Of Powers and Electricity

Greg Sandow finished reading Richard Powers' novel The Time of Our Singing this weekend and posts about it here. I finished it this weekend, too, and my take on Mr. Powers' view of the future of concert music is less pessimistic than Greg's.

There is no question that the novelist sees that the institutions of concert music have to be more expansive to survive in the future. I find hope in the book's ending for two reasons. I think the participatory "musicking" that occurs near the end to be a possible continuation of concert music rather than a replacement for it. Also, the way that time is treated in the book (I don't want to reveal too much to those who plan to read it) offers a strong hope for constant renewal, of both life and music.

I highly recommend The Time of Our Singing, as well as other Powers, especially The Gold-Bug Variations, which also treats of music and renewal.

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I've not commented on the blog-for-all that has erupted in response to this badly-written (What in the name of Sears and Roebuck is a "supersonic" mixing board? Does it fly around the hall faster than the seed of sound or does make the sound emanate from speakers at a faster speed?) article about electronic enhancement of the acoustics in a hall in Berkeley, California.

The response was immediate, as was the response to the response. Before you could say "baffle", those most horrible epithets known to blogo sapiens musicalis were thrown about like "Nazi" and "Commie" at a political site: "postmodern" and "elitist".

Buried in the story itself was the important fact that artists that use the hall will have the option to employ the electronic enhancements or not. This should act as smelling salts to ease the vapors of some. Scott Speigelberg has the authoritative last word: It depends. Put it in a hall, let people who want to use it use it, and we'll see if it can be made to work.

Scott also wants some recommendations for science fiction books. Please reward him with some.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:53 PM

    But doens't Sandow pride himself in being pessimistic? I've always assumed that was his schtick!