Friday, March 14, 2014
J is for Jeremiad
A brief Jeremiad: Ron Silliman: "Perhaps the most significant power move that the SoQ [School of Quietude] makes is to render itself the unmarked case in literature..." Music, too, has its SoQ and the problem is not with the quietist music in itself but rather that its presence is so loud and resource-consuming that it excludes the possibility of alternatives getting heard. The marinalsopification of contemporary concert music is the worst example of this form of musical power politics at work with a kind of professionalization substituting for invention, creating, as the default setting for new music, a self-sustaining, well-behaved reproductive repertoire by the small caste who are then permitted to rotate the available orchestral commissions and residencies among themselves. For example: Lou Harrison is surely turning over in his grave at the exclusion of experimentalists from the Cabrillo Festival with the infernal Catch-22 of an excuse that because they haven't had "enough" experience writing for orchestra (meaning, writing for orchestra within the constraints of a particular form of orchestral identity and practice) they aren't invited to write for orchestra and so are never able to get that experience so that they could actually be able to jump onto the hamster wheel of writing more boring approximations of professional music for more bored orchestras and shake it around and of its axis for a bit. End Jeremiad.