Kyle, in an earlier response to a question of mine, you said one
third of your composers were under 50. With furrowed brow, I thus
calculate that two thirds of them are over 50 (or, I suppose, 50 on
the nose). This limits the group as representative of much of
anything beyond itself, for all the much-touted variety within the
I honor and respect your work, Kyle. I believe you when you
tell us that many of your composers make good music. I just wish you would
broaden your scope and discuss, if not all music, then at least how
your chosen group relates aesthetically to the rest of music. Or is
your mandate from the Village Voice to stick to the
"experimental" scene, whatever that means any more?
What's been interesting to me about this whole conversation,
apart from a myriad specific points, is the fault lines it's opened
up among the critics (mostly Sandow, Ross and me vs. the rest). The
problem, I think, is the restriction of this conversation to
critics of classical music.
What does that term mean any more? Of course, it does mean
something, but often that something is unthinking and self-limiting.
Everyone who's smart pays homage to the past and to technique of
some kind, often the European art-music tradition. Everyone listens
to other musics and pays attention to them, however natural it
is at the outset of a career to work within a sharp focus, invented
Forget adding more classical composers to this blog, though
it would be nice to hear more from them. Can't we get beyond
the old categories and make this a discussion among critics of
music, in all its diversity and variety? Not that jazz and rock and
world-music critics are all so high-mindedly ecumenical; a lot of
them are narrower than the classical critics here. But at least
bringing them in would make for a conversation that
in itself covered the totality of music.
I know, the hiring policies/habits of newspapers and
magazines reinforce the old divisions, along with categories on the
radio and in record stores and online. But the old divisions are not
what real music is about these days. So what we have here are a
bunch of blind (deaf) people groping one part of the elephant and
squabbling over whether the parts of that one part represent
the whole beast.