05. December 2009 · Comments Off on From Sounds & Fury · Categories: Links, Videos

OK, Who The Hell Is Gavin Bryars?

And why have we never heard even so much as his name before, much less any of his music? The questions are, of course, rhetorical as it’s quite clear why he and his music have never before been within the scope of our radar, insular, reactionary old fogey that we are. The music is quite beautiful, mostly darkly beautiful from what little we’ve heard, and anything but starkly modern or postmodern (what we’ve heard so far is all thoroughly tonal), and perhaps that’s the reason we’ve seen no mention anywhere of his music or even his name even though his discography is quite extensive.
A lousy reason (if indeed that’s the reason) for critical disregard of his work, we think.

I read it here. A. C. Douglas, of Sounds & Fury, has very strong opinions, as you’ll see if you check out his blog. (So do a few conductors I read, and I confess I’m shocked by their very opinionated and frequently harsh words for orchestras or musicians … seems like they could lose work. But what do I know?) I don’t know if A. C. Douglas is a musician. I only know he (?) writes about music. I wish his bio said more! (Hint, hint.)

I’ve been listening to Bryars for quite some time. Mind you, I don’t listen a lot. I probably listen to less music than many since I’m often performing and sometimes I need to hear (nearly) nothing. (I write the nearly because, now that I have tinnitus, I can no longer enjoy silence as I used to. Sad.) But I read about Bryars quite some time ago, was intrigued, and purchased some recordings. So someone, somewhere, did write about him. It must have been in one of the music magazines I’ve subscribed to. (I tend to subscribe for a year and realize I don’t read enough of that mag to warrant the expense. Then, a few years later, I’ll fall for another one, and decide the same thing. Go figure.)

Here are a few of his works:

I’m going to guess I won’t find any cheerful Advent or Christmas music by this man. Ya think?

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