Bedfellows

Very interesting where having the word "Nude" in the title of my CD will get it listed on the internet. (You'll have to scroll almost all the way down, to "classical music," to see it.) … [Read more...]

Now They Tell Us

Jennifer Higdon's article Caged Heat at New Music Box is the frankest admission and most thoughtful self-analysis I've ever seen of why an Uptown composer doesn't like (some) Downtown music. I wish more of them would be so forthcoming, rather than just eternally pretend that it's all a matter of quality. … [Read more...]

The Precocious 5-Year-Old Musicologist

All the Wiki activity at Sequenza 21 has drawn my attention to how much needs to be filled in about new music at Wikipedia, the reader-written encyclopedia. I looked up "Downtown Music" and was astonished to find this (I quote the article in its original entirety): Downtown music is a style of contemporary music first defined as such by Village Voice music critic Kyle Gann. It is used largely in opposition to the prevailing uptown aesthetic which it opposes. Very flattering, but since La Monte Young, Richard Maxfield, and Yoko Ono started the … [Read more...]

Don’t Touch that Dial

You old codgers my age will remember that on Morton Feldman's vinyl recordings from the '70s, there was often a warning on the back cover: "Play at a low volume level." The music was supposed to be soft, but it seemed a disservice to record it at a low level - might as well get the best signal-to-noise ratio possible and leave the composer's intended dynamics to the mercy of the consumer and his volume knob. Well, pianist Marilyn Nonken gave me her new Mode recording of Feldman's Triadic Memories, and told me that it had been recorded very … [Read more...]

The Great Conundrum of My Life…

...is that my public career continues to flourish and expand even at a time when the music I love, the music I write, the music I champion, the music on which I am the world's leading expert, is utterly out of fashion in every segment of musical society. No one believes me; the terms I have defined are allegedly meaningless, the movements I chronicle are said not to exist, even the existence of Downtown music itself, which was around for two decades before I started writing about it, is deemed chimerical - and yet people keep paying me to write … [Read more...]

One MP3 Now Worth 968.8 Words

At long last I've added some mp3 audio examples to my web page on alternative tuning, Just Intonation Explained (generally the most frequently accessed page on my website, sometimes tied by my uncle's chili recipe). Reading about tuning theory is a little like reading about ice cream flavors - it ain't very evocative if you can't also have the experience yourself. I hope readers will find this a much stronger entry into the microtuning world, and I plan to do something similar with my page on Historical Tunings later in the summer. Let me know … [Read more...]

I Am Not My Music’s Fault

Jerry Bowles over at Sequenza 21 raises a provocative, and eternally recurrent, question, that begs to be answered at greater length than I can over there: The comments under the announcement of David Diamond's death on the front page [alleging that he was a bitter, petty, often malicious person] raise a question that has always intrigued me as a civilian in the world of the arts and that is: to what extent, if at all, does the character of the creator matter in the evaluation of his or her body of artistic work. Should it matter to listeners … [Read more...]

Long Night – the Postclassic Review

Most of the reviews are presumably in on my CD Long Night, and as I said earlier, though complimented by the general positivity, I didn't feel any of them exactly grasped the piece, so I thought I should maybe show how it's done. After all, there's no Kyle Gann out there to review me - except for Richard Taruskin, actually, who once wrote an evaluation of my work so detailed and deadly accurate, in both positive and negative points, that I changed my compositional priorities in response to it.... anyway, I decided that if I was really going to … [Read more...]

SoundVisions Located

The ever-helpful Eric Bruskin notes that the book SoundVisions that I hawk below is easier to obtain through Amazon.com's German web site, which he says will have access to your American Amazon info. Thanks, Eric! … [Read more...]

Virtual Choral Festival, Downtown-Style

Big changeover on Postclassic Radio today - more than a 30 percent change in content since yesterday. For one thing, Charlemagne Palestine month continues, and I've got some new tracks that will surprise you even if you know his work. Last week I went to Other Music in New York, the store where I go to find things so obscure even I don't know about them, and I came across four new Palestine discs, of which I bought two. One I'm playing for you is a hauntingly strange little vocal performance, only four minutes, from a gig at Sonnabend Gallery … [Read more...]

Musical Notation, 35 Years Later

Do you remember John Cage's book Notations - a 1970 compilation of pages from more than 300 various composers' scores, mostly presented without comment, and ranging with wild diversity from conventional notes to graphs to pictures to unintelligible scrawls? I used to look through it when I was young and wonder what all those notations meant. The fantasy they offered pushed me into some of my own notational experiments. Well, there's sort of a new Notations out. Composers Torsten Müller, Kunsu Shim and Gerhard Stäbler have put together a book … [Read more...]

I’m Misc. G, and I’m here to say…

I note with satisfaction that there are now, finally, "Gann" bins at the uptown and downtown Tower Records stores in Manhattan. But at Other Music, which is devoted to Downtown, experimental, ambient, and other oddball genres, my CDs are still under "Miscellaneous G." My brilliant son suggested that I become a rapper and take "Miscellaneous G" as my stage name, which will then make that my bin. … [Read more...]