“Lucky” Mosko, 1947-2005

I am told that Stephen "Lucky" Mosko (see here and here) has passed away at the age of only 58. He was a wonderful and well-regarded conductor, a faculty member at CalArts, and a composer too, though I've never heard any of his music. I know him only by reputation and through some wonderful recordings of Morton Feldman's music that he conducted. I'm sure more detail on his career will be filled in in coming months. I do know that his father gave him the nickname Lucky, which he carried all his life, by telling him how lucky he was to have him … [Read more...]

In Praise of Benary

Rock Happens, my review of the recent concert of Barbara Benary's music by the Downtown Ensemble and Gamelan Son of Lion, is now up at the Village Voice. (By the way, her name rhymes with "plenary," not "canary" - confirmed it herself.) … [Read more...]

Screwing the Poor to Protect the Rich

Postclassic Radio has been found in violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, under which Live365.com operates. Because I sometimes play more than two consecutive tracks from the same CD, the station cannot be listed in Live365's directory - I don't really know how big a deal that is, I imagine most of my listeners go there direct from this blog. But here's the e-letter I sent to Live365: Dear Live 365 Staff, I see that my internet station, Postclassic Radio, is listed as noncompliant due to too many tracks coming from the same … [Read more...]

Our Growing List of No-Nos

Speaking of harmonies that draw specific sources to mind, my friend Bob Gilmore thinks that Morton Feldman ruined the interval of the falling minor seventh - not that it is no longer beautiful, but that using it has become an instant signal of Feldman influence. Personally, I tell all my students to steal what they want and not worry about their influences showing through. For all they know, their music may be better known a hundred years from now than that of the people they're stealing from, so they might as well plan for that optimistic … [Read more...]

The Advantages of Saintly Naïvété

Like clockwork, every November of an odd-numbered year I end up teaching Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. And we get to the gorgeous fifth movement “Louange à l’éternité de Jésus” (which I helpfully translate for the students as “Lounging through enernity with Jesus,” using the Spanish “Hay-zeus” pronunciation), and I wonder once again why so many commentators have taken Messiaen to task for using the so-called “added sixth” chord, E-G#-B-C#. Here’s Paul Griffiths on the subject: There is a discontinuity of taste as well as period.... … [Read more...]

Proof I Was There

Opening bars of John D. McDonald's Kyle Gann in Worcester: Now up on Postclassic Radio, along with new works by Amy Kohn, Belinda Reynolds, Alvin Singleton, Mason Bates, and Jo Kondo. … [Read more...]

The Repertoire of Magic Realism

One of my cherished self-indulgences is to read each new Gabriel Garcia Márquez novel as it comes out, and he has never disappointed me. His new Memories of My Melancholy Whores, however, contains this startling sentence: At noon I disconnected the phone in order to take refuge in an exquisite program of music: Wagner's Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra, Debussy's Rhapsody for Saxophone, and Bruckner's String Quintet, which is an endemic oasis in the cataclysm of his work. [Italics added] Do the Colombians know something about Wagner that … [Read more...]

Warning: Bloggers Blogging Bloggers

Ethan Iverson, himself the rather incredible young jazz pianist of Bad Plus, wrote about my CD Nude Rolling Down an Escalator for Downbeat magazine. (Geez, how hip can I get?) Not content to leave the review there, he's blogged it here. Not only that, he mentions another mention that I got from blogger Alex Ross. This is getting blogtastic!! … [Read more...]