Author Archives: Alexandra Gardner

Sounds Heard—Eleanor Hovda: The Eleanor Hovda Collection

As varied in scope as the archive of compositions in The Eleanor Hovda Collection is, Hovda’s primary intent—to explore the outskirts of the sonic possibilities inherent in instrumental sound and their relationships to the physical world—is clearly expressed in every piece.

Composer Biographies (Famous Author Edition)

Let’s face it, writing a composer biography is hard. It’s really super hard to write one’s own biography, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met a composer who is totally content with his or her own bio. It would be great to see some more creative approaches to the composer bio, so we started imagining some, and received great ideas via Twitter.

Repairing Musical Blind Spots

It seems the momentary topic of choice in the world of classical music journalism is musical “blind spots,” or rather, the music that you try to like—or at least appreciate—but somehow just can’t manage to get there. Is something important being missed by succumbing to blind spots?

Impermanence

I am continually struck by the fleeting nature of a musical performance relative to the amount of human labor involved in making a single performance happen. With artists who produce a physical product such as a book or a painting, there arrives a point at which the thing is done and can be directly experienced by nearly anyone from that point on. But in the time-based medium of music, there always has to be that additional layer of translation in linear time.

Sounds Heard: Stefan Weisman / Anna Rabinowitz—Darkling

As of late, much contemporary opera has been reducing its footprint by relying on smaller forces for performance and documentation. Darkling, with music by Stefan Weisman and libretto by poet Anna Rabinowitz, is one such example of an opera that packs a punch even though served in a relatively small container.

Me, Myself, and My Publisher

I finally registered what is called in the state of Maryland a “trade name” (otherwise known as a DBA), and opened up a business checking account under that name. It was so ridiculously easy to do this! I cannot even believe how long I’ve been putting it off.

Breathing is Fundamental

Hearing performers breathing can add intensity to a recording, not to mention serve as reminder that the music is coming from a human. I have come to like hearing performers breathing in recordings, and that is probably a good thing since I seem to gravitate towards the big breathers anyway.

Accidental Audience

A thoughtful blog post by composer Daniel Wolf addressing the concept of “public” spaces (which, as he points out, are not actually as accessible as one might suppose) has got my brain churning about musical performance in unrestricted places. By that, I mean the sort of place where unsuspecting folks would happen upon a musical performance (or whatever sort of performance) and pause to check it out, or run away screaming, or… well something.

How To Send a CD (Holiday Edition)

At NewMusicBox, we receive lots of recordings via snail mail throughout the year. Many of these recordings are commercial releases, but we are also very happy to receive one-off, non-commercial CDs from composers who want us to hear their music. Because there are a multitude of ways to prepare home-baked CDs, I wanted to run through some important things to keep in mind before you drop them in the mail, ensuring that they are easy to handle once they have reached their final destination.

The Gift of Original Music

Composers have been dedicating works to performers, commissioners, teachers, and colleagues for ages, but what about music that is not necessarily intended for public performance, such as a lullaby for a newborn?