Monday, July 07, 2008

Eastman Scores Online; Dr. Wolf Gripes About Musicology Again

The fine composer Mary-Jane Leach has done extra service to the music world in gathering the scattered remains of the composer Julius Eastman. In addition to gathering together a landmark collection of recordings, she has now placed a number of scores (or surviving score fragments) online, here. I have a few friends who studied with Eastman, and the scores are something of a surprise to look at, as Eastman had a reputation for insisting that his students prepare meticulous scores, millimeter exact and picayune in detail, a manuscript aesthetic different from that of the scores in this online collection. Many thanks are due to Mary-Jane Leach!

Has anyone else noticed how slow musicologists have been about such urgent matters? Not unlike Leach's effort with the Eastman Nachlass, it took a consortium of composers to put together a usable edition of the works of Johanna Beyer (here, at Frog Peak Music). A few other friends have recently been trusted with the complete unpublished works of colleagues. Contemporary musicology, having traveled -- and not for altogether bad reasons -- away from the production of authoritative editions and the production of authoritative rules for historical performance practice has apparently settled into a corner of cultural studies with little time or resources for producing editions of composers who are still below the canon-sensing radar. Oh well, it's not as if we have other things to do...

1 comment:

Office of the Cultural Liaisons said...

for better or worse, as there are more and more people doing music, the time spent dealing with the dead, regardless of their worth, will become less and less i am afraid.
the only advantage of this as maybe those of worth might get more recognition while alive. or maybe only those alive will be recognized. This has it own downfalls.

BTW. have the Partch scores ever really come out? i mean they are just manuscripts