Author Archives: Greg Sandow

View From the East: Honest Voice

Greg Sandow Something happened as I got ready to write this column—I thought I got bored with the music I was going to write about. I guess that’s an occupational hazard for critics, since we’re forced to pay attention to all kinds of things, whether we really care about them or not. In this case, […]

View From the East: Animal Instinct

Greg Sandow Warwick, NY: When you read this, it’ll be around Labor Day, time for going back to school, for work, for the concert season, and for other urban pursuits. But I’m writing in the country, on an August night, the air thick with the buzz of insects. So I thought I’d say goodbye to […]

View From the East: Second Thoughts

Greg Sandow Disagreement can be fascinating. Take, for instance, the response to my recent column about piracy. I put forth some grand theories, about how piracy serves, in effect, as publicity, without clearly hurting anyone whose music is pirated. Behind those theories lay an unspoken idea, that pirated music is a reality, unlikely to be […]

View From the East: Rose-colored Glasses

Greg Sandow I want to say a few things about a brave and sweet—but probably mistaken—book by Allen Shawn, called Arnold Schoenberg’s Journey. And as I start to write, I realize I’m obsessed, at least a little, with the whole atonal thing. That started for me late in the ‘60s, when I decided I’d be […]

View From the East: Pirate Theses

Greg Sandow 1. Piracy is a bad word… It brings me images of ships that fly the skull and crossbones. They’ll capture us, steal our stuff, make us walk the plank. They’re a threat, not just to life and limb, but to legitimate commerce. (Although, if you want to get historical, some of that commerce, […]

View From the East: What Progress?

Greg Sandow Not long ago, I was writing about serialism and made an all too common mistake. I was trying to explain—to people who don’t know much about music—how serial writing got popular among composers in the ’50s. But which composers? “Advanced composers,” I wrote innocently enough, meaning only to say that not all composers […]

View From the East: How To Be Real

Greg Sandow New music concerts are often informal, especially if we compare them to more normal—or, if you like, stuffier, more ritualized, even constipated—mainstream classical events. This especially interests me because I teach a graduate course at Juilliard, called “Classical Music in an Age of Pop,” a course about the future of the field, which […]

View from the East: Is New Music Thriving?

Greg Sandow I’d like to think new music is thriving. Certainly there are reasons for thinking it is. Last year I served on an awards panel for ASCAP; we looked at hundreds of applications from composers all over the country, all of whom were getting performances, many of them from local performing groups. We New […]

View From The East: Blinded by Prestige

Greg Sandow Not long ago I heard the Cleveland Orchestra play a Harrison Birtwistle piece in Carnegie Hall. This was a New York premiere, with an enticing title, The Shadow of Night, and I didn’t care for it, which maybe doesn’t matter—in searching for Birtwistle on the Web, I found some short pieces on the […]

View From The East: Two Delights

Greg Sandow A while ago I saw a Godard film, one of his later ones, Soigne ta droite from 1986, which like all Godard’s later films isn’t easy to understand. It’s even hard to say what it’s about, which doubtless means the question doesn’t apply, or at least doesn’t apply in any normal way. The […]