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.
While the Tubby the Tuba CD is certainly one tool when it comes to teaching kids about classical music, could it be that we’re underestimating children? When we assume they wouldn’t like or understand a challenging piece of music, we don’t even give them a chance.
Mode Records asked me to create a realization of Morton Feldman’s graphic orchestral piece Intersection I. This article follows the conception, execution, and destruction of my work.
Some sons go camping or on a fishing trip with their fathers when they know that time is winding down. I wanted to create a new musical work with my dad. At first he insisted he was too old to get involved. Just hours after my dad left the planet, I learned that Ansel Adams: America had received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition. This felt like my dad was winking at me, grinning and giving me a congratulatory hug from the other side.
One of the most important tools for a composer to develop is an intuition about material, about its possibilities for manipulation and development. But now that I’ve had enough practice turning off that intuition, I can see and hear how it’s not necessarily the material, or even the choice of material, that makes or breaks a piece of music.
I have regular contact with many older composers, and increasingly many younger ones, but apart from a few close composer friends from my student days I seem to have very few peers of my own generation. I was born in 1966 and that puts me in the era of “Generation X”.
A large-scale work for the bassoon by a well-known composer would not only be a giant step for the bassoon community, but it would also create a greater awareness of our instrument in the new music community.