Friday, January 31, 2014

Enough names to go around?

I've admired the work of the Amsterdam-based new music ensemble, Trio Scordatura, which has specialized in music with alternative tunings since 2006.  Now, I've just read a review at the New Music Box of a Texan violin and viola twosome, Duo Scordatura.  Before I clicked on the review, I expected to find that some 2/3 of the Amsterdam trio had done a recording absent either a voice, viola or keyboard instrument.  Given the lack of overlap in repertoire and physical distances between the groups, I don't expect that the two groups are much likely to be competing for exactly the same market segments for concerts, but recordings and online items do circulate widely and live long and there ought to be enough interesting and useful names to go around, so start-up groups ought to do a little due diligence to avoid such similarities. When the market stakes are higher, this name business can get cutthroat (like the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain / United Kingdom Ukelele Orchestra fracas) but I think the New Music World is both small enough and kind enough that we could get along with some more respect for others' names. Kraig Grady, for example, has worked as an ambassador for the music of the (possibly imaginary) island state of Anaphoria for decades now, with postings in both the US and in Australia, in numerous solo and ensemble configurations, often with film or shadow theatre;  however, another new music group established itself in Chicago in 2008 with a potentially confusing name, the Ensemble Anaphora.  Not quite the same word (the first is a medical term, the second literary/linguistic, but I suspect both are rooted in the Greek anapherein, to bring back or to carry) but close enough to potentially confuse (I hit upon the later Chicagoan website while trying to remember the other's URL.)   Interesting and exciting work comes from both Anaphoria and Anaphora, and it'd be nice for each to have a more distinctive name.

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