Every 29 Years, Saturn

BELGRADE – Saturn is sextiling my Sun and ascendant from my tenth house, if you know what that means. What it means is, I’m kind of difficult to escape at the moment. The always impressive Frank Oteri has a wonderful interview up with me today on New Music Box, in honor of my new book and two recent CDs. I always knew Frank was sort of ridiculously brilliant, but I didn’t realize how brilliant until he started digging into my music and making me see it from a different angle than I’d ever seen it before. In addition there’s another interview with me by John Ruscher on BOMB magazine about my Cage book. There’s also a nice review of my Cage book by Robert Birnbaum at The Morning News. I’m all over the internet today. This, too, shall pass.

Meanwhile, after my lecture about my music at the University of the Arts, the leading lights of musical Belgrade and I relaxed over traditional Serbian food. Here are Marija Masnikosa, author of a book on Serbian minimalism and perhaps the first scholar to write her doctoral dissertation on postminimalism; Vladimir Tosic, Serbian composer of wonderful postminimalist music who was born and lives within 200 meters of the University of the Arts; Dragana Stojanovic-Novicic, Nancarrow scholar extraordinaire and head of musicology; myself letting what’s left of my hair down; and Nada Kolundzija, new-music pianist with several fine recordings under her belt, whom the locals describe as a visionary:

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Here are two of the best tracks from Nada’s latest CD:

Vuk Kulenovic: Virginal (he lives in Boston now; some of the best Serbian composers escaped during the ’90s)

Irena Popovic: Silence and Nothing

It’s a small but rich and vibrant music scene, pretty much hidden away from the rest of the world due to unfortunate political developments of the last 20 years. One told me that their devotion to this exciting little scene is what keeps them going from day to day. My growing affection for the Serbian music world has taken me by surprise. I’ve tried my darndest to learn some Serbian, which they don’t expect any Westerner to do; their startled delight when I answer “Drago mi je” (“Glad t’ meet you”) is touching. And they found it hilarious that I thought Radno Vreme must be the Donald Trump of Serbia, because his name is on practically every downtown building. “Radno vreme,” it turns out, means “Hours of operation.” (Sava River in the evening, under a full moon:)
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  1. Radno says

    Congratulations being all over the internet on this auspicious (?) day.
    It’s wonderful that you are able to visit such places and experience the diversity this planet offers. I’ll take “small but rich and vibrant” over “large and complacent” any day.

  2. says

    Congrats! It’s too bad Birnbaum didn’t write more or interview you. He has some really wonderful, insightful interviews with authors on that site. Maybe next time…

  3. Ernest Ambrus says

    In your New Music Box interview you said:
    “That’s the problem I feel about my blog right now. I feel that people read my blog to find out about other music than mine, but all I really want to write about is my own music at this point.”
    Man, I’m here to find out about the going’s on in Gannland, and the music therein, not the rest of the world. The latter’s just a bonus.
    KG replies: Thanks, Ernest. I’m happy for you to be my target audience.

  4. Gavin Borchert says

    By the way–I’m not sure if they let you know, but your Private Dances got a lovely performance last Saturday night at South Seattle Comm. College. Also on the post-classic program: Adams (both sets of Gates), Feldman, Riley, Golijov, and a stunning premiere by Janice Giteck. (Three pianists tag-teamed, and I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly who played your work . . . ) Wonderful evening!
    KG replies: I knew Jane Harty was going it, but hadn’t heard any other reports since. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. says

    In the Oteri interview, you mention a piece for soprano and orchestra with accordion, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. I can only imagine you referenced this knowing you would soon have your blog audience clamoring for that MIDI file.
    Can’t wait to hear it.
    KG replies: Hi, Ben. But ahh, the one thing that can’t be MIDIfied is the soprano part, and you know how difficult it is to find a soprano willing to take on a four-minute modern art song, let alone a demanding 16-minute theatrical solo. I’m hoping to finally get a recording together this summer, the piece is 6 years old now.

  6. Barry Grant says

    Dear Kyle,
    This is precipitated by reading FJO’s interview of you, but I’ve been meaning to write you a fan letter for over a year. I am a very big fan of your music writing and growing fan of your music (I have listened to Private dances half a dozen times. It’s pretty, which is a big compliment, as I love Peter Garland). I have read all your books (but the Nancarrow one; Cage one is on order). You write more clearly more intelligently about music of any sort than anyone I else I’ve read.
    There is no one better to write about a book about Ashley than you are. He is amazing. About the interview. It’s great, too. FJO knows his stuff and asked great questions. I don’t know Bruckner well at all and will now order some of his music.
    I look forward to the new direction of your blog you mentioned in the interview–your music!
    Barry Grant

  7. says

    Reading your references about Serbian music hits home for me, as my daughter’s husband is from Serbia (they met while they both were studying in France). He’s from a small town in the south, so quite apart from the Belgrade scene, but your writing has intrigued me…I didn’t know all this was going on there. Now, with my family connection, I feel sure I’ll get over there one of these days and check it out myself. Thanks!

  8. says

    Reminds me of my very first trip to France, some 40+ years ago, and how amazed I was to see how popular the Avis car rental company was…there were signs saying Avis! everywhere, and particularly near railroad tracks.