Pithy Title Goes Here

From the New York Times, a nice article about new music:

A Night of Collaboration and Energetic Activity

I’m hoping for pithy generalizations!

You can measure a new-music group’s success by the composers it commissions.


You can measure a new music group’s success that way. (Your mom can measure…but I digress.)

One could also measure a new music group’s success via number of concerts performed, records sold, attendance, or, perhaps, articles written about. Whew, enough passive voice for now…

When Eighth Blackbird began performing, in 1996, its repertory consisted largely of revivals of older scores and works by young composers in the early stages of their careers. The group has not forsaken those composers, nor has it given up curatorial programming completely, but the program it played at Zankel Hall on Thursday evening showed that it is now in another league.

Eighth Blackbird has been called up from the minors! (Also, I thought they, deliberately, did not capitalize their name...?)

All the music was commissioned by the group, with the first half devoted to the vigorous “Double Sextet” (2007) by Steve Reich and the second to “Singing in the Dead of Night” (2008), an energetic and occasionally spooky collaboration by David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, the composers who run Bang on a Can.

Fair enough. I see that their all-music-we-comissioned concert elevates their stature. Somewhat. From one perspective.

All in all, a good review. One should be careful of pithy generalizations, though; they de-elevate the review. Otherwise, a certain someone may throw Fast Eddie at ya.


Empiricus said...

I also find the word "simulacra" erroneous. Here's the context:

"Mr. Reich’s work is the latest in his series of scores for two or more soloists — or, in this case, ensembles. The players have the choice of performing all the parts onstage or recording one set and playing the rest live. Most musicians take the second option, as Eighth Blackbird did: in any case the spirit of these works is bound up in the juxtaposition of real players and their simulacra."

If it is Kozinn's intention to downplay the importance of the recorded part (simulacra: an unsatifactory imitation or substitute [the secondary definition doesn't make sense in context]), then this is correct.

But, because the review sounds lukewarm, or indifferent, it would be more appropriate to use "doppelganger." I think.

Small point, big difference.

Sator Arepo said...

You could be right, E.

However, to me, "simulacrum" does not have a negative flavor. (Too many years of D&D. Anyone...?)

Perhaps you're right, though, and he's sneaking a bit of lukewarmness in very subtly.

Aaron said...

I'll say this for pithy generalizations: you can make a stylish helmet from them.

Sator Arepo said...

"General Pith, I presume...judging by your helmet, that is!"

Anonymous said...

"A night of collaboration and energetic activity" ?

how foppish...Kozinn should have punched up it a bit for the kiddies... I'm thinking:

"Stop, Collaborate and Listen"


All right stop, Collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention
Something grabs a hold of me tightly flow
like a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop? Yo -- I don't know

Sator Arepo said...

I feel ya Gustav:

Crusin' in my five-point-o
with the ragtop down
so my hair can flow

Ice. Ice, baby.

Anonymous said...

da dum da da dum da da dum dum
da dum da da dum da da dum dum


I am amused.

Sator Arepo said...

Queen, meanwhile, was not amused at all.