Desert Island Dilemma x 4100

The music classroom of the future, they say, will possess a computer on which the professor can scroll through a menu and select any significant piece from the history of music, click on it, and have it immediately heard over the classroom sound system. I forget who “they” are, or where I heard or read this, or who was supposed to upload the utopian CD collection, nor do I yet know of anyone living in this fantasy world. The technology is there and would be easy to install, but my department isn’t putting the money into it yet, nor is anyone … [Read more...]

More Popular on the West Coast, Apparently

Having just had performances in San Francisco and Berkeley, I then had one in Seattle, and have one coming up in Pasadena on November 19. I meant to tell you about the one in Seattle, but I thought it was on Nov. 17 and I just noticed that it was Nov. 12. Anyway, the Seattle Chamber Players played a one-minute quartet that they asked me to write, in a series of such brief works to celebrate their 15th anniversary. So I decided the piece should be in four movements, and called it Minute Symphony. I haven’t heard how it went. Anyone hear it? The … [Read more...]

Mencken the Prophet

This is too good not to spread around. I found it here first, but it's scattered around the internet: When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack, or count himself … [Read more...]

Postclassic: Music of the Evolved

After a short hiatus, I’ ve finally gotten back to working on Postclassic Radio, and there are new pieces up by Linda Catlin Smith, Nicolas Collins, Molly Thompson, Paul Bailey, Joseph Koykkar, Dave Smith, Paul Dresher, and others. There was an article in the Los Angeles Times last Sunday, Nov. 7, about my station and Robin Cox’s Iridian Radio, due to our both winning the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. I couldn’t access the article without subscribing, but author Chris Pasles kindly sent me a PDF of it, and Cox e-mailed me the text. It quotes us as … [Read more...]

What Abe Lincoln Meant to Say

If you find profanity offensive, you will not enjoy the message to our Southern brethren at, but I find it heartwarming, which I suppose completes my transformation into a Northeastern liberal. … [Read more...]

Time to Start with the Elegies

Young composer Keith Corbin has written a rather nice Elegy for America, inspired by what he correctly calls the horrible catastrophe of November 2, 2004: "59,459,765 Americans said that they favor a policy of Violence over Peace, Intolerance over Justice, Large Corporations over Economic Sanity, and Fear over Freedom and Liberty." You can hear an mp3 of the MIDI version of Corbin's piece, based on a funereal variation of our national anthem. One thinks of Charles Ives's song "An Election: Nov. 2, 1920," lamenting the country's similarly … [Read more...]

Movies We’ve Seen Before

On November 3, the day after the election, 250 Bard College students staged a peaceful protest in the neighboring village of Red Hook. They sat down in the street in the town's sole intersection, delayed traffic, attracted curious onlookers and a few insults, and left. That was it. Somehow the event came to the attention of the Kingston police force in neighboring Ulster county, across the river. Thirty Kingston police came to escort the students away. Twelve students were walking back to campus together, when one stepped over the white line on … [Read more...]

No Blue Bluer than a Red-State Blue

Composer Lawrence Dillon, grad and former faculty of Juilliard but now living and teaching in North Carolina, cries out for the 25 million red-staters who voted for Kerry and sanity: Don't you think we've been depressed enough this week without taking all the blame for Bush's resounding victory? And how do you feel about the 2.8 million New Yorkers who voted for Bush -- more than in North Carolina and Arizona combined? What exactly is their excuse for being so stupid? On the night of November 3rd [with my North Carolina colleagues] all … [Read more...]

Hail Our New Slack-Jawed Overlords

This concession speech by Adam Felber seems to me to strike exactly the kind of conciliatory tone we should take toward our mighty red-state conquerors. You should read the whole thing, but I'll provide my favorite excerpt here: There are some who would say that I sound bitter, that now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together. Let me tell you a little story. Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends here in Los Angeles. As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state / … [Read more...]

Poetry to Soothe the Soul

I’m writing about politics now not because I believe I know more about it than anyone else, but because after November 2 - an even darker day for America than September 11* (better 3000 Americans killed than 59,000,000 voting their approval to genocide and sexual torture) - I couldn’t find anything on the internet to make me feel better. For many hours there was just nothing, then the articles started rolling in, predictably, by Democrats blaming themselves. The Repugs eat this up, that every time they cream us we act like it’s our own fault. I … [Read more...]

Democrats, Give Thyselves a Break

One thing I’m not going to do is take part in the Democrat circular firing squad, wringing my hands about what wasn’t done, or where we went wrong, why our message didn’t get across. Why not? Because I’m from Texas. Unlike most of my New York friends, I don't have to give red-staters the benefit of the doubt. I was raised devoutly in the Southern Baptist Church - in fact, First Baptist of Dallas, the south’s largest Baptist church, and the one Billy Graham belonged to. I know these people who voted for Bush. Some of them are bullies. Some are … [Read more...]

No Time to Retreat

I’m hearing whispers in blog forum conversations that the exit poll percentages match the final vote percentages in areas where voting took place with a paper trail, and do not match in areas where voting was done on paperless electronic machines. I can’t yet find any hard numbers or analysis, but it’s early, and people were up late last night. I certainly hope it’s true, because I am reluctant to think that 58,000,000 hateful bigots whom I am obliged to call my countrymen decided to proclaim to the world that the torture at Abu Ghraib was … [Read more...]