How a piece goes from a perhaps uneventful premiere to even somewhat standard repertoire is the new music million dollar question. But one thing seems certain: There has to be a second performance.
From Charles Seeger to his contemporaries William Schuman and Henry Cowell in the 1940s, through John Cage and William Duckworth in the 1970s and 1980s, to young composers like David T. Little and Gabriel Kahane today, the American shape-note tradition has been a steady source for reexamination and inspiration.
One seemingly unresolved issue in the realm of field recordings is the tension between authenticity and abstraction. One can view an artist’s work with “the field” as existing somewhere between these two different, though not mutually exclusive, concerns.
I am strangely optimistic right now, at least for art, despite the enormous challenges we face as a species. Part of the reason is that I feel the forces that I’ll enumerate are in fact moving us towards a sort of new “common practice,” one that is far more diverse and comprehensive.
As long as the “influence” of Reich’s music can be traced back up the chain, the narrative will keep feeding itself. But there are risks to leaving the engine running unchecked.
My response to the gloom that permeates A History of Opera and Opera’s Second Death would be to invite the authors of these tomes to New York to sample remarkable work of the kind that I have seen and heard in recent months.
Minimalism in its first manifestation was a strict, objectivist style. There were enough hints of gradual process in Einstein on the Beach that it was accepted as fitting this paradigm at the time. But looking back in retrospect, Einstein seems a far more intuitively written work.
“Finale or Sibelius?” is a question that composers love to ask other composers. But there are a variety of other, lesser-known options for notation software lurking out there.
Can any kind of music actually be dangerous? This rhetorical question has an obvious answer: it cannot kill you, but something in it scares enough people that the famously oppressive regimes of, say, the Taliban, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China (during the Cultural Revolution), the pre-Reformation Catholic Church, or that tiny town in Footloose all felt that certain music should be duly restricted.
I read a lot of commentary about the modern music business, and I’m guessing you do, too. It drives me slightly crazy. Here are ten things I wish people said more often. They don’t represent a blueprint for success or a complete explanation of what’s happening, but I hope they give you a clearer idea of what’s going on and what you might do about it. Here goes…