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Writing on Musical Subjects

Various pieces I’ve written over the years, mostly on composers working within what we used to call “new music”.

Some of these, in retrospect, read as composerly score settling-mainly against critics and modernist reactionaries.  For others, the response of my old teacher Taruskin seems on the money-i.e. “they sound like a dinosaur shaking its fist at a meteor.” Most have to do with the corrosive effects of the intensifying grip of the free market on the arts, and, for that matter on most everything else worth caring about.

Music of Change: Politics and Meaning in the Age of Obama
So far, unpublished.  Comments encouraged. (7/16/11) – automatically downloads to your device.

Kathleen Supové: The Exploding Piano
Liner Notes Accompanying CD  (8/25/2010)

Mike Fiday: On Mandarins and Stumblebums
The Music of Mike Fiday
(Liner Notes Accompanying CD 4/2009)

Deborah Wong and Adam Grabois: Ravel, Kodaly and Martinu .
Duos for Violin and Cello
(Liner notes accompanying CD 1/2008) –
automatically downloads to your device.

Martin Bresnick’s My Twentieth Century.
(Liner notes accompanying CD 7/2006)

Meditation on a post-Literate Musical Future
What seems to have been a fairly widely read essay on the medium of notation and the increasing meaningless of style in “classical” composition.(published at 8/1/04)

A Post-Classical Manifesto
(Published in the New Haven Advocate on line version will-I’m told- be available again soon. 2/2/2003) –
automatically downloads to your device.

Serialism and Revisionism:  A Response to Straus
(A response to a particularly silly defense of modernism by a distinguished music theorist in the Musical Quarterly 7/23/2001)

Rumblings from the Dustbin: A “Great Day in New York” Post-Mortem
(A Review of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center celebration of works by composers anointed “great” by Fred Sherry.)

On the Recent Activities of Mario Davidovsky
(Score settling with a modernist icon known as the Generalissimo. 5/10/1995)

On the New Musical Puritanism
(Unpublished essay-from those benighted days when we believed what the NY Times music critics wrote actually mattered. 11/2000)

Two interviews:

(from a prospective collection of interviews with young-now no longer so young-composers in 1998)
Evan Ziporyn
Sebastian Currier

Applied Pragmatism:  Seiji Ozawa’s Plans for the Tanglewood Music Center
(Submitted and withdrawn from the Boston Review 1/1999.
Seems a bit dated to me now and seemed problematic at the time.  Has some interesting info (actually dirt) on the inner workings of one of our more august musical institutions.)

On Cognition and Composition (A response to a critique on Fred Lerdahl’s “Cognitive Constraints on Compositional Systems” 4/10/1996)

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Essays on politics, music and culture.