The latest on my book

I’ve revised – quite thoroughly revised – the riffs I’ve been posting here since September. You can find the complete revision here, in one long file. It’s a lot to read, but I’d love people to read it. You’ll see that everything is tighter, and flows better. With some new ideas added.

And you’ll see that the book will have musical interludes, as I’m calling them – passages on music itself. My reminiscence of singing Otello many years ago is now the first of these. The second might come in chapter two of the book, in the section on funding. I’ll talk, purely in musical terms, about what classical music from expensive performances – star quality, works of huge scale (Mahler 8th), seasoned and polished orchestras. Plus of course more.

Comments on all of this warmly welcome. I’ve learned a lot from the comments I’ve gotten up to now, both here on the blog and privately. The book is stronger because of them.

Now I’m going to pick up the pace. Look for a riff on chapter two of the book right here, a week from today. See the book outline here, to see what’s going to be in it.

Coming soon: a blog sidebar, tracking the progress of the book, with links to everything I’ve posted. And, later in the month, a draft of the real text of chapter one. Which will take the riffs revision quite a bit further.

A question. The revised riffs — in a single PDF file — are long. Would some of you like to have them in shorter gulps? Let me know, either in comments, or by email.

And watch this space for further developments. Note, by the way, that you can subscribe to book updates and get them directly by email. Just click the link, and put “subscribe” in the subject line. There’s no obligation, the list is completely private, and you can opt out at any time

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  1. says

    Very interesting, Greg!

    I just sent a note to the graduate choral conducting students at UNT about this and giving a link to your blog and pdf of your “riffs.”

    Extraordinarily important to them, I think!

    I posted the letter on my blog as well:

    I look forward to future excerpts and the eventual book.

    Thanks so much! For all of this — your interest, blog post, mentioning the book to students. I’ll keep coming out with more. And your blog post raises important questions. Each part of classical music — orchestras, solo playing, chamber music, opera, choral music, early music, much more — will develop to some degree differently, whatever the future brings.

  2. Katie Berglof says

    I think the greatest historical examples of resistance to change in our genre’s history can be found during the transitional/experimental points in composers writing, and the Opera Wars. I think it would be safe to say history is repeating itself. The concept of “popular” and “Art” has a huge influence over our thoughts of acceptance.

    I’m a huge fan of Mark Evan Bonds, a musicologist who stated in one his history texts: “Consciously or unconsciously we distinguish between music written for a serious purpose and music whose function is primarily to entertain to the broader public. Music of all kinds can be fruitfully studied and performed from both an art and popular point of view. Neither is superior to teh other. Both are legitimate, adn both represent valid ways of making – and listening to- music.”

    I say, like the past, we need both forms to survive. Even if there is an institution of popular classical music formed, why can’t it coexist with traditional institutions side-by-side.

    The line between entertainment music and art music can be hard to draw. What formerly was entertainment music — Rossini, for instance — becomes art music to a future generation. And where do we put Joni Mitchell? (To pick a pop icon almost at random.) Or Verdi? These are people who wrote for an audience, but seem also guided by their own artistic star.

    I’ve read Bonds’ Music as Thought. An important book.