A few nicely surprising identifications, but if the combined brainpower of the S21 crowd only recognized two-thirds of the 36 faces, seems — what with the long, cold and snowy holidays coming up — a little catching up on any of these diverse and worthwhile composers would be time well-spent:

1. Maryanne Amacher  2. Gerald Barry  3. Dennis Báthory-Kitsz

4. David Behrman  5. Earle Brown  6. Allison Cameron

7. Maria de Alvear  8. Francis Dhomont  9. Allain Gaussin

10. Francisco Guerrero-Marin  11. Kamran Ince  12. Iván Naranjo

13. Alphonse Izzo  14. Monique Jean  15. Camille Kerger

16. Christina Kubisch  17. Paul Lansky  18. Mario Lavista

19. Daniel Lentz  20. Stanley Lunetta  21. Marc Mellits

22. Gilberto Mendes  23. John Howell Morrison  24. Gráinne Mulvey

25. Sarah Peebles  26. Christopher Penrose  27. Eliane Radigue

28. John Rea  29. Marga Richter  30. Linda Catlin Smith

31. Yasunao Tone  32. Lois V. Vierk  33. María Cecilia Villanueva

34. Claude Vivier  35. James Wood  36. Isang Yun

Why these, here and now? Just as with the monoliths, as soon as you dig them up and fly to Jupiter, they’re not nearly as exciting… I happen to have a folder with all kinds of composer portraits, that I attach to the I.D. tags of MP3s in my collection. I like to put a face on the person behind the piece, to take a little time to not just know the music but the living, breathing person as well. These were just a few, chosen almost at random, of the folks I listen to with some regularity, and don’t see why you shouldn’t too.

As to the fabulous 4-CD prize, technically Kyle Gann got the most, but that’s almost too easy for our resident vetran of the trenches. David Toub wins in the creatively weird category, hands down!… But the real award should end up with John “Sparky” Prokop, for getting almost as many as Mr. Gann, and showing a certain depth and breadth in who he was able to pick out. So Sparky, head to my website and find the email address at the bottom of most any page, send me a little note & I’ll be sending YOU a Cage-feast for your holiday repast.

12 Responses to “The Oracle Speaks…”
  1. Tom DePlonty says:


  2. Steve Layton says:

    Yes, Tom? Is there some problem?…

    How I can claim all Mr. DePlonty’s skill and acumen for one Sparky Prokop? … Ha! The true mystery is revealed! THAT is the mystery of the monoliths!… Isn’t it great to be kind and make all the rules?… or in this case a Gaddafi?…

    And the practical joke of the monoliths as well… Now that the spell of confusion is broken, we return the rightful second-place-becomes-first-place crown to Mr. DePlonty, a special “Sparky Prize” to Mr. Prokop for gamely playing spoiler, a virtual-yet-very-cool prize to Mr. Toub for no reason other than his happily skewed thought processes, and still no prize at all to Mr. Gann, since he’s juyst too good at this kind of thing. ;-)

  3. Sparky P. says:

    Really? Me?

    How did I become the winner of this? I only answered one item (and that was already guessed just as soon as I pressed the submit button). Besides, I am going to decline the prize, as I do already have a copy of the set. But I do thank you all for the recognition.

    I am though still playing on Tom Myron’s “Name That Tune”.

  4. Steve Layton says:

    Sparky, you (along with Mr. DePlonty discreetly aheming in the background) question the unfailing wisdom of the Oracle? Like any good divine Mysterium (and most good compositions), the infallability is in its impenetrability.

    (It also helps to know that, way back in my youth, a friend and I used to sit around the house and play “cards”. Which game? None, just “cards”. The first rule started with the first card, and evolved from there. We each could only win or lose momentarily; impasses and disasters called down some deus ex machina, which only led to more impasse and disaster. …Hey, it killed the half-hour before the Tonight Show…)

  5. Kyle Gann says:

    Since I get a lot more free CDs than I do compliments, I’d rather have the compliment than the CD, though I confess there’s something uncomfortably karmic-feeling about the result. [Insert shoulder-shrugging smiley emoticon here.]

  6. Steve Layton says:

    Compliments? You want compliments? That’s easy… Alex’s The Rest is Noise does what it does beautifully; but if I were teaching, Kyle’s American Music in the Twentieth Century is still the essential book I’d want my students to own.

  7. So Kyle Gann walks into a bar, sits down, and orders a glass of scotch. The bar is pretty empty except for a couple of other patrons slumped over their own drinks (Kyle, as an academic, can afford to get away from the office and drink in the middle of the afternoon).

    As he’s sitting there, he hears a voice say “Kyle, you rock!” Kyle looks around for the speaker, but the bartender is at the other end of the bar, and nobody else is looking at him. Figuring that it was just his overactive imagination, he returns to his drink. But a few moments later the voice says “Your writings in the Village Voice changed my life!” Kyle asks the guy sitting a few seats to the right if he had said anything, but the patron simply grunts and waves him away, mumbling something about how his mistress just left him and he just wants to be left alone.

    Kyle is getting confused and concerned, wondering if maybe he’s developing a case of schizophrenia in his old age. (Although that doesn’t make a lot of sense–he always imagined that the voices would be telling him to Kill, or to take up Total Serialism.) And then the voice returns “And your beard is very dashing, too!”

    Truly worried now, Kyle hails the bartender and asks “am I going crazy, or is somebody talking to me? I keep hearing this voice saying very nice things, but I can’t figure out who it is!”

    The bartender smiles and says “It’s the peanuts — they’re complimentary.”

  8. Cary Boyce says:

    I think Kyle drinks Tequila. Perhaps the inspiration for some fine music, and some terrific pontifications–but we’ll have to ask him.

  9. Kyle Gann says:

    Now I think I’ve entered the Twilight Zone. And I feel certain that Galen’s joke originally entered the world with someone else’s name where mine is. Maybe Allain Gaussin?Francisco Guerrero-Marin? Allison Cameron?

  10. I heard it on one of the Prarie Home Companion annual joke shows several years ago, and I think it was just “a guy walks into a bar and orders a beer.” I elaborated it for the current circumstances.

  11. Mindy says:

    I only recognized Isang Yun. I love his Violin Concerto a lot, although I’ve heard it performing only once so far.

    It’s interesting that Berio’s picture was not included. I was expecting to see his picture there since I am so looking forward to his Sequenza performance by the New York Phil. (http://nyphil.org/concertsTicks/dayOfBerio.cfm)

    Maybe because he is so “polular” in terms of his picture? LoL