Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sailing Past Lachenmann: Why I'm Ecstatic

I may slouch along no longer.  The Ecstatic Music Festival, several concerts of which I had the good fortune to attend, has ended, and Helmut Lachenmann, who provided the frame for my “Slouching” series, recently received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Contemporary Music, with 400,000 Euros in prize money attached:
The jury singled out the importance of his creative works, which “based on an intimate knowledge of the musical past, have enlarged the world of sounds during the last fifty years in a way unmatched by any other contemporary composer."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Minivan, Myself

My friend Jan hopped in my car after I moved some stray schoolbooks from her seat and asked, "What are you going to do when your minivan dies?" Luckily, it only has 93,000 miles on it, so I hope I have a few more good years left with it. Yes, that's right, I like, no LOVE, my minivan!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dali for the Ears: The Sound World of Derek Piotr

The first I knew of Derek Piotr was his response to a post.  I’d commented about Björk's remark that minimalism was her “abyss.”  I hadn’t seen Piotr's name before, so, of course, I had to look him up.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Testing 1,2,3. . .

The month of March means more than the start of training for spring sports and plans for the prom for public schools in the US. It also marks the season of standardized testing - an enormously important event for school district administrators. Under the terms of the federal No Child Left Behind act, states must set measurable goals for all public school students and then assess those students, in order to receive federal funding.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Slouching Toward Lachenmann: Transfiguring the Night

The only person who can help poor Schoenberg now is a psychiatrist.
-Richard Strauss

"You're a slouch not to like it," he said to me one day.  "Studying ordered relationships is ultimately the best there is.  Order is everything."
-Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus

When I was in high school, the curriculum included a mandatory music appreciation class.  In addition to being mandatory, the class marshaled all the worst features of classroom instruction to make its case:  a huge amphitheater of a classroom, an otherworldly teacher who wasn’t able to communicate his love of music to the class, and an approach of pure lecture with the odd bit of listening thrown in.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oscar's Best Picture "Lasts"

In my previous post, I wrote about Ocar’s Best Picture Firsts. Now that the Academy Awards have come and gone and the Oscar went to 2011’s Best Picture – yes, the “King’s Speech,” Raining Acorns thought it would be a good idea to follow that post with a list of “lasts” in the same vein. Lest we forget, these are the things that we won’t be seeing again when the Best Picture is awarded in the future: