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.
We all know what is meant when the accusation of academicism is lobbed: that person (or their line of thinking) is cloistered, out of touch, has little bearing on the real world. But really, there is no “real world” and no “general public.” They are ghosts we chase or sticks with which we composers use to beat ourselves up.
In presenting the four numbered symphonies by Ives during the course of one concert, the Detroit Symphony is taking listeners on a journey unlike any other in music. It is a serious examination of how American music evolved and how one composer brought that about.
According to their violist, the Attacca Quartet’s decision to record the complete string quartet works of John Adams was one of the easiest they’ve ever made.
As a community of music colleagues, we have a problem—and we all share the responsibility to make it better. As it turns out, the research Sheryl Sandberg discusses in Lean In may help us.
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.