Classical Music Buzz > BOOM'S DUNGEON
BOOM'S DUNGEON
Boom
Much of what is in this blog is related (sometimes only tangentially) to art music. Occasionally I use insensitive language in referring to various arrogant or incompetent assholes who managed to get on my nerves. If you're squeamish about such language, then stay away from this blog. To contact me, use boomboomsky at gmail dot com.
289 Entries
With music, we must learn what to listen for—or, indeed, what not to listen for. After a 1964 concert in Berlin of Xenakis’s music in the 1950s, the great Nadia Boulanger ... said to the composer in her usual forthright, no-nonsense manner: “Xenakis, you don’t know how to develop your themes!” “What themes?” he replied reasonably. CHARLES ROSEN, Freedom and the Arts, Harvard U. Press, p.237
29 days ago |
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[The music is] bizarre ... melodically as well as harmonically, and avoids natural flow ...  [Vocal writing] is overladen with surfeit of harmonies ... and tricky intervals which are often very hard for singers to remember and intone.  For ... melody we have searched in vain; nor have we even found any varieties of form, indicating an original fancy at work...  All seems worn and
2 months ago |
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... for me a Webern bagatelle is much more subversive and politically significant than all those requiems, cantatas and oratorios dedicated to the Holocaust, to 9/11 or to oppression in the Third World using depressive clusters, aggressive noises, threatening percussion orgies and sad nostalgic quotations. HELMUT LACHENMANN, "Sound Structures, Transformations, and Broken Magic: An Interview
2 months ago |
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My bottomless contempt for commercial recordings of art music is well documented in this blog.  Yet even I would not have believed that this level of incompetence could be found in a CD released by one of the oldest and biggest classical labels, EMI.      Here are the last 12 seconds of the piano solo from the Siciliano of Bach's Keyboard Concerto BWV 1053, recorded (digitally!) in the late
2 months ago |
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I do like Helmut Lachenmann, for instance. His are noisy little pieces that are very cleverly done. Elliott Carter, 30 May 2012.Laura Emmery, "An American Modernist: Teatime with Elliott Carter", Tempo 67, 2013. ________________________________ Here is one such "noisy little piece", Tableau for Orchestra (1988), in live recordings by the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle (February 2015,
3 months ago |
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Existential dread can take many forms, but none more potent than when you realize how easily a once revolutionary musical work can be transformed into a typical Liberace piece.  I would never have believed such a catastrophic devaluation of artistic stature were possible had I not come across this live recording of Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, performed in Franz Liszt's piano
4 months ago |
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... chaotic, unpredictable... There are no themes and no 'form'. David Schiff on Elliott Carter's Partita for Orchestra (1993), The Music of Elliott Carter, 2nd ed., Cornell U. Press, 1998, p.318. ___________________________________________________ Musicologists... the forensic pathologists of music who dissect musical works, examine the innards, and describe their findings in reports the
5 months ago |
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The shadow of Alban Berg's Violin Concerto looms large over Richard Dünser's 1993 work in the same genre, as do (to a lesser extent) the shadows of Schoenberg (Five Orchestral Pieces Op.16), Webern (Im Sommerwind), and possibly even Bernard Hermann (the score for Vertigo).  This, in itself, would not be an aesthetic liability had Dünser filtered his multitude of influences and references into a work stamped with a distinct and interesting musical personality.  (After all,  Chopin's two piano concertos are no less stylistically plagiaristic of the earlier concertos by Hummel and Kalkbrenner.)  Alas, Dünser's concerto offers little more than 24 minutes of continuous highly chromatic (and vaguely minor key) 'rhapsodic musings', supported by orchestral writing as bland and impersonal as if lifted from a typical 'old-school' film score. But then what else could one expect from a composer whose personal statement announces to the world that his music (not him!) "wants ... to achieve resonance and social relevance" and is the result of "compositional engineering"?  (Where the fuck do talentless artists learn to mask their creative impotence with nauseatingly vacuous and politically correct language?)
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5 months ago |
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I'm sure you've read about occasions when a great composer's work was performed by his contemporary fellow composer of comparable stature who also happened to be a distinguished musician.  Ever wondered what it would be like to hear such performances?  Vivaldi concertos played by Bach (in transcriptions for organ)?  Mozart's D minor piano concerto played by the young Beethoven?  How about
6 months ago |
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In the middle of one his stand-up acts, the American comedian Steven Wright - whose onstage persona is by turns morose, dejected, or depressed - suddenly took a deep breath and said very slowly, very darkly, and with a deep sigh: I am soooo excited...  That was funny and the joke took all of two seconds. Recently I was reminded of Steven Wright by what I thought (for a moment) was a similar
7 months ago |
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