I may be wrong, but I think A. C. Douglas may be misreading me in this post about this post. In my post I praised Marc Geelhoed's use of the word "cool" to describe a piece after he had done a more traditional discussion of it. I then ended my post with a comment about pieces by Elliott Carter that are "cool" and "bitchin'". Mr. Douglas seems to read that as my definitive statement on the pieces. It isn't. That's coming in the review I'm working on for Sequenza 21.

I think Mr. Douglas is also misreading Greg Sandow's fine and fairly technical post on Brahms' orchestration. Far from belittling or diminishing Brahms' achievement (as Mr. Douglas clearly thinks he is), Mr. Sandow is showing how it's the details, often the very practical and seemingly mundane details, that reveal how great art works. Musical instruments cannot play notes outside their ranges (normally), and how composers handle that bit of craft/technique is revelatory of their greatness as artists.

Finally, I would like to amend yesterday's post regarding the Carter Dialogues: I meant to say that the piece is "totally bitchin'".


  1. I'm actually a bit surprised that Sandow didn't mention the similarity between the passage he quotes and many, many passages in Brahms' a capella choral works, which are often in 5 parts. Also, no mention of the color of having that open G string on the second half of every measure; it adds a bit of rhythmic balance through timbre to me.

    I'm confused also about his mentioning the final chord of Symphony of Psalms, which I find rather traditionally scored. It's the opening chord that's startling...

    We all know the "relationship" that Mrs. Douglas and Sandow have, so I'm not surprised to see this vicious attack, but I also don't find Mr. Sandow's analysis of Brahms' orchestration revelatory by any means....

  2. I found it "revelatory" in that I had never looked at the passage that way. Your point is well-taken, though.

    And, yes, the first chord of the Stravcinsky is more noteworthy for its scoring than is that last. There are many orchestrational wonders in that piece.