Bell Curve

It is impossible to assess the general public’s receptivity to “good music” from passers-by ignoring a performance by Joshua Bell; all you can assess from this stunt is the basic human need for filters and frames to guide perception.

Wendy’s World

From virtual orchestras and polymicrotonality to pioneering ambient music and switching on Bach, Wendy Carlos has created several musical worlds.

There is No Them

While it is extremely convenient to simplify ideas through binaries and compartmentalization, art (and indeed human nature) is rarely so clear cut.

Bursting the Bubble

I’m trying my best to recover from list-o-mania (you know, obsessing over all these lists of the greatest “fill in the blank”). However, my fuming while reading through all these lists did inspire some new lines of questioning about our relationship to the music we care about and its seemingly fragile relationship to the world beyond us.

sails set for senex

I’m one of these folks for whom ambient music is a terrific foreground experience: Brian Eno, early Aphex Twin, bring it on. I hear in this music what in fact is an extremely fluid relationship with the intentionally foreground minimalist music I enjoy listening to more than most things. So it’s always nice when the […]

Worn Out

Music is a very central part of the clothing store experience, but maybe there could be better music for such an environment than the music most clothing stores choose.

Elliott Miles McKinley’s String Quartet No. 5

Performed by the Martinu Quartet There’s a real smorgasboard of musical styles in the string quartets of Elliott Miles McKinley, which is as fitting for someone who studied with William Bolcom as it is for the son of William Thomas McKinley who, according to the booklet notes accompanying this CD, was named after Elliott Carter […]

Leo Ornstein: Sonata No. 1 for cello and piano

Joshua Gordon, cello; Randall Hodgkinson, piano Those wonderful tone clusters that Henry Cowell allegedly invented actually surfaced in the lush hyper-Romantic solo piano music of Leo Ornstein several years earlier. They are one of the delights of Ornstein’s early chamber music as well, including the first of his two cello sonatas from 1915 featured on […]