Descendants of the Prophets


Composer John Luther Adams is teaching at Harvard this semester, and he had never been to Walden Pond before - only 16 miles away, after all - so I drove out and we did the tour together. As you may recall, John is a hard-core Thoreauvian, I'm the Emersonian. Here we are united, however, on the site of Thoreau's cabin: So sharply do our mental processes differ and complement each other that we talked much about the Emerson-Ives-Gann world of ideas versus the Thoreau-Cage-Adams world. It amazes us that beings so overlapping in sympathy … [Read more...]

Fanfares and Funerals


In Michigan a few weeks ago, I saw the second copy I'd ever seen of Kathleen Hoover's and John Cage's 1959 book Virgil Thomson: His Life and Music, in the possession of Thomson scholar Jennifer Campbell. The first copy I saw was in Thomson's own apartment in 1989. I realized I had to have it, and of course was able to find a copy in pretty good shape via Amazon, for $75. Hoover wrote the biography, and Cage wrote about Thomson's music, in tremendous detail. Were one of the authors not so famous, the book would not at all deserve republication. … [Read more...]

Five New (Old) Tunes for Spring

Thanks to the good music faculty of Central Michigan University, I have a number of new recordings of my music up on my web site: Olana for vibraphone, New World Coming for bassoon and trio, and Minute Symphony (kind of a joke piece, a symphony in 80 seconds) for flute, clarinet, violin, and cello. This was kindly intentional on composer Jay Batzner's part; he programmed pieces that weren't on my web site. Also, Contemporaneous's recording of my string quartet Concord Spiral is now available, and with Pianoteq I've made a nice … [Read more...]