Sunday, May 17, 2009

La Disparition

Some minor blogkeeping:  There have been about 1200 posts here.  Some of them have been deleted, but most of them are still available in the standard blogspot archive format, indexed in the sidebar.  About half of the entries have been tagged by subject.   I have not downloaded archival copies of any of this for myself, and am not even sure if there's a good way to do it.  

But I'm not even sure that I would actually want to keep such an archive.  These items are essentially journal entries by a working composer.   In the interest of helping New Music to have a more lively presence online,  I have made these writings public.  I would have written many if not most of them anyway (in particular, I'd like to have some record for my children to have, if they should later have any curiosity about why Dad made such odd music),  but the blog format has provided a format which encourages some useful discipline, encouraging one to write at a more regular rhythm and keeping it dressed up enough for others to read, while at the same time having neither the formal constraints and length of a journal article nor the forced brevity of a twitter.  The items here have also been written to some compositional constraints that are related to my music: I use chance procedures to determine the timing, length, and, sometimes, topic of each post.  In many cases, formal or vocabulary controls have been applied, sometimes fairly elaborate games or experiments have been attempted, but not as often as I would have liked.

While I cannot say that I have personally received any commissions or performances as a result of this blog,  I believe that the blog has been useful to the New Music community in a few ways. The first has been in contributing to some discussions of musical politics and the composition competition system in particular.  The other is the online anthology of 15 brief piano pieces, A WINTER ALBUM, here.  (A SPRING ALBUM, of percussion pieces, is still taking entries, and I will soon announce a similar project for melodica and melodica ensemble).

1200 posts over four and a half years is probably enough, if not too much, verbosity for a mid-career composer of modest reputation and ambitions.    Eventually, I will just stop and delete these pages without much ado, retiring to my orchids, bon-bons, and philately*, but for the moment, I'll keep at it, because, on the one hand, it does seem to complement my composing well,  pushing it further along into interesting areas of inquiry and, on the other hand, New Musicland online remains far too quiet.   In the end, I'm blogging because not enough other — and especialy those more verbally gifted — composers are doing it.  If we want our music to be a lively presence in the world, we have to let the world know that our work is deep, lively and available and is full of sounds and ideas to which attention is well worth paying.  Anything less conveys the impression that we do not believe this ourselves to be true.

That said,  June 2009 will be requests month.  What would you like to read about here?


*No, I don't really have interests in either orchids or philately.  As Sen. Claghorn said, it's a joke, son.


Dan said...

I very much enjoy your blog. Not many composers, or even musicians, are able to write with such wit and clarity about a subject I find so fascinating. So I for one hope you keep it up.

I'd like to read your opinions about Radulescu (I found one slightly critical post of yours somewhere else). But lately I've been immersing myself in his music, and quite enjoying it, but can't make any sense of what he himself wrote about it.


sfmike said...

Dane Rudhyar, the Coachella Valley, and wizardry/witchcraft in music, please. All from a skeptical point of view, of course. These are my requests.