But What Does It Sound Like?

Typical unhelpful new-music program note, American Uptown style:

Gordon Trustfund-Protégé studied at Harvard, Curtis, and Columbia with Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, Gunther Schuller, Iannis Xenakis, Mario Davidovsky, Charles Wuorinen, Luciano Berio, Richard Wernick, George Crumb, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ned Rorem, and Milton Babbitt. His music has been played by the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Symphony, Los Angeles Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Seattle Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Little Rock Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and Perth Amboy Symphony orchestras. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for music, a Guggenheim, the Grawemeyer Award, a Koussevitsky Award, a Fromm Commission, the Prix de Rome, an Academy of Arts and Letters membership, the Charles Ives Award, a Grammy, a Yaddo residency, a MacDowell residency, a Djerassi Foundation residency, the International Classical Music Awards’ Composition of the Year, the Stoeger Prize, an NEA Individual Artist’s Fellowship, a Bearns Prize, a New York Foundation for the Arts Award, a BMI Student Composer Award, the Silver Spoon Award, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the Preakness, and the fifth race at Aqueduct last Tuesday.

Typical unhelpful new-music program note, European style:

Freedom is not so much an existential condition as a never-ending dialectic within oneself. Einohääära Esapëkka’s Second Symphony is committed to demonstrating his belief that the vastest immensities of man’s internal struggle can be embodied in the briefest trill of a flute, and that conversely the most fleeting moment of self-doubt can find expression in the external structure of an entire work. In this music the dichotomy “freedom versus commitment” ceases to be a reality, at least on the unconsious plane, and the ever-assumed historical movement toward greater abstraction turns out to be an illusion that does not so much contradict itself as compound itself on ever higher and higher levels in a reductio ad absurdum. In the presence of the very sonority of this music bourgeois ideology crumbles, not due to its distance from lived experience, but because the urgency of its perceived desires renders the very idea of human autonomy laughable.

Typical unhelpful new-music program note, American Downtown style:

This piece is for Ellen.