Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Keeping new music new

If the level of activity in the new music blogoplan is significant, there's not much in the new music world to write home about these days. In the 50s, 60s, 70s, there was excitement as each precious bit of information on the new music scene arrived. Publications and recordings were rare, communications were slow, but the sensation that something new was going on was real, and intellectual and emotional engagement - whether of support or controversy -- were lively. (In high school, in the seventies, I once actually rode my bike thirty miles to UCRiverside and thirty miles back home in order to read Soundings. I used to copy out whole scores by hand from libraries because I couldn't afford photocpies). But now that so much material is out there and readily available, not much seems new and less inspires passions of any sort.

If the new music blogoplan is going to challenge this state of affairs -- and it should because there is exciting, demanding, and moving work out there that should be better known -- then we've got to up the ante a bit. There have got to be a couple of new music blogs where there is really actually something new to read every day and the blog as a whole takes a clear posture towards the world and its need for new music. This probably means a group blog in which each contributor commits to a regular flow of words. The composers forum at Sequenza 21, perhaps, is the closest to the right track, but I'd like a bit more direction in terms of the community of writers and the pace of articles.


paul bailey said...


i highly agree, although you were lucky to be around when something exciting was happening. when i discovered this music in the late 80's i was amazed and confused, it was the first art music that spoke to me, but where was something like it now? since then i end up retreating deep into history for that feeling. right now i am studying josquin's requiem motet for ockeghem. so far its the most exciting thing this year.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the challenge is that the current world of contemporary art music is so vast, particularly coupled with the vast canon of western music literature of the past. Where to begin? Who to explore? These are the questions that go through my mind when i see a long list of contributing composers...it's easy to dabble, but difficult to digest, i suppose. My own feeble attempt is to start by exploring more in depth the works of composers closest to my spheres of influence (my school, my colleagues, my fellow alumni, etc...) and then gradually work my way out to peripheral (and serendipitous) connections. Granted, the work of the 50’s – 70’s was exciting, but I would propose that our current age is even more dynamic and infused with possibilities!
Keep up the great posts!