Light Me Five Postclassical Candles

The official debut of my blog took place on the 51st anniversary of the premiere of 4’33”, the birthday of Charlie Parker, Diamanda Galas, and Mark Morris, and unfortunately on the day of the year upon which, two years later, Katrina would hit New Orleans. At least three of those anniversaries have personal resonance for me. Five years later, I’m a little surprised to find myself still doing it. On the average, I’ve posted a new entry every two days and 53 minutes, a little short of the vague every-other-day goal I’d set; the shortfall all came this year, but I think I’ve more than compensated in word count per entry. (Is there any other music blog that goes over the 4000-word mark as often as I do?) I sometimes doubt whether it’s wise for me, as a creative artist, to be so omnipresent as a writer. I’ve probably already joined the ranks of Ned Rorem, Virgil Thomson, and Deems Taylor, composers forever better known for the fact that they wrote words than for their music. A friend commented recently that to get job interviews requires a certain air of mystery, so that people can project on you what they’re looking for, and I’m afraid that the weekly public airing of my views since 1983 has left me with no mystery to speak of. Nevertheless, I find writing therapeutic, and this blog allows me a freeform genre of writing that no self-respecting publication would ever support, while my articles – which I would never bother to polish without an audience as incentive – help me organize and, ultimately, change my thoughts. Without this blog my ideas might have gotten set in stone, and would not have evolved as quickly as they have. I am who I am. Like the crazy-going king in The Madness of King George, I occasionally have to speak to get the words out of my head. Sometimes I can’t believe anyone reads them, let alone responds thoughtfully. Thanks for doing both.


  1. says

    so what does astrology say about the birthdate of your blog? leo-virgo cusp?
    speaking of which, my brother was saying there’s some sort of 13th sign between scorpio and sagittarius that isn’t accounted for. do you know anything about this?
    oh, this is a music blog?
    KG replies: Ha ha, very cute. The sun and Jupiter were conjunct and exactly opposite Mars and Uranus – holy shit, no wonder this blog has gotten me into a lot of arguments.

  2. Ernest says

    Happy Anniversary! I’m grateful there’s a place online that covers music so in depth, there’s really nothing else like it. Greetings from Putnam County.

  3. says

    There’s always the impulse to reckon the music (your music) against the written ideas, opinions, and perspectives. ‘If he thinks this, then how does his music sound, how does his music take that perspective into account?’ To me, written expression is often a ‘gateway’ into composers’ music– many times have I been weak and through a passing dalliance with an online post developed a serious addiction to a composer’s music.
    And besides, mysteries, even mysteries that are well known, continue to unfold.
    Thanks for posting all these thoughts for us to read here. Happy composing!

  4. Jon Szanto says

    Kyle –
    Big congrats. I’m certainly not the only one whose artistic life has been enriched by your writings, and most likely not because I’ve always agreed with you, but that I’ve always been able to respect your viewpoint.

  5. Bob Gilmore says

    Might be worth mentioning that here in the Old World there are some discerning music lovers who will know or have played some pieces by Virgil Thomson but I bet hardly any of them have read a word he wrote. Same for Ned Rorem, although he’s (even) less well known. So the optimistic conclusion is that music lives longer than words about music. (Shit, where’s that manuscript paper…!)
    But keep up the blogging anyway, Kyle.

  6. Jim Jandt says

    At the risk of…OK, there is no risk of repetition- I offer another congratulatory word. Every effort toward illuminating music and musical thought and eliminating arrogance wrt the same is worth all the energy taken to do so. You put your left foot in, you take your left foot out…didn’t Stockhausen do something with that motif? Anyway, keep on throwing words out into the world and the world will usually be a better place.

  7. Jan says

    You always get my attention and speak so clearly about being a creative artist that I really understand what you are saying. In fact, you are the only music blog I even read.

  8. mike says

    here’s to many more! as someone fairly new to so-called classical music, i think that your constant communication to listeners and readers has helped obliterate the pretension that sometimes surrounds this music.