The Postclassical Program Note, Exhibit A

My arm twisted by my ACA chum Andrea La Rose, I went to hear Anti-Social Music in New York last night. I’m not going to review them, because the opinion-forming center in my brain burned out a few years ago and doesn’t work any more. But I think I can convey in this space the extraordinary quality of their program notes, which give the appearance of having been produced in the same amount of time it takes to read them – as though they were read into a dictaphone hooked to a computer with instant voice-transcribing software. The general feel is not so much stream-of-consciousness as extemporization under extreme pressure:

Berry Seroff wrote Guitar Duo #2 for two rockin’ guitars. I can’t find any program notes for this piece, so I’ll just say that Barry Seroff is a jerk who once shunned me on MySpace. Sure, he’s befriended me since then, but the bruises will never heal….

Pat Muchmore is a complete douche bag, but sometimes he writes pieces too. This one is called:

[an ornate wordless diagram follows]

See what I mean?

Peter Hess may or may not have written a Voiceprint. If he did, you should be hearing it now. If he didn’t, you should be hearing the next piece. If you’re hearing your mother’s voice telling you to kill small animals, you are awesome….

Jean Cook has played violin since 1979. She recently started buying stamps online and thinks it’s fabulous.

Brad Kemp (bass) would rather talk about YOU….

What can I say about Ed Rosenberg that hasn’t already been said?

Scrapworm did the art. who is scrapworm? what’s the point? a new worldview is possible. art is a function of such energies. activate the noosphere. resonate in the 5th day….

What can I say about Pete Wise (vibes) that hasn’t already been said about Ed Rosenberg?

The ensemble patter between pieces was identical in tone and apparent speed. I enjoy these guys. Unlike classical composers they don’t flash their credentials at you, but unlike rockers, they’re not so cool that they have to keep mum and leave you wondering, either. The underlying message – “Who gives a shit where we went to college?” – is a healthy one for postclassical music. The patter filled up the spaces between the pieces and left no room for boredom. The show was a fast-paced circus, and the actual music, performed with an attractive looseness and the occasional rough edge, was interesting, savvy, and intricate enough to prove that the surrounding irreverent verbiage did not indicate any superficiality of compositional intent.

An incidental note to all those New York spaces whose managers think that the way to keep audiences entertained between pieces is to turn on recorded music in between the live performances: I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! Die! Die! Die! Anti-Social Music’s solution was infintely smarter.