One for Our Side

Well, I can't complain about David Lang winning the Pulitzer Prize for his The Little Match Girl Passion, based on Hans Christian Andersen. Score one for postclassical music. Of course, I have to retract my boast about Postclassic Radio being an entirely Pulitzer-winner-free station.  … [Read more...]

Expressing the Unself

Lawrence Dillon posts a charming anecdote from when he was in grad school, of having had three professors in a row begin classes by asking every student to define "music." The first funny part is that all three thought it profound to begin with that question. The second funny part is that, after the students had stumbled through various answers, all three professors gave their own definitions to the effect that music is a form of personal expression. Lawrence calls this "nonsense" and "tough to defend as a thesis," but it is one of those things … [Read more...]

On Your Way to Work…

We need hardly say that from the traditional point of view there could hardly be found a stronger condemnation of the present social order than in the fact that the man at work is no longer doing what he likes best, but rather what he must, and in the general belief that a man can only be really happy when he "gets away" and is at play. For even if we mean by "happy" to enjoy the "higher things of life," it is a cruel error to pretend that this can be done at leisure if it has not been done at work. For "the man devoted to his own vocation … [Read more...]

Friendly Fire

I haven't been blogging as much lately. Frankly, the blog has become less fun. The reason is the comments. The nature of them has altered over the last several months, and I feel like a habit is forming to try to tear down everything I say. Let me explain before you react. I realize that I have very unconventional ideas about music, and that a lot of conventional musicians who believe what they were told in grad school get angered by my ideas. I've always believed that the people made angry by the things I say deserve to be made angry, that … [Read more...]

Le typesetter, c’est moi

Montréal's Voir magazine features an interview with me in French in advance of the premiere of my electric guitar quartet tomorrow night. It's by Réjean Beacage, described by local composer/entrepreneur Tim Brady as "the last important new-music critic left standing in Montréal." I can read French except for the verbs, so the description of me looks accurate, but I can't tell what he says I'm doing. The photo is more than a decade old. The interview got off to a funnier start than he seemed to expect. He asked me if it was a difficult job being … [Read more...]