Composers Forum is a daily web log that allows invited contemporary composers to share their thoughts and ideas on any topic that interests them--from the ethereal, like how new music gets created, music history, theory, performance, other composers, alive or dead, to the mundane, like getting works played and recorded and the joys of teaching. If you're a professional composer and would like to participate, send us an e-mail.
Not pictured: each player is accompanied by a different, unspecified percussion pattern
posted by jodru
We've talked here before about what constitutes failure for a composer, but I'd like to talk about what constitutes success. There's an interesting article by Ingram Marshall over at NewMusicBox today called The Tipping Point. In it, he talks about a potential downside to what we consider "success." He basically argues that having achieved the dream, we kind of lose it in a way:
In fact, the artists who haven't experienced that real tipping point might be better off than those who have, for they still have that ongoing struggle to break through, to finally be able to say, "I've made it; I am who I wanted to be." Once you've achieved that, well, like Michael [Gordon] you still have to face the hum drum localized struggle of finding "the right notes." Now, there's a certain expectation. Now, you are really in trouble!
The element of surprise is an amazing thing; it's remarkable what one can accomplish when it's on your side. Once expectations are established, the game changes considerably. Struggling to maintain a standard is much less fun, it seems, than striving to set one.
Greetings from Gothenburg, Sweden, where I am attending the first-ever joint conference of three international musical organizations. I won't attempt to spell Gothenburg the Swedish way since I can't figure out how to code the diacriticals from this computer but to give you a sense of how wrong the English name Gothenburg is, the locals pronounce the name of this town as Yetaboory.
Indeed it is a different perspective here. I already wrote about finding internationalism through a bringing together of various specific locally-based nationalisms on NewMusicBox this week, but I thought I'd expound a little bit more here on local new music finds.
With all our talk about who the hot American composers are abroad and who the hot foreign composers are in the USA, it was quite a surprise to see that the only American composers whose music was available on CD at the main concert hall were George Chadwick, William Bolcom, Paul Moravec and Charles Wuorinen. The first was due to his advocacy by Neeme Jarvi who, as a one-time conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, is something of a local hero. The latter three are the result of the strong presence in this town of Naxos which trumps Nonesuch, DG, and everyone else. I should mention a great seriues of talks yesterday about the music of La Monte Young, John Cage and Morton Feldman, and right now in the library I'm overhearing a conversation about Carter, Gershwin, Irving Fine and Alice Parker!
But the real sadness here so far has been finding such scant representation of Swedish composers. Aside from a few Alfven CDs and a generous helping of Stenhammar, whose name even graces the smaller concert hall in the main arts complex, finding music by local composers here has not been easy. Even the ABBA records in the pop record shops I've visited have been the export versions in English translation. That said, it is a great town for used record stores. I even managed tracked down some music from the newly independent nation of Montenegro.
posted by Frank J. Oteri
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
To whom it may concern,
My name is John Cantrell, and I am the choirmaster and organist of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in the upper west side of NYC. In planning next year's choral season (both concerts and services), I am very much interested in modern sacred choral music. Unfortunately, most music publishers are releasing a considerable amount of schlock - compositions of no musical, theological substance.
With this said, I announce a CALL FOR SCORES. I welcome any perusal copies of Sacred Music, and we are open to any scoring, instrumentation, etc.
Should I choose your score, then further arrangements can be made for compensation, permissions, and so forth.