The Best Music

I am often asked about favourite composers (or favourite music). It’s a question I hate, not just because as soon as I am asked it my mind goes entirely blank and I forget the name Mozart, but also because there are so many and whenever I mention one name I despair later that I’ve forgotten to mention another.

When I do manage to muster some of the names below, they are often met with blank stares.

So I decided to gather names into one list, and make a couple of sample playlist for anyone who wants to listen  Continue reading “The Best Music”

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The Best Music

a rhetoric of art

The ‘obligation to speak’ produces a dialogue of art – a rhetoric of art – in which I sometimes enjoy participating. Generating this rhetoric of art is sometimes clarifying about my work (for me or, I hope, for others) and/but it is also sometimes a frustrating afterthought, an obligation. I do think about trying to create organic behaviour, natural textures, etc. in my music, an idea I talk about often, and this idea – this product of rhetoric – has helped me refine what I do, why I do it and how I do it. It would, however, be remiss of me if I did not also acknowledge that there are times, absent of coherent rhetoric, where I am inarticulately art-full, where I am playing with tones – imagining tones – without any coherent sense of what or why, but compelled wether by childish delight, poetic inspiration or pathological curiosity ‘to art’ (the verb). In articulating this, though, don’t I turn it into ‘a rhetoric of art’ just as I separate it from that? The chicken-egg dance begins again.

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a rhetoric of art

Writing about music is like dancing about apocrypha

Composing thoughts on Andrew Durkin’s ‘Decompsition: A Music Manifesto’

I’m currently reading Andrew Durkin’s ‘Decomposition: a Music Manifesto’. It’s refreshing, insightful, and very readable, despite its size. Plenty to agree with, to champion, and plenty to disagree with too – exactly what I want from a book – and as it’s primarily concerned with music, generally, and authorship/authenticity more specifically, it’s rather an ideal book for me. Continue reading “Writing about music is like dancing about apocrypha”

Writing about music is like dancing about apocrypha

Boulez and the new, getting old (Or ‘Boulez is not dead, yet’).

For a variety of reasons I’ve been thinking recently about, in need of ‘clever-er’ words, “newness” and “oldness”. Last night I travelled to London to hear two of the concerts in the latest series of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s inspired and inspiring Total Immersion days. It was in celebration of the former enfant terrible of classical music, Pierre Boulez, and his 90th Birthday.

Continue reading “Boulez and the new, getting old (Or ‘Boulez is not dead, yet’).”

Boulez and the new, getting old (Or ‘Boulez is not dead, yet’).

Selling the Vanguard

The San Francisco Symphony has a series called Soundbox aimed at attracting a younger audience with a ‘cooler vibe’ than we’re told classical concerts have. Great. It sounds, and looks interesting. It is elegantly made, and executed, with intelligent, compelling musical programming. Sure it’s dressed up with nice lights, a gig ambience and the hope of drawing in people conscious of the cool, but why wouldn’t those be good things? They’re doing good work and even extending everyone’s musical horizons on the way. It served to highlight my uncomfortableness with a similar project closer to home.

Continue reading “Selling the Vanguard”

Selling the Vanguard