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Thursday, March 31, 2005
Well, since you asked...

It's hard for a person to gage influence on himself very accurately, but assuming that what I like most is what influenced me most, in no particular order...

Virgil Thomson--(Virgil was a teacher of mine, but I knew some of his music long before I knew him)--Symphony on a Hymn Tune, Mostly About Love, The Feast of Love, The 'Cello Concerto, and The Mother of Us All (I like Four Saints very much, but not quite as much as The Mother. I also really like parts of Lord Byron, although it's uneven).

Peter Maxwell Davies--(Another teacher, with whom I've kept in pretty close touch, and certainly followed his music closely) Worldes Blisse, Ave Maris Stella, Image Reflection Shadow, A Mirror of Whitening Light, Symphony #3, Hymn to St. Magnus, and most recently the Naxos Quartets--the ones I know)

Arthur Berger--(another teacher) 'Cello Duo (which I knew long before I knew Arthur, which is a long, long time indeed), Yeats Songs, Guitar Trio, Bagatelles.

Ezra Sims--especially the Third Quartet, String Quartet #2 (1962)--for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, and 'cello--,and Phenomena

Milton Babbitt--Composition for Viola and Piano, Du, The Widow's Lament In Springtime, Triad, Mehr Du (all of which I've played--in some cases alot--and know pretty well), Quartets #2 and #6.

Percy Grainger--especially the twelve instrument version of Shepherd's Hey, Handel In the Strand, Harvest Hymn, Six Dukes Went Afishin', Died for Love

Vaughan Williams--Sea Symphony, Symphonies #3 & 5, The Shepherds of the Delectible Mountains, Five Mystical Songs, Hodie, Hymns for Tenor, Viola, and Piano

Britten--most especially Serenade, Nocturne, Noye's Fludde, and the folksong arrangements.

John Cage--The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs, Suite for Toy Piano, String Quartet, Melodies for Violin and Keyboard, The Seasons, Cheap Imitation

Machaut--just about anything, but especially Douce Dame Jolie and Hoquetus David

Monteverdi--Book VIII of the Madrigals


Justin Morgan--Amanda and Judgment Anthem

Ruth Crawford--Sandburg Songs

Satie-Socrate (There's no piece in the world anything like--and sometimes I think anything near as wonderful as--Socrate. I was outraged recently to see it described in Taruskin's History of Western Music as skimpy and technically inept).

Michael Finnissy--especially Banimbir, Unknown Ground, String Trio, Multiple Forms of Constraint, Seventeen Immortal Homosexual Poets.

Judith Weir--King Harald's Saga, The Consolations of Scholarship, Thread!

And finally--a little story: Virgil wrote that the day after the first performance of the Copland Organ Symphony (which is a terrific piece--and which he said was the piece that everybody of their generation wanted to write) he saw Boulanger and she asked him what he thought of it. He said when he heard it he wept. Boulanger said, yes, but the important thing is why did you weep. Virgil said, because he hadn't written it. I've only felt that way with a piece by somebody about my own age twice--Lee Hyla's third Quartet and I Broke Off a Golden Branch by Judith Weir.

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