Terry Teachout has some thoughful observations about the nature of criticism and its relation to art. Of particluar interest to me, as both critic and composer, are his musings on what it means and whether or not it's important for critics to be "right" about the work they criticize.
The Blogger Known as Pliable posts a fascinating, informative, and link-rich piece about the development and testing of the atomic bomb. Plenty to hold us until the recording of Doctor Atomic comes out.
Daniel Felsenfeld responds to an article in the Wall Street Journal about audiences and orchestras embracing new music that throws off the yoke of serialist oppression. Mr. Felsenfeld points out that this "might have been something worth noting were this, say, 1952". He also quotes composer Daniel Kellogg as saying he writes music that "he wants to hear," and that the article frames this as "novel". Mr. Felsenfeld sighs:
I do not come down on either side of this argument because frankly I think it is an old and dead struggle. These are no longer the sides any more than the Yankees and the Confederates. We hear daily of the "problems" in classical music, and if we are ever to take a step to solving them we have to address the issues of our own time (even if we do not like our own time) rather than a more simplistic contrempts of a vanished world. The implication--that serial music and its descendants rules the roost while there is a new generation trying to upturn it by returning to the old ways--is a quaint and lovely notion that might have been riveting half a century ago but in 2005 it is laughably far from true...though I, like Mr. Russell, [the author of the Journal article] wish these were the only problems we faced. Our world would be a better place were this true.
Finally, Heather Heise asks questions of composers. My answers, for the record: No; no; no; yes, I have two; sure, why not; no; yes and no; no; no; not for me; yes, though it's more an "ooze" than a "spill"; yes.