Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reinhard Oehlschlägel (1936-2014)

Very sad to note the passing today of the music journalist Reinhard Oehlschlägel.  Long-time editor for new music at Deutschlandfunk and founder, publisher, and editor, with his partner, Gisela Gronemeyer, of MusikTexte, a quarterly journal now in its 31st year and on its 140th issue and still published from their rambling apartment in Cologne in stubborn and cheerful independence. Trained as music educator and then a journeyman journalist on the Feuilleton pages of the FAZ in the lively years of Frankfurt's Adornovian 1960s, Reinhard was one of the leaders of the rebellion at Darmstadt in the early 70s, and was a longtime friend of American experimental music in Germany.  (He commissioned my wife Christina and I to translate N.O. Brown's lecture on John Cage, a project which involved translating large swathes of Finnegans Wake, and which paid a month's rent in our first, 22-square-meter apartment.) He was a joy to talk with, argue with (we would go on for hours about the paradoxes of the institutional avant garde), and a presence who will be missed.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Unfinished pieces (1)

Some pieces just don't seem to get finished. For example,  I've been working on a piece with the title SAWING A GRAND PIANO IN HALF.  Two problems have arisen in trying to finish this piece.  The first is a purely compositional — indeed, a formal — question:  Should the sawing be done beginning with the treble side or with the bass side?   The second question is one of stage magic mechanics:  Once sawn in half, severing all wires, how does the piano appear to be instantly reassembled and playable without the use of smoke, mirrors or a second piano?  

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

David Feldman: Excavation

Computer imagery and music by David Victor Feldman, composed in Postscript with modest tweaking using GIMP and Audacity. With its ergodic character, I think this would make marvelous audio-visual wallpaper for a well-chosen space, perhaps one used primarily in transit.