Posts in Blogs
While it might seem paradoxical to some, that an improvising musician would be writing a part for a performance, it’s actually not at all at odds with how improvisation works.
I am no proselytizer for modernism, but at least I accept that it happened and that our music and culture have been forever altered by it. Nothing is essentially wrong with the “tonal enterprise,” but most of us acknowledge that in the aftermath of the tumultuous 20th-century, we live in a dramatically expanded field of possibilities.
The Orchestra iPad app is one of the most persuasive arguments for the Western canon’s vitality and endurance that I’ve encountered, and it does so entirely in subtext, without any grandiose, pompous pronouncements.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room is how popular culture is determined and disseminated. Not so long ago, composers ranging from Igor Stravinsky to Thelonious Monk graced the cover of Time magazine. John Cage even appeared on nationally broadcast television programs. Yet it seems like a pipe dream for anyone other than a million-dollar-grossing pop star to get similar attention now. Why?
With his “The Music They Made” feature, the NYTimes Magazine editor Wm. Ferguson is using his position to shape his idea of the “mainstream” by adding a few names that only indie, rock, and punk devotees would recognize while, at the same time, protecting it by disavowing not only classical music but jazz and Broadway as well.
How audiences receive a movie or a musical performance is an expression of cultural stratification. Whether or not we feel that direct sales of their works is more ethical than viewing them second-hand for little or no cash outlay has a lot to do with how we’re raised.
As with the Instagram debacle, it will take a concerted effort by many to attract the attention of a company as large as Spotify and motivate them to make changes, and we should not be adverse to putting forth that effort.
A connection I have with Dave Brubeck is the state of Indiana, where both of our paternal grandfathers are from, but in all of the obituaries I’ve read about Brubeck there is no mention of his Native American background, a point vital to his music as well as jazz in the big picture.
Most Americans have never seen anything like Cateura, Paraguay, a city built atop a sprawling landfill in which most residents subside by foraging, repurposing, and selling useful bits scavenged from the trash. And most readers would admit that this seems like a highly unlikely location for the formation of a community orchestra.
Many performers want to advocate for the music of their time, work that allows music to live beyond the premiere and to grow through multiple interpretations. Most composers want to work with you in order to make your experience, and that of the audience, as gratifying as possible.