You know, he’s not my favoritest composer or anything, and, yeah, everyone should get more performances.  But I have this slight–but nagging–bafflement as to why Jacob Druckman’s music doesn’t get more performances.  My puzzlement was provoked just the other day as Brangle 3 shuffled onto my iPod.  What a smashing piece!  And same with Counterpoise.  These are big, rock’em sock’em orchestra pieces that, though aggressive, stand a chance with the sort of audiences who are game for the Rite or some Berg.  Maybe Druckman’s getting some play elsewhere and my head is just in the sand.  But how about some good ole’ fashioned drum beating for those whose music’s not getting due play.  Huh?

8 Responses to “Whither Jacob Druckman?”
  1. Steve Layton says:

    Sure, but the list is loooong, David… My all-time favorite Druckman is the maybe-more-atypical “Animus II” for soprano, percussion and tape. Really beautiful piece:

  2. His marimba solo “Reflections on the Nature of Water” is quite frequently played on more advanced college recitals.

  3. I have always felt the same way Dan. I hope that Druckman gets more attention in the future, the music deserves it. Check out “Other Voices” for Brass Quintet, amazing.

  4. I’ve always liked his music, although I think his ‘belligerence’ seems to be a little out of fashion now it seems. Elsie won’t let me play too much of it. ;) He’s got a very recognizable style, especially when his sound masses do a denouement. Those weird muted winds wahwahing quietly… crack me up. He’s one of the few 20th century composers that actually had a musical sense of humor.

    I got to do an electronic master class with him and take him around LSU when I was a student. Cool guy… we’d stop and listen to the mockingbirds – and there are a lot of mockingbirds in Baton Rouge!

    Elsie used to be the assistant for a millionaire art collector and Mr. Druckman would come by and have drink, etc. at all hours of the day and discuss music.

    Here’s a free recording on the web that’ll give anybody a good feel for both sides of Druckman.

  5. CB says:

    I’m currently working on/studying “Come Round” (for Lunaire sextet) and “Reflections on the Nature of Water.” Great pieces.

    Eighth Blackbird has played both in the past – Come Round is recorded on the their album “Round Nut Tool” and Matthew Duvall put on an intriguing performance of “Reflections” (with puppets!). So there are still high-profile groups that champion his work.

  6. schadenfreude says:

    Embellishment…hyperbole. Color for its own sake – and yet not compelling. Well – made like an abstract Spielberg movie. Gone with the desperation that produced it.”Theatrical” elements falling dully into one of two categories: “scary” or “funny”. Understatement non – existent. One of the few composers who makes me thank God for Academic Minimalism’s take-over – at least there, what you hear is what you get. As opposed to Orchestation and overly indicated “High Points” masking an overdetermined, flimsy structure.

  7. Chip Clark says:

    schadenfreude – I could not disagree more.

    The Academic world has pushed Classical Music into producing some of the most irritating noise imaginable – and they still find way to produce more.

    The classical world is suffering because the general perception of “new” music is unlistenable and so crowds don’t tend to go to new music concerts – leaving new composers (such as myself) struggling to find an audience.

    And it is NOT color for it’s own sake. Mussagorsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is a lovely piano piece, Ravel’s orchestration takes it to a new level. It would be like looking at Monet’s Water Lillies in black and white – it just wouldn’t have the same effect.

  8. Andrew Frank says:

    I was a student of Druckman from 1964-67 at Bard College. He was a fine teacher of counterpoint and composition, very patient and clearly loved what he was teaching. I admire some of his compositions immensely: Other Voices for Brass Quintet, String Quartets Nos. 2-3, the orchestral works Windows, Aureole, and Brangle, a few others. Other Voices and Aureole are perfect pieces, colorful, dramatic, intimate, beautiful. It is a shame that he’s not performed more often. Still, his best music is commercially recorded and all currently available.