The story told by Robert Levin involved snickering Italian waiters. Bob asked quite a few Italian speakers, "What does sfogato mean?" (An Italian-English dictionary will say something like “letting loose.”) The motivation for Levin's particular curiosity was the use of the term in the score of Chopin's Barcarolle (m. 78). It's a word that doesn't appear in (earlier) piano music. Frédéric Chopin: Barcarolle In this written music, "sfogato" … [Read more...]

Clover V


In considering the ways today's art is an art of appropriation, let's notice a basic change that's occurred in writing, composing, and design. Editing used to involve re-writing, re-typing, re-drawing -- physically copying some previously used material into each new version. Computer-enabled editing techniques now mean that the virtual copying and pasting of material from one version of a project to another is routine whether we're working with … [Read more...]



A recording I made of Philip Glass's Metamorphosis One became the basis for a YouTube video. I never met the YouTuber who posted it, though he emailed me and asked permission. I could only tell him the rights belong to the record label, not me. It's a spare video. (There's a single image of a lake.) This music is featured in the cult-fav TV show Battlestar Galactica. And a lot of BSG fans find the video. The music's also used in NPR's This … [Read more...]



In his anxiety, Johannes Brahms read the slow movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonata, opus 10, number 3, and penned his own intermezzo in E-flat Minor, opus 118, number 6: (If D goes to C-sharp, then D Minor can go to E-flat Minor. Up can be down. 6/8 and eighth-notes, or 3/8 and sixteenths. Largo e mesto. Dies Irae? D-Es?) Earlier misprision led Brahms from playing the slow movement of Beethoven's Opus 2, number 2, to … [Read more...]