Friday, November 12, 2010

MB on TV

Composer Laura Karpman has completed the late Robert Hilferty's Milton Babbitt: Portrait of a Serial Composer video documentary. It's viewable on line here. It nicely ties in all of the odd connections that make Babbitt such an improbable and interesting figure — from his childhood in Jackson, Miss., to Princeton and the merry old RCA Synthesizer, to teaching Stephen Sondheim or Stanley Jordan — and, with the old battle lines within the East coast avant-garde somewhat forgotten, I think it's become much easier to separate Babbitt's music from that of his camp followers and recognize how good he is when he's at the top of his game, which, in his case, is talking about music as well as musicking proper. BTW, the best parts of the video, for me, are of Babbitt holding forth before family and friends in a Chinese restaurant; it's in these moments that the film really becomes something close to ethnographic film recording a micro-musical culture that is quite exotic to my own (as a Californian, the East coast Chinese restaurant is something very different from the Californian Chinese restaurant, but that's something for quite another blog item.)

2 comments:

Justin said...

This link seems to (for me at least) require a password. Any ideas?

Stefan Kac said...

It seems to have migrated over to YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf_Zfpq3gqk