Folks: I respect you all very much. Really. But you don’t know jack about the upcoming Sequenza21 concerts. By way of fixing this (your) problem, we at the site will be offering you penetrating, deep glimpses into the inner lives of the composers and performers involved in This. The Mother Of All Concerts. The Concerts The New York Times Does Not Want You To Know About (else, why haven’t they covered it yet? Huh? Huh?).

First up: Jeremy Podgursky. Composer. (Or just a poser??? You decide.)

Did you learn anything in music school?  Or does the phrase “circle of fifths” mean nothing to you?

I learned not to throw stones in ivory towers.  I also learned that the first seventeen years of my life were lazy, unfocused, and unforgivable.  Music school taught me how to look fun in the eye and say, “bite me!”.  And what’s this “circle of fifths” stuff?  I went to music school in Louisville, KY and the only fifths we knew of were filled with bourbon.

What’s your favorite “bad” piece of music?  And briefly justify your crappy taste.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.  Either that or “November Rain” by GNR.  Bonnie Tyler’s histrionics have earned her the title of Mrs. Meatloaf.  Slash’s guitar solo out in front of the church is all-the-more stunning due to the fact that his guitar isn’t plugged in.

Your five-composition-long playlist for Schoenberg would contain:

1. Anything by Scelsi – “hey Arnold, you digging that tone center?”

2. Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich

3. Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed

4. Coptic Light by Morton Feldman

5. that “Do-Re-Mi” number from The Sound of Music

Congress calls on you to draw up a bailout plan for contemporary music!  What do you do?

First, I guess I would get my suit dry cleaned.  Second, I would burn a CD of Sousa marches in case they wanted examples of contemporary music.  Third, I would institute a draft for all performers graduating from music school to serve a four year tour-of-duty in one of many government subsidized regional orchestras and chamber groups.  These ensembles would perform and record only contemporary music five days a week, five hours a day.  LAST BUT NOT LEAST: I would insist upon the removal of Alaska from the U.S. and replace it with Iceland (sorry, but I couldn’t help myself).

12 Responses to “Countdown: Jeremy Podgursky”
  1. klangfarben says:

    all this talk about Schoenberg and you let this goofball’s affinity toward GNR’s badness go unnoticed? c’mon. are we in the 21st century or a 1950s Ivy League composition seminar?

  2. zeno says:

    Thanks Alan.

    And there is also Leon Kirchner’s lush Wagnerian, 12-tone Cello Concerto (recorded by Mssrs Ma and Zinman) which might be on suggested listening lists for budding American opera composers.

    (Philippe Boesmans’ ‘Winters Tale’ also nicely mixes the 12 tone and the tonal, a la Sound of Music accordians).

  3. Alan Theisen says:

    I agree with zeno. Check out Schoenberg’s chamber symphonies. Fun stuff!

  4. Steve Layton says:

    And chips!

    I guess since the original post was intentionally silly, there’s no embarassment there.

  5. Sparky P. says:

    >>>I miss election polls. Let’s take a Sequenza21 poll: which is more embarrassing, the silliness of the original post, or the people who found that silliness offensive?


  6. Jean Philippe Rameau says:

    I miss election polls. Let’s take a Sequenza21 poll: which is more embarrassing, the silliness of the original post, or the people who found that silliness offensive?

  7. zeno says:

    Tonality also informed Schoenberg’s later 12-tone music (as it did several other fine 12-tone composers, whether European, American, or Japanese. Salvatore Martirano’s Mass, influenced by his study with Luigi Dallapiccola, comes immediately to mind).

    For those who haven’t done so recently, I suggest auditioning both of the Schoenberg Chamber Symphonies (which, however, were begun at about the same time early in the last century), as well as the Piano Concerto.

  8. david toub says:

    I think folks need to keep in mind the fact that Schoenberg wrote several tonal works long after he started writing 12-tone music. Much of his later tonal works are crap in my opinion, but he liked them, and that’s all that matters. He also said that a lot of great music remains to be written in the key of C, thus presaging the seminal work of Terry Riley.

    Let’s also not forget that John Luther Adams hails from Alaska. It’s not all a bunch of redneck Bible thumpers.

  9. David Salvage says:

    Yeah, tough crowd out there.

  10. Steve Layton says:

    Oh shush, guys. I get the point of the playlist (thouh I think Arnie would have secretly enjoyed the “Do Re Mi” song…). A little ribbing never hurt; why even the Schoenberg Institute happily plays along!:

  11. david toub says:

    great—this dude managed to naively trash Schoenberg AND Alaska in one step. Guess this is supposed to impress someone? I’d expect nonsense like that from a Sarah Palin.

  12. Jean Philippe Rameau says:

    Hahahahaha! That’s clever! Because Schoenberg hated tonal music! And knew nothing about solfege! And was stodgy and old and stupid and atonal and all that is evil and wrong!

    Har har har har har!