By challenging and subverting listening conventions, the four compositions by Alvin Lucier as performed by the Australian new music ensemble Decibel on a new Pogus CD open up minds and ears to push the listener into deeper realms of sonic perception.
While mainstream media outlets have called attention to Jay Z’s nine nominations as well as contenders such as “Blurred Lines” (the Robin Thicke song and not the 10-minute microtonal violin and harpsichord duo by Canadian composer John Beckwith), there have been fewer reports about nominees in other categories and there are a total of 82 of them this time around.
Until we rid ourselves of the notion that the best music of all time was created by a handful of men who lived an ocean away from us and who all died more than a century before any of us were born, we will never have programming that truly reflects the vast array of musical creativity all around us.
Experienced musicians eventually arrive at a point where the physicality of the instruments they play seems to disappear. It’s at this point that proprioception, e.g. muscle memory, provides the player with a cognitive shortcut that frees the conscious mind from primarily focusing on the mechanical details of music performance and allows it to address issues of aesthetics.
Taste and individual interests will always drive us to those composers and performers that resonate with us, but I think we have found common ground from which to propel our artistic dialogue into the future.
This Tuesday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic finally took the leap and programmed a concert of works all by Los Angeles composers—Sean Friar, Julia Holter, Andrew McIntosh, and Andrew Norman. It was an extremely eclectic program that showcased the range and depth of talent here.
What is it with people and singing along? No really, what is it? Here, I offer four possible explanations for a phenomenon that, for anyone who celebrates live performance, doesn’t make much sense.
A Secret Rose fulfills one’s expectations of 100 electric guitars playing simultaneously in the same 45,000 square-foot room—that is, tongue-lollingly loud shredding that triggers involuntary head bobbing—but Chatham covers far more ground than that.
Now in their fourth season, Spektral Quartet is currently ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago and already a well-known champion of Chicago composers, including the six whose works are featured on the group’s first commercial disc release.
Jetlag finally caught up with me over the holiday weekend, but it got me thinking about music and the way that music plays with listeners’ perceptions of chronological time.