While mainstream media outlets have called attention to Jay Z’s nine nominations as well as contenders such as “Blurred Lines” (the Robin Thicke song and not the 10-minute microtonal violin and harpsichord duo by Canadian composer John Beckwith), there have been fewer reports about nominees in other categories and there are a total of 82 of them this time around.
Until we rid ourselves of the notion that the best music of all time was created by a handful of men who lived an ocean away from us and who all died more than a century before any of us were born, we will never have programming that truly reflects the vast array of musical creativity all around us.
There have been few additions to the canon of “classical” music from Africa, or most of southern Asia and Oceania. And yet, despite the efforts of extremists in various parts of the world, some form of music is created, performed, and listened to in every nation on the planet; music is one of the few pan-terrestrial human activities.
When I admit to most music aficionados that I am visiting Vienna for the first time next week they tend to be shocked. How can someone who claims to be so enamored of music have not made the requisite pilgrimage to the musical capital of the world? But great music takes place all over the planet and you can find amazing things to listen to wherever you go.
Just as reading novels or short stories will make you fall in love with written language and ultimately enable you to more effectively communicate as well as comprehend the world around you, a similarly immersive experience with music will make you fall in love with listening and ultimately enable you to more effectively pay attention to others.
Noah Creshevsky’s expansive 2012 sample-based composition The Four Seasons, which forms the basis of his latest CD release on Tzadik, is hardly without precedent. For starters, there’s Vivaldi, but also Haydn, Fanny Mendelssohn, Glazunov, John Cage, Wendy Carlos, Chen Yi, etc. However, it is one of the most meticulously crafted renderings of this much-traversed concept and is arguably the most elaborate of all of his musical creations thus far.
Although the president of Local 802 implied that “abandon[ing] an accessible repertoire … resulted in financial disaster” for New York City Opera, most NYCO premiere performances I have attended over the years were packed. In fact, every opera company in the United States would better serve American audiences by presenting more contemporary American operas.