Remembering Wiley

It's pretty far down in the comments now, so I didn't want it to get lost that Wiley Hitchcock's son Hugh has started a remarkably honest … [Read more...]

Sunken City, Finally

I finally got a recording of my piano concerto Sunken City - by recording it off of Dutch radio via the internet: Second movement: After (22:19) The recording is of the premiere in Rotterdam, which had a few more mistakes than the next evening's concert in Amsterdam, but the spirit of it is quite nice. The ensemble is the Orkest de Volharding, the crackerjack wind and brass ensemble founded by Louis Andriessen in 1972, conducted by the young but impressively expert Finnish conductor Jussi Jaatinen. The soloist is Geoffrey Douglas Madge, an … [Read more...]

Independent Confirmation

Peter Cherches has written, for NYU's Fales library, a blog on the subject. At the Voice I covered the "classical," more new-music side of the scene, but Cherches covers the jazz and punk rock areas as well. Got a problem with Downtown music? Take it up with Peter Cherches now. Go tell him there's no such thing. … [Read more...]

Cherokee Roots of My Crazy Music

I was in Washington, D.C., this week lecturing at Catholic University, and I spent a number of fruitful hours at the impressive National Museum of the American Indian. Among other things, I bought a book on Cherokee astrology: The Cherokee Sacred Calendar by Raven Hail, an elder in the tribe. It seems that Cherokee astrology - apparently based on or descended from the … [Read more...]

End of the Road

....In February 1913, Malevich assured Matiushin that "the only meaningful direction for painting was Cubo-Futurism." In 1922 the Dadaists celebrated the end of all art except the Maschine-kunst of Tatlin, and that same year the artists of Moscow declared that easel painting as such, abstract or figurative, belonged to an historically superceded society. "True art like true life takes a single road," Piet Mondrian wrote in 1937. Mondrian saw himself as on that road in life as in art, in life because in art. And he believed that other artists … [Read more...]

What This Country Needs Is a George Antheil Nickel

Europeans certainly do make a composer feel at home. No sooner had I stepped off the plane in Copenhagen than the Bureau d'Exchange handed me several pictures of Carl Nielsen: In Basel I turned in my Danish Kronens for pictures of Arthur Honegger: And the Swiss went the Danes one better: not only was their most famous composer on the front, but the reverse of the Swiss Franc sported an actual excerpt (a mere repeated dyad, admittedly, but all the more characteristic withal) from Pacific 231 (detail only): Somewhere around here I have an old, … [Read more...]

H. Wiley Hitchcock, 1923-2007

I'm out of town on a teaching gig, which is perhaps why the news eluded me that my friend and mentor Wiley Hitchcock passed away Wednesday. It seems terribly unfair that death could ever be associated with such a big, bluff, jovial, good-natured, generous, straight-shooting bear of a guy, as jaunty, masculine, and bullshit-deflecting as a sea captain. He was the dean of Americanist musicologists, and far more than a musicologist - he seemed a full-fledged denizen of the world of American composers, someone who walked among Ives, Thomson, Cowell … [Read more...]