The Myth of Pop Hatred

One thread of the pop-influenced-classical-music argument is becoming clearer to me from the comments to my previous post. A recurring refrain among younger musicians heavily invested in pop is that those composers who use pop instrumentation but don't really use it in an authentic pop style do so because they don't really respect pop music. They're doing it to make themselves look hip, or to try to "redeem" pop elements by dressing up a classical piece with them. Now most of the composers one might gather in by this description are friends of … [Read more...]

The Unapproachable Sacredness of Pop

An introvert, in Jung's view, was someone who not only is focused on his own thoughts and perceptions, but considers his own viewpoint the final arbiter of reality. When popular opinion and one's own perceptions come into conflict, the introvert cannot but decide that the world must be mistaken. However, in Jung's view, every conscious principle is balanced by a compensatory principle in the unconscious, and it is common, he observed, almost necessary, for an introvert to elevate public opinion to a deity-like monolith with which it is useless … [Read more...]

What Kind of People Hate Minimalism?

An excess of spicy food last night got me up extra early this morning, and I ended up where I often end up in the wee hours: Wikipedia. I noticed on my "watch list" that a change had been made to the Minimalism entry, and upon checking, found that the word "chicken" had been unaccountably added to a quote by Tom Johnson. A moment later, I found inserted into the text this line: i think the music is very boring and to repitive so please get rid of it!!! [sic] (One concludes the words "too" and "repetitive" were deemed too repetitive as well.) I … [Read more...]

The Empire Strikes Back

I've linked to articles expressing outrage about the recent decision of the Copyright Royalty Board that threatens to shut down a wide swath of internet radio stations, including my own PostClassic Radio. Just so you know what the other side is saying, I print here a letter a friend sent me that he received from his musicians' union. It's a nice piece of propaganda, framing the CRB decision as being entirely motivated to make sure musicians (not corporations, of course) get paid their due. My own comments are bold-faced: A recent pro-musician … [Read more...]

Taking the Good with the Bad

I didn't want a laptop with a camera in it. I had no desire to learn what I look like to my computer. But I have to admit, I no longer go to the bathroom mirror to comb my hair. I just open Photo Booth and comb the hair in my computer screen. … [Read more...]

Internet Radio Under the Gun

According to an article at The Agonist, a law is about to be passed to price internet radio out of existence via high royalty payments. Petition attached. More in-depth Live365 itself. UPDATE: Brian McLaren finds a good analysis … [Read more...]

Rachmaninoff Had Big Hands

Well, all right, it's Sunday night and you could use a laugh. The Concord Sonata gave Charles Ives a reputation as "the man who plays piano with a stick." But what if Rachmaninoff had gotten the idea first? I think it might have gone something like … [Read more...]

My Technological Overhaul Continues

You're not hearing from me because I bought Logic, and I'm playing with my new toy. You can imagine what it's like for someone who has spent 32 years writing pieces based on repeating loops going out of phase with each other to start working with a software partly based on exactly that paradigm. It took me about two minutes to generate a typical-sounding Kyle Gann piece. I added some string chords, and it started sounding like John Luther Adams's Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing. I added a percussion track and it started to sound like … [Read more...]

How to Spot a Composer

M.C. Maguire, Scott Unrein, and Jim Altieri at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (see update below): Photo by Caroline Mallonée UPDATE: Corey Dargel sends a photo from an ACA residency a couple of years ago, with Joshua Palay, Eve Beglarian, Paula Matthusen, and himself (same exact spot, I think): … [Read more...]