I used to play his Mountain Songs for flute and guitar:
Al paño fino, en la tienda, una mancha le cayó; Por menos precio se vende, Porque perdió su valor. ¡Ay!
On the fine cloth in the store a stain has fallen; It sells at a lesser price, because it has lost its value. Alas!
You might imagine how much I'm looking forward to their performance
of my Songs from the Poets!
I write about music because I write about life. The two things are intrinsically meshed with each other and I hope it will be evident in each piece I write that my relationship with music is a very personal one. I welcome you into this part of my world, into the space where I hope I can share my sacred relationship with music and all the musical things I believe with you.This kind of stuff is ok, sure. It's what used to appear in the teen-pop mags like RAVE or TOP-BOYS or Creem or Teen-Beat or Crawdaddy and hundreds of others. It was all about the cool of naming the new names who were cool because they were new. The quote above, by the way, goes on for much longer than you would think in exactly the same vein. For the life of me all I can visualize is Michele, writhing around on her bed, listening to her iPod on shuffle, giggling and touching herself. That's the kind of activity that produces this kind of prose.
What do I believe?
I believe Queens of the Stone Age are the best rock band around. I believe in 80s west coast punk. I believe 80s east coast hardcore is better than 80s east coast straight edge, but not by much. I believe Incubus was a better band before Make Yourself, that John Darnielle is the greatest storyteller in music and that people just don’t understand My Chemical Romance. I believe in remembering my roots and dragging out my Who, Doors and Zeppelin albums every once in a while. I believe in old, scratchy vinyl and the passion of a cassette mix tape. I believe music critics should be more honest which is why I will tell you how much I love boy bands and pop music. I believe that everyone has a skeleton in their musical closet that looks like Korn and they should let that closet door hang open once in while. I believe “Mmmbop” is the single greatest pop song ever made.
The main attention of the Soviet composer must be directed towards the victorious progressive principles of reality, towards all that is heroic, bright and beautiful. This distinguishes the spiritual world of Soviet man and must be embodied in musical images of beauty and strength. Socialist realism demands an implacable struggle against the folk-negating modernist directions that are typical of the decay of contemporary bourgeois art, against subservience and servility towards modern bourgeois culture.The thing to understand here is that, despite claims in a famous book by Volkov, Shostakovich was in no sense a dissident. He described himself as "Stalin's monkey". By Stalin's time there were no more dissidents; they were long since shot or sent off to labor camp. They were not indulged. No-one, no matter how talented an artist, spoke truth to power in Stalin's Russia. So when, a few months after withdrawing his Symphony No. 4, Shostakovich began composition of a new symphony, his aim was to survive, to be accepted back into the good graces of the regime.
From the very first moment of the opera the listener is flabbergasted by the deliberately dissonant, muddled stream of sounds. Snatches of melody, embryos of a musical phrase drown, struggle free and disappear again in the din, the grinding, the squealing.This kind of music was condemned as 'coarse naturalism' or 'formalism' whereas the Soviet masses were assumed to demand a genuine, simple, accessible musical language: what became known as socialist realism. This editorial was followed by another, condemning Shostakovich's ballet The Limpid Stream. For Shostakovich, until this moment the golden child of Soviet music, things would never be the same. Now he was cast as a pernicious purveyor of cultural depravity.
|Shostakovich, age 19|
I do not write for posterity--in any case, the outlook for that is somewhat uncertain. I write music, now, in Aldeburgh, for people living there, and further afield, indeed for anyone who cares to play it or listen to it. But my music now has its roots in where I live and work.On the other side, attacking Britten and praising Carter, was Stravinsky (or his ghost-writer, Robert Craft) who sneered at Britten, saying "nothing fails like success". Carter's music, on the other hand, was guaranteed to be historically important because it was revolutionary. Almost impossible to play, with a new metronome mark every measure, harmonically inscrutable and so complex that only a small circle of the enlightened could even hope to understand it, it was music whose role was the very opposite of Britten's: nothing succeeds like failure (to communicate)!
Thanks to the initiative of Boulez and Stockhausen [Webern's aesthetic] had become institutionalized as official musical thinking whose maxims the body of lesser mortals now had to put into practice with religious devotion, esprit de corps and slavish obedience...Henze lived most of his life in Italy, where he found the climate, especially politically, more to his taste. He was a radical egalitarian in some ways, both appreciating the music of the Rolling Stones and writing in an unashamedly tonal style. He was also sympathetic to leftist causes and had attitudes towards the composer's role that foreshadow post-modernism.