Waiting for the Echo

I'm going to talk about myself as a composer for a moment, so if my own music isn't what you read Postclassic to learn about - if you agree with the blogger who recently complained that my blog is too introspective - this is one to skip. I've written about 60 musical works, or a little more, depending on which pieces I'm in a mood to acknowledge on a given day. Nominally, 20 of those pieces, one third, are now available on commercial CDs, ten of them on this most recent disc. It's ironic how much getting a CD out feels like having just scaled a … [Read more...]

Vindication at Last

A.P. wire story: Bursting into tears, eighth-grader Anurag Kashyap of California became the U.S. spelling champ Thursday, beating 272 other spellers in a tough two days of competition. He said he felt "just pure happiness." Anurag, 13, of Poway clinched "appoggiatura," a melodic tone, to take home some $30,000 in prizes. He won in the 19th round of the 78th Annual National Scripps Spelling Bee. "A melodic tone," my ass. But after all these years of trying to teach students how to spell "appoggiatura," I can finally prove that it can be a … [Read more...]

Not Modern, Just Badly Played Department

George Rochberg's Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth String Quartets, written for the expert Concord Quartet and thus referred to as the "Concord Quartets," represented a return to startingly traditional tonality in the dissonantly 12-tone 1970s. Composer Mary Jane Leach tells a story of their premiere: I was at the premiere of Rochberg's 4-6th String Quartets at Alice Tully. People's jaws were dropping right and left. However, the funniest thing happened on the way out - I was walking behind two older women after the concert and one of them said "that … [Read more...]

Chill with Charlemagne

Are you ready to chill out for the summer? I sure as hell am. That's why I've made Charlemagne Palestine June composer-of-the-month on Postclassic Radio, so you can lie on your deck in the sun and get lost in 50 minutes of Strumming Music, or 70 minutes of pipe organ drones in Schlongo!!!daLUVdrone. (That's probably some kind of litmus test - if you can't take seriously any piece titled Schlongo!!!daLUVdrone, no matter how transcendent it sounds, you're no Downtowner.) If you don't know Palestine's music, consider yourself lucky that you can … [Read more...]