It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

The idea of music’s power is deeply ingrained into daily living, from ideas about what we get from the musical experience, to fears about its pervasiveness, to our creation myths. I’m somewhat obsessed with the idea of a sung creation myth, where it is not merely the words that “speak” everything into being, but the tune. Think … Continue reading

Yes, Schoenberg, you and I can be friends

Randomly reading some music interviews last night. There was this interview with a piano/violin duo at Penn State University back in 1996, and the interviewer asked the duo why they would think of performing and recording George Crumb: Just the name Crumb makes me cringe, expecting dissonance. How can the same Duo encompass the lush, romantic Strauss, … Continue reading

Originally posted on The Rambler:
Last week I rather took Daniel Asia to task for his Huffington Post article on John Cage. I’m returning to the subject today because I’m interested in moving this debate beyond just Asia, or even Cage. As Lauren Redhead noted at the time, Asia’s article is merely symptomatic of how much…

Emotional Conservatism

My favorite Chopin interpreters are the ones that can bring a reserved elegance out of Chopin’s pieces. I think Chopin is not about “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”, to quote Wordsworth’s famous definition of poetry. It is about emotion, yes, but emotion held in check. Eliot’s ideas about emotion have always felt more solid … Continue reading

So much has happened in a year

Namely a change in perspective on the arts: “I value music (and the other arts) precisely for those parts of their expressive and emotive force which are unlike language, not part of a sign system, not even easily described in language.” James Anderson Winn, The Pale of Words In other news, I finished my thesis.

performative

The GRE literature felt a bit better than I thought (knock on wood) though feeling that I didn’t have enough time to fully check my answers was unpleasant. We’ll see when we get the scores back. The student performance went ok too, with the exception of a jarring note near the end. I feel as … Continue reading