The Friday Informer: Brought to you by [See Your Corporate Logo Here!]

  • In the battle to make the orchestra relevant, the “all we need is a sponsor” weapon is getting a trial run this weekend at Carnegie Hall. Under the “put your spin on tradition” moniker, the energy drink Red Bull is promoting a performance of DJ Radar and Raul Yanez’s Concerto for Turntable. A slew of conservatory kids (focus groups apparently want their crossover orchestras young and perky) have been recruited to perform this bit of scratch notation, a piece that’s been making it’s way around the scene since 2001. “Other progressive musical pieces” are also promised.

  • In addition to toting around all your Apple gadgets, here’s another way to flaunt your status as cutting edge creative type—design your own ringtone. No more embarrassing pre-programmed theme songs alerting you to an incoming call. Shocking new applications of the tone row just waiting to be explored!

  • Some might fantasize about building a robotic prom date, but now composers who can’t get no satisfaction from an ensemble might go the same route. See Kurt Coble’s Partially Artificial Musicians.

  • Apparently our brothers and sisters writing challenging fiction are in a tiny boat made by the same manufacturer as the one new music is in. There’s a fascinating essay by Ben Marcus in the October Harper’s Magazine that, with a few name substitutions, would be like looking into a mirror—a world characterized by “no sales, little review coverage, a small readership, and the collective cultural pull of an ant.”

  • But actually, writers might have it slightly better than us. Several at least make the Top 100 Public Intellectuals list out this month from Foreign Policy and Britain’s Prospect magazine. Jaron Lanier, who happens to be a composer, made the list for his work with virtual reality, but otherwise composers and musicians didn’t make the cut. Though knowing what we do about overachievers, it would be surprising if there weren’t also a few amateur concert pianists among the nominees.

  • And Allan Kozinn [NYT] finds that “rock stars who become interested in classical music are bizarrely conservative.” Discuss.

2 thoughts on “The Friday Informer: Brought to you by [See Your Corporate Logo Here!]

  1. ebruskin

    Having just bought a new phone, I’m new to this ring tone thing. But my phone lets me mail MP3s to myself and use them as ring tones. I think the commercianly available (classical) ones are absurd – it’s unnatural to have a full orchestra blasting out of your pocket! (And annoying, too)

    I think there should be an aesthetics of ring tones. To wit:

    1. A ring tone should be one of two types: (a) summoning or alerting, ie. readily audible with a “public” sound; or (b) a silent or quiet notice, meant for your ears only – a “private” sound, one that others would not even recognize as a ring.

    2. A ring tone should be in scale with its containers: the phone body itself and a pocket, handbag or briefcase. A full orchestra or operatic tutti is out of scale.

    I have three so far:

    1. The first 9 second of Stravinsky’s Movements for Piano and Orchestra. Only a few instruments play at a time; the opening gesture is like a mini fanfare, and the rest of the tone pulls back somewhat so the sound is not relentless. This is a more private one.

    2. The opening two bars of George Crumb’s setting of “All the Pretty Little Horses” from “Unto the Hills (American Songbook I)” – definitely a RING tone. (Disclosure: I work with Orchestra 2001, the performers and dedicatees of that stunning work.) A public ring tone!

    3. The 2nd movement of Crumb’s “Black Angels” – quiet clicks, col legno and spiccato sounds. This would not rise above ambient noise to anyone who diesn’t know the piece, and it’s pretty quiet to begin with. A very private, subtle ring tone.

    I’m having fun with this.

    I also have played around on the Wolfram site – there are some real gems there, especially in the comprehensive scale list including many Messiaen modes, and the instrumentation possibilities. For instance, you can assign melodic lines to drums.

    Maybe NMBX should put up a page where people can upload their ring tones – the more outrageous or creative, the better!

    Reply
  2. Garth Trinkl

    I don’t recall that too many people in the “new music community” blinked when Swedish company Absolut Vodka sponsored numerous new music ensembles, events, and recordings; so I see nothing amiss with the Austrian Energy drink manufacturer Red Bull sponsoring “leading-edge” musical events. Doesn’t Austria have the highest percentage of new (non pop) music offerings per capita
    in the world each year, beating out Finland?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Conversation and respectful debate is vital to the NewMusicBox community. However, please remember to keep comments constructive and on-topic. Avoid personal attacks and defamatory language. We reserve the right to remove any comment that the community reports as abusive or that the staff determines is inappropriate.