Cold Blue on the Air

Sarah Cahill alerts me to an internet radio program from Other Minds, in which Richard Friedman plays works from the concert of music from the Cold Blue label at REDCAT last February 18. The program opens with two of my Private Dances beautifully played by Sarah - and then the rest of the music, by Michael Jon Fink, John Luther Adams, Larry Polansky, Rick Cox, and others, is absolutely lovely. I am honored to be in such incredible company. Go here, and click on Program No. 61 in the upper right-hand corner. Limited time only. … [Read more...]

Marvin Gann, 1925-2006

My father sang in church choirs most of his life, and his favorite pieces were Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's Ninth. Once he sang in the chorus for the Dallas Opera production of Boris Godunov. Along with the Steinway baby grand he bought me when I was 15, which stands in my living room today, such was his contribution to classical music. He was an accountant for Mobil Oil, and spent the last three of his 29 years there as an office manager in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Having grown up dirt-poor on a farm in what is now a rather stylish section of … [Read more...]

A Short History of my Subjectivity

Composer-songwriter Corey Dargel, of whose music I am unabashedly a fan, asks a question, with regard to my anti-objectivity post, that I feel like answering: partly to defuse a myth that's growing up around me, partly because I'm supposed to be writing a very dull departmental report filled with statistics, and would rather be doing almost anything else: What are the advantages and/or disadvantages to being entrenched in the scene you are writing about? Have you ever second-guessed your ability to maintain a "critical distance" from your … [Read more...]

Let’s Be Subjective

I have sometimes been described as a critic who refuses to observe the usual professional standard of objectivity. That fit the paper I wrote for, of course, since the Village Voice was always known for its "advocacy journalism." I never figured out what "advocacy journalism" meant - or rather, what was supposed to be the alternative. I always advocated a healthy, lively, diverse music scene, whereas if I had been a truly "objective" music critic, I suppose, I wouldn't have given a damn whether new music concerts thrived or ceased to exist. In … [Read more...]