I know that when things are slow it’s all to easy to pick on Sound and Fury blogger A.C. Douglas, but THIS post on 20 January had me groaning seven different ways (you can click over there to read, but I’ll reprint it here to save you the flip-flop):
The Composer As Physicist
If you want to understand why such a large measure of postmodern classical music is so dreadfully wrong “” so anti-music, as I’ve elsewhere called it “” you’ve only to read the following from French (surprise!) composer Tristan Murail:
Only now have I begun to feel as if I have obtained the technical means to achieve my dreams of adolescence: I imagined certain ambitious works, but lacked the capacity to realize them. With a piece like L’Esprit des dunes (1994), for ensemble and electronics, I feel that I have succeeded in doing something that I could have easily dreamed of doing when I was twenty or even younger. In a piece like that, there is a clear research on the level of pure technology but there is also a musical research into the combination of sounds; this may not be immediately apparent, but so much the better. And while the “poetic” side of the piece probably has an even greater impact than the spectral contents, the “poetry” depends utterly on their careful construction. Creating this sense of research, newness and “avant-garde” while still maintaining a coherent and comprehensible musical discourse is my real goal. [Quote taken from a post on the theater blog, Superfluities.]
No further comment required.
Let’s see, Murail consistently acknowledges the musical/poetic as the guiding principle that all of the “research” is in service to, and yet Mr. Douglas reads it as proof-positive of the composer as “physicist”? The funny part is that if you subsitute one word in this line of Murail’s, thusly:
And while the “poetic” side of the piece probably has an even greater impact than the formal contents, the “poetry” depends utterly on their careful construction.
This could be said by Bach or Beethoven.
It’s interesting too, that he calls the music he finds so “dreadfully wrong” Postmodern; So I’m guessing the plain old “modern” stuff Like Schoenberg and Boulez are just fine with him?……(not)…