Sunday 20 June 2010

Schoenberg and Slightly More Than 100 Years of Wilful Ignorance

Schoenberg; Table tennis because Wimbledon starts tomorrow (table tennis and tennis are basically the same right? What? You mean I have to look it up?)

I suppose the great man wouldn't be surprised, over 100 years on from his (partial) break with the tonal system and people still think he's 'difficult'. So much so that often they don't even bother to do basic research when passing comment about his work as is unfortunately the case with a recent article about John Williams Luther Adams in The Observer online.

According to Peter Conrad (a teacher of literature apparently which makes his gaffe somewhat more forgivable I suppose)...

As a young man, John Williams Luther Adams upset the sedate peace of American symphonic music. His scores pulsed as relentlessly as the bass in a rock band, his noisy riffs repeated themselves to the point of madness. He enjoyed being childish: in Harmonielehre, a 1984 symphony that alludes to a crabby atonal textbook by Schoenberg, he imagined his infant daughter, Quackie, riding on the shoulders of the German mystic Meister Eckhart.

As is commonly known amongst people who know, stuff, about 20th century music Schoenberg's Harmonielehre is certainly not an 'atonal textbook' and Conrad wouldn't know whether or not the tone of the work is 'crabby' as he obviously hasn't read it. Not exactly an honest or learned beginning to an article.

Disappointing for the Guardian/Observer, if Tom Service were dead he'd be turning in his grave.

I'll shoot Chiggi a message about it, perhaps they can change the article and give Conrad one of those slaps on the back of the head that makes a satisfying 'thwap' sound.

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Tuesday 8 June 2010

New Series! : Guess The Score! : No1 (!)

Oh yes, it's 2010 (it has been for a while apparently) and it's time for a new series of posts. The title is fairly self explanatory, I'll present a fragment of a full score and you can try and guess what it is.

It's almost like sport only without all of the physical exercise, expensive outfits and potential injuries, what's not to like?

A fairly easy one to start with (don't all rush in at once with guesses everyone). Click on the image if you want to see it more clearly.

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