Beam Me Up

Just before leaving for Europe I chanced to pick up a vocal score of Karl-Birger Blomdahl's science fiction opera Aniara, and I've only recently had time to spend with it. I won't divulge the used bookstore where I found it, because they acquire a certain amount of modern scores from estate sales (lots of Henze and Berio lately), and I seem to be their prime buyer at the moment - though I must add that their prices seem outrageously high at times. (I've also bought scores to Brant's Angels and Devils, Riegger's Dichotomy, John Adams's Chamber … [Read more...]

Wikicatch-22

I have only made one edit on Wikipedia since I made a big brouhaha about the site several months ago. I ran across a page titled "Cultural depictions of George Armstrong Custer," and noticed a subsection on musical references to Custer. Human nature being what it is, I rather thought a citation of my music theater work Custer and Sitting Bull might be appropriate there, and added it. It was immediately deleted, as violating the rules against self-promotion. I said "Hmph," or words to that effect, cursed myself for deigning to pay attention to … [Read more...]

Academie d’Underrated: Matthijs Vermeulen

[Update below] I've been intending to write more about my European sabbatical, but I'm rather frantically composing on deadline. I have five world premieres coming up in the next several months, and two of the pieces aren't finished. Thanks to my extended leave from teaching, I wrote seven works in 2007, totaling some 85 minutes of music - not much by some people's standards, but a personal record for me. And I have two movements of The Planets to finish before school starts, so that the Relache ensemble can start practicing the entire … [Read more...]

A Return, a Departure

There are, I admit, composer mugs that pop up on the front page of New Music Box that I get sick of seeing week after week, but I was very pleased to see Lois Vierk's friendly face appear to advertise … [Read more...]

A Thought to Begin a Year With

The commonest and cheapest sounds, as the barking of a dog, produce the same effect on fresh and healthy ears that the rarest music does. It depends on your appetite for sound. Just as a crust is sweeter to a healthy appetite than confectionery to pampered or diseased one. It is better that these cheap sounds be music to us than that we have the rarest ears for music in any other sense. I have lain awake at night many a time to think of the barking of a dog which I had heard long before, bathing my being again in those waves of sound, as a … [Read more...]