“Only the really good stuff survives. Can you name anything that’s still popular from over a hundred years ago that’s no good?” a friend of mine asked almost rhetorically, pretty much convinced that I would not be able to come up with something to refute his claim.
Is paying complete attention to someone else (e.g. listening to their music quietly) an act of subservience that ought to be discouraged? Or does a passive though total experiential immersion allow for a greater understanding of the world and all the disparate people who inhabit it? Might the latter sometimes also lead to the desire to create something that we hope that others would want to pay attention to?
Although the legendary musical revolutionary Edgard Varèse would be his lifelong mentor, Chou Wen-chung is a consummate traditionalist who has devoted his entire life to reconciling the disparate musical legacies of East and West.
Two songwriter friends of mine who don’t self-identify as composers claim that it is much easier for them to write music than it is for them to write words. Perhaps songwriters have a much easier job of it than folks who only write music since the words they are writing music to are already theirs.
Justin Rubin’s penchant for triple meter and lush harmonies yields a music that exists somewhere between tonal and non-tonal realms; it is not quite comfortable being limited to either paradigm but totally comfortable in the ambiguity.
Before I ever got interested in classical music, it baffled me that dead composers were more of a draw than living ones, but perhaps that’s why classical music doesn’t capture the interest of more of the general public.
The lure of live performances of Steve Reich’s Tehillim and The Desert Music was enough to convince me to board yet another airplane (less than 12 hours after I returned home from France) and brave the weather in Winnipeg where it was -34°C which equals -29°F!
Although the final day of MIDEM was something of a ghost town, as per tradition, there were still several worthwhile panels on the schedule as well as interesting people to talk with in the exhibition area.
There’s something that is somehow intriguing about making the listening experience so precious at a time when it is so devalued. And in the midst of Monday’s marathon information overload on steroids, learning about a new app that will only allow you to play a song one time seemed downright appealing.
Filled with excitement about the possibilities of viable music export for the new music community, I wandered the exhibition rooms where elaborate displays of various countries’ musical offerings were on display, often through the support of their governments. There is no such exhibition for the United States, although Texas always has a presence here. Perhaps if we can’t have an official United States presence at MIDEM and other significant music export convenings abroad we can eventually have representation from all 50 states individually–imagine that.