16.3.15

a thousand flowers

Is this one flower or two? Beats me. At any rate, we need at least 998 more.

Thanks to the good offices of Will Robin, 21st century orchestra music has taken over Facebook and Twitter, under the hashtag #21cOrch. I've listened to a good bit of this music over the last few weeks, and I have to say that I've been impressed with both the wide stylistic diversity of the music and with its quality. Whether I like a given piece or not (which is one of the least important aspects of writing about music), it's great to take note of the vitality in the field.

When I was in school the last thing anyone would do is write an orchestra piece on spec--American orchestras didn't play new music, at least not if you weren't a big name. (I wrote a piece in the 80s and one in the 90s, both for specific occasions and they both got performed once.)

The recent increase in performance of new music by American orchestras is a good thing. I look forward to hearing more.

17.11.14

miranda cuckson - melting the darkness

She knows them all; trust me.

My review of Miranda Cuckson's exciting and challenging new disc, Melting the Darkness, is up at Burning Ambulance.

11.9.14

worth reading, to say the least



This is the first of what will likely be a very occasional series, pointing you to some stuff I thought was, well, worth reading.

Alex Ross on pop culture and power. Key sentence: "Between them, Adorno and Benjamin were pioneers in thinking critically about pop culture—in taking that culture seriously as an object of scrutiny, whether in tones of delight, dismay, or passionate ambivalence."

A conversation with Richard Powers. Key sentence: "You can listen to music for millions of different reasons, and if you consider the fundamental components of music—melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, timbre, form—there are styles of listening that emphasize each of those."

Leonard Pierce on Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master.  I disagree with an important premise of Leonard's, but his insights are important and his management with Anderson and his film vital. Key sentence: "The emotional weight of the film, the tenor of feeling it achieves when it starts throwing roadblocks instead of opportunities in front of its protagonists, is exceptionally well-delivered."

19.5.14

music for one musician


The redesigned Burning Ambulance launches today. One of the new offerings is my review of Rough Fields' recording of Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians.