Saturday, May 19, 2012

From a Diary: I:xxvi

There is some confusion between the radical music's minimal impulse — the elimination of distractions — and austerity.  When the PR Department at Nonesuch records effectively recuperated and coopted the label "minimalism" (dropping La Monte Young out of the Young, Riley, Reich & Glass quartet and replacing Young with a more or less conventionally tonal composer from their own stable, John Adams) the notion of eliminating distractions in order to create a frame within which ever more layers of rich acoustical detail could be heard, a form of austerity —when not acoustical poverty — was promoted.  It is tempting to identify this with the current form of economic austerity — at the cost of diversity and growth — that is widely promoted these days, particularly (but not only) by the political right.

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