There’s an interesting quote toward the end of Anne Midgette’s article about Ingram Marshall in the Times:

“Mr. Marshall has been called a postminimalist, a term he dislikes. He prefers the term postmodern, noting that although he has drawn on textures and techniques of composers like Mr. Reich, ‘what was important was not the process as much as the expressive use of it.’”

Of course, drawing on minimalist techniques for the sake of their expressiveness while not worrying too much about the techniques for their own sake is practically the definition of postminimalism.  Certainly he’s out there on the neoromantic end of postminimalism along with Adams and Part, but  postminimalist is a perfectly reasonable label, and postmodern is hopelessly broad.  It’s a good thing his music is so good that it can speak for itself, because the poor guy is obviously in denial.

All of this reminds me that I still owe you people the next installment of my “What The Heck Is Postminimalism” series.  Soon.  Really.  Any day now.  Really.

2 Responses to “Stop, Hey, What’s That Sound”
  1. david toub says:

    I’ve loved Marshall’s music for over two decades, but apart from some parts of The Fragility Cycles, I’m not sure I ever thought of him as a minimalist composer. And I had never even heard the term “postminimalist” until Kyle Gann described my music as such, and I figure if Kyle says it, there must be something to it. But I am not a big fan of classifications, since it is a bit limiting, although we all engage in classifying things since that forms a common reference point.

    I would consider postminimalism to include music that uses repetitive structures, but in a way that is not strictly process music. But by that definition, a lot of Adams, and even recent Reich and Glass, would fall into this category.

  2. “But by that definition, a lot of Adams, and even recent Reich and Glass, would fall into this category.”

    Yep. That’s what I would claim, anyway. William Duckworth’s “Time Curve Preludes” is often considered the first true postminimalist piece, but I would say that something like Music for 18 Musicians is a key transitional work between Minimalism and postminimalism, with one foot firmly in each camp. Our temptation to assign one category label to a composer’s career makes us want to call Reich and Glass Minimalists, but I think they had both moved into postminimalist periods by the 80s. Adams is, I think, pretty clearly a post-minimalist. I’m not sure how controversial those claims might or might not be, but I figure if I shout loudly enough there are few enough experts that I might just get my way :)