When you compose a piece of music it is something for which you are taking responsibility. I was reminded of this last week when I observed the final session of the first American Composers Orchestra/Mannes Summer High School Composers Intensive.
All of us, not just those of us who are involved with music, waste so much time dwelling on the past as well as trying to predict what the future is, when in fact the only thing we can really affect is the present.
As a singer and instrumentalist who has worked in at least a dozen different musical genres, Caleb Burhans has always been drawn to the inner voices preferring to, as he puts it, “play second violin or viola than first fiddle.” This attraction spills over into his own deceptively simple, extremely meticulous musical compositions.
I must confess that to me the concern about the dwindling readership for music blogs is something of a tempest in a teapot, but then again I’m someone who is perpetually skeptical of best-selling novels, Billboard-charting albums, blockbuster movies, and highest Nielsen-rated TV shows.
Information technology now develops faster than any of us can keep up with, and to what end? If there is no permanence to the formats we use to store information, what is the point of storing information in them?
While Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom’s Daytime Viewing is a by-product of that brief window in the late 1970s and early 1980s when a fusion of experimental music and New Wave created numerous uncategorizable hybrids, it is also very much a harbinger of our own much longer-lasting “indie-classical” zeitgeist.
If there were a music version of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” it could very well be “Six Degrees of Carman Moore” since Moore—in a career spanning decades—connects to everyone from Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen to John Lennon and Aretha Franklin. And yet, many people are unaware of Moore, even within the contemporary music community.
During the heyday of the laterna, an early mechanical musical instrument popular in Greece in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, playing instrumental music and singing were gradually being supplanted by gramophones and radios in most households. It was the beginning of on-demand home listening and drastically reduced the amount of amateur at-home music making.
Virtuosity is not what a public sing is about; rather, it’s about having fun with a piece of music that you love. Might such an enterprise be possible with new music?
The metaphor of “submission” as my ideal audience intake position has now reached a whole new level for me. Last week, for the John La Bouchardière production of Lera Auerbach’s opera The Blind I attended at Lincoln Center, the entire audience is required to be blindfolded.