10. July 2008 · 1 comment · Categories: Links

When I put up this blog entry I wasn’t saying I hate all new music, and reading this which is about as harsh as can be from my very quick skimming (yeah, I’m skimming again … sorry!) some might think I’m in his camp.

Not so.

But I will tell you what I don’t particularly like to play. If I’m playing a piece that is so random I could play everything wrong and no one would know (including the composer!) I am bothered. If I’m playing a piece that is best played on your little computer with that lovely oboe sound (hah!) I am bothered. If a composer write things that are simply impossible on an oboe and doesn’t understand that, I am bothered.

I know that John Cage wrote those “you can play or not — you choose” sorts of things. And good for him. But that was a while ago, and I just don’t need more of that.


Although … hmmm … the work we played said we could play any instruments we wanted. Jeepers! I should have put in a few extra instruments and received the extra pay, eh? 😉

Anyway, I just don’t want to be lumped in with someone who wants to toss it all out. I just want to toss out what I want to toss out.

Doesn’t that seem fair and reasonable?

Oh … and I want the option of changing my mind a few years down the line. Because. You know. Sometimes music that we thought was unplayable becomes playable. And sometimes music we thought was disgusting becomes incredible. And sometimes the music we thought was the best thing ever written becomes … oh dear! … rotten.

Funny how that happens. 🙂

PS Please don’t hate me.

1 Comment

  1. I remember back when I was trying to be an assistant professor of music. A certain faculty composer wrote lots of “new music” that I’d participate in. Some I liked, but I was always skeptical of this composer’s tendency to use dynamics like “ALAP” (As Loud As Possible). Several times, he’d ask for louder flute (for example, when the part was low-register flute, masked by loud middle brass). I’d tell him that IS as loud as possible. His response would be “try it on piccolo”. He’d also notate tempos like AFAP. I always interpreted that to mean “as fast as I can play it and still make all the notes work”). He always meant faster than that.

    I hated that stuff, because it told me that he had no clear aural image of the sounds he was writing.

    I believe it was Kent Kennan who commented very wisely that, if you can hear the sound very clearly and precisely in your mind, then it’s probably playable. Otherwise…?