception, with your own style, with the very concept of "concept"?

    The THANK YOU MASKED MAN Lenny Bruce routine is one of my all time favorites; of course, never forget it was clearly delineated that the Lone Ranger did not want to stay lonely, and that he preferred Indian boys like Tonto.
    Actually for you to begin to "get used" to praise is a good thing. Let's just keep heaping it on. After a lifetime of introspection and doubt, aint it grand to find out you are a talented dude after all.

    Keep those SSO spies a'humming. we love the dirt and the dish.

    You were composing music, sort of, when you were a teenager, by ear, out of the air, and in the late 60's you had one of the first music composition programs, did you not? What kind of bread did you pick up?

    Is Jeff Bergler any good?

    it must be nice to have (2) computers.


    3:49 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hallo, Lane:
    Josh Roman played a two movement sonata by Ligeti at the end of the "What's the Future of Classical Music??" seminar on Sunday, 10 February 2008.
    -- Anonomann

    3:59 PM  

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