From: Noah Creshevsky
Date: February 29, 2016 2:14:55 PM EST
To: Daniel Goode
Subject: Your clarinet quintet
That is such a beautiful piece–written on a quite large scale, technically assured, expressive, and–yes, a rare word–inspired!
I had great pleasure hearing it now. Thank you for posting it.
My best to you,
Clarinet Quintet – 15:07
Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin (Momenta)
Karen Kim, violin (Momenta)
Stephanie Griffin, viola (Momenta)
Michael Haas, cello (Momenta)
Jay Elfenbein, contrabass
Chris Nappi, mallet instruments
Marijo Newman, piano
David Gilbert, conductor
Moran Katz, clarinet with the Momenta Quartet in Clarinet Quintet
I’m offering to the European Union at no cost, my new “Hymn from the One Word Opera” to replace the current European Union hymn, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. It’s time for an update! So here is the score and a sound file for your enjoyment. I lowered the key in the score for easier singing. I think it’s both beautiful and appropriate. Hope you do too.
All the best,
Somewhere in his ground-breaking book, “The Tuning of the World” R. Murray Schafer wonders aloud why music tends to be an anchor to the familiar, rather than an antenna receiving new exciting information from “out there.” There could by a one-word answer to Schafer’s question: ‘lullaby.’ But instead, let this whole essay be an answer.
vibrato – buzzing in the ear (even damage) – low frequency weapon (WWI)
“meditative making out:” RIP Hayman’s kissing/humming action
low E on the clarinet vibrates her/his trusting body
compare sound frequency to light frequency: you can feel one, not the other: the
scale is different
rock music is high amplitude, especially the bass which is felt in the body
visual art is “cold,” pop music is “warm,” what is classical music?
question of modernism and anti-romanticism
the pomo reactions
the mindless neo-romanticism of e.g., “the derriere-garde,”or movie sound
the role of tonality in warmth? There may be, but considering tonality’s widest
range from drone music to highly chromatic music in the post-Viennese school or the
new complexity music, there is no correlation to anyone’s style
tendency of forgetting duplicates of previous styles as if they had never
serve [as] memory and also mark the spot previously occupied by so-and-so or
such-and-such: in that, we are like a “traditional culture,” that only revives, re-stages,
replays, but doesn’t innovate consciously
consciousness feels like it is in the head, not the torso or the limbs – is that
because of voice, ears, eyes?
lack of parallelism between sound (music) and light (visual arts)- there is no touch
until infra-red and heat lamps, but then it is not in the visual range
Still, heat rays are too fast to feel as vibration. The warmth of vibrational frequencies is obvious. Both metaphorical and literal. The spectrum of orgastic vibration makes heat.
Vibrating one’s body to keep warm is as rock-bottom as you can get to warmth. Sound begins at the high end of that frequency range. You can get warm by singing. So, harmonic relations probably have warmth encoded within. Quotients (of warmth!) may be measurable. This could lead to a dumb or a very smart critique of serial music (and the “new complexity” type). But not Alban Berg’s, which is why the dumb critique won’t work.
Warmth is not just a direct conversion of physical vibration of something bound into temperature of the receiver’s body. The transmitted, culturally determined melodic/harmonic/rhythmic shapes of a certain tradition (pick your culture) stir the emotions somehow (pick your theorist), and warmth results. Even sadness, maybe especially sadness brings warmth. The constant exercise of emotional organs is what it feels like. Emotional aerobics? Music can stimulate emotional aerobics.
Warmth and tonality:
Given the over-determined causation by both acoustically generated warmth and by historical styles of melodic and harmonic shapes that trigger emotional warmth, it seems an obvious connection to link warmth with tonality. There are strong counter-examples in Schoenberg and Berg, though: that the emotional gestures are there and effective without their being based on tonality. Also strong counter-examples in the “Polish School” of ‘60s tone-color music, and also in the decades of Phill Niblock’s tape music for his films. In both these, and others of similar effect the rubbing of dissonant tones to create “beats” is a source of acoustical warmth not from tonality, though (as Schoenberg might protest these are the result of TONES, so cannot be called “atonal music.”)
Let’s consider what I’d call the “Appoggiatura Mime,” (mime, the short-hand formula, mental “radical” around this musical term). Originating in harmonic practice going back to the Renaissance, and flowering through the Baroque and Classic periods, it emerges in the late Romantics and early 20th Century composers, of Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg as an increasingly intense, complex, and over-arching phenomenon. In this figuration warmth is both acoustic (dissonances rubbing frictionally) and emotional —made up of layers of association with the music that pushes through to the listener with this mime.
A more subtle emotional mime might be the sequence: the melodic-harmonic repetition at successive pitch levels. Many, many passages from Vivaldi through Bach’s Brandenburg concertos (his 3rd has a doozy one), on through Bruckner have a way of building excitement through varied repetition that can lead the listener into a kind of emotional response I’d call restrained frenzy—sometimes to tears. The sequence is the basis of my long minimalist symphony, Tunnel Funnel. Warmth generated.
The connection of music and mimes is the basis of Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game [Das Glasperlenspiel]. It is the idea that discreet units of culture: music or word-based complexes, visual, mathematical formulae (Hesse is brilliantly vague in describing what these cultural modules are exactly) become the “glass beads” in a chess-like game of friendly competition among the intellectual elite. This is the most seductive use of ideas as palpable serious playthings I’ve ever found. And it contains within it, as the novel shows, an elitism that burns out on its own decadence and self-defeat, told in its last page by the death by drowning of the hero who has become the master of the Game.
But if we extrapolate to Minimalism: I once had an imaginary conversation with Tom Johnson (at least I think it never happened, but maybe it did) in which we agreed that minimalist typology could stay implanted in culture as firmly as traditional genres of composition like the canon or fugue or variation procedure.
Phasing of various parameters
Meditative sound concepts
“Deductive Music” (Tom’s self-description of his style)
These would be on-going genres as confident of continuance as the high Baroque seemed to be.
An aspect of these genres would be their warmth quotient. Not as an evaluative thing, but as one aspect of style.
It’s about us! Well, us, meaning us male composers of a certain vintage and background. Some of “us” may actually be in the Richard Powers 2014 novel, “Orfeo,” disguised of course. The Champagne-Urbana music faculty of around 1960-something is named with their real names. The teacher and acidic mentor of the now 70 year-old fictional composer-hero, Peter Els who in his youth went to the University of Illinois, might have been Sal Martirano. Or, not. My mentor, later of UCSD where I met him, Gaburo, is named. So is Tenney. The fictional composer is also a clarinetist. There’s an alto who…. It’s a novel about music, composition, performance and ideas, woven together in a manner both gripping and moving. I found it a page-turner. But then again, I’m one of the “us.” There are no women composers in the novel.
Descriptions of actual campus events of those times: a Cage Music Circus, and his HPSCHD are riveting—from the characters’ ears and eyes, but also by someone who had really been there. The author calls Cage “the Imp Saint.” Powers’s language chosen for these absorbing descriptions of both real and imagined music is worth studying: he manages to weave “technical terms” we know from music theory into overlapping poetics. There’s redundancy so if you don’t know the music terms, you’ve got plenty of other language to hold onto. The two together work synergistically in an admirable way: music critics take note! And writers on the arts: how he creates both musical and plot momentum during many pages devoted to a single piece. What about style and history? Well disguised. Peter, the fictional composer, starts as an interesting eccentric, and eclectic. Minimalism comes on the scene in the middle of his career. It’s really the only style mentioned by name. It makes its case, has an influence… Opera enters his life… A manic theater director. Success…failure.
Harry Partch’s hobo experiences and music form a parallel track to the fictional composer-hero’s last adventure of the novel. He also owns some “cloud chambers” like Partch’s instrument. There’s a futuristic turn to a kind of composing with DNA. The theme of a sometimes tormented composer is a flash on Adrian Leverkuhn, the composer in Thomas Mann’s novel. Each, something of a solipsist. Each involved in a spiritual search, but quite an imperfect one.
Novels about composers have got to be within number of fingers on one hand. There’s “Jean-Christoph by Romain Rolland which I’ve never read. There’s Mann’s “Dr. Faustus” (re: Schoenberg, serialism and the devil), and there’s Herman Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game” (which has music as moves in a multi-dimensional board game of the elite). That’s probably it for classical music. Proust, and ETA Hoffmann wrote about music in fiction. If we move to film, there are, of course, the entertaining composer films of Ken Russell. Composer-novels may be a strange genre. But not to me. It feels quite natural…of course.
(I did find it a little spooky that such a good novelist seems to know our world from the inside. Was he “spying” on us? Or was he one of us, once, not so long ago?)
Thumb-nail Review #37
Please visit New World Records’ website for further details (Click Here). The following text is from New World Records’ Album Details section and should be referenced accordingly.
The Flexible Orchestra:Jen Baker, Monique Buzzarte, Tim Sessions, Keith Green, William Lang, Daniel Linden, Christopher McIntyre, Johannes Pfannkuch, Sebastian Vera, Deborah Weisz, trombones; Carlos Cordeiro, J.D. Parran, clarinets; Stephanie Griffin, viola; Ken Filiano, contrabass; Marijo Newman, piano; Laura Liben, percussion; Chris Nappi, percussion/marimba; Tara Simoncic, conductor;
Daniel Goode, clarinet; Douglas Martin, piano; Michael Finckel, Pitnarry Shin, Alexandra MacKenzie, cellos; Joseph Kubera, Sarah Cahill, pianos
Daniel Goode (b. 1936) is a fan of (in his own words) “minimalist thinking and process thinking,” the “long form,” and “the trance effect that repetition brings about.” Comprising solo, chamber, and orchestral works, these four pieces span his career as a composer. The earliest, the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1959-60), reflects his early interests and influences. Using the harmonically enhanced vocabulary of neoclassicism, the Sonata is a fast-slow-fast, three-movement tour-de-force similar in many ways to “the neoclassic sweetness and pizzazz” of Poulenc’s three-movement clarinet sonata composed two years later.
Mr. Goode later learned circular breathing and developed his own approach to minimalism and “process music.” Goode’s Circular Thoughts (1974) for solo clarinet is among the earliest minimalist scores to be published by a major publisher (Theodore Presser Co.). This twenty-minute guided improvisation is also a process piece with specific scales and suggestions about tempo, articulations, timbre, and dynamics. Representing both the ideas of gradual process and resultant patterns commonly associated with the music of Steve Reich, Circular Thoughts highlights the trance-like quality of relentlessly repeating melodic patterns and cyclic ostinatos.
Ländler Land (1999–2000) is subtitled “a waltz for concert performance and dancing for three cellos and two pianos.” Goode started Ländler Land while living briefly in Vienna, and it was influenced by a 1993 film called Latcho Drom about the music of the Roma people. Annbling (2006, rev. 2007), was composed for the Flexible Orchestra, a new concept in orchestral sound designed by Mr. Goode in 2004. Annbling is a trombone-dominated contemplation of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, a Sundanese pop song, and the tragedy of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. The piece opens with a re-orchestrated quotation from the beginning of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, and ends with a long, sensuous rendition of a West Javanese popular song, “Tonggeret,” which Mr. Goode found on a commercial cassette of dance music while in Java in 1996.
The FLEXIBLE ORCHESTRA
in a new orchestration of
ten clarinets, electric guitar, double bass, and harp,
will premiere four composers’ works on Thursday, October 25th,
8:30 PM at the Ukrainian Restaurant, 140 2nd Ave. at 9th Street.
Come early and eat: 212-614-3283
$15/10 for students and seniors
WORKS by Daniel Goode, Will Holshouser, Lisa Karrer, Ma’ayan Tsadka, Mary Jane Leach, conducted by Jeannine Wagar
This piece was originally posted on Jeffery Goldfarb’s excellent web site “Deliberately Considered” on September 21st 2011 [Click Here]
To read Marvin Taylor’s response to this post [click here]
To read my response in turn [click here]
The tendency to reduce an understanding and appreciation of cultural achievements is a limitation of the thought in Marx and Marxism, as I suggested yesterday. Such reduction, though, is actually a more general problem, as is explored here in another of Goode’s thumbnail reviews about music and life. -Jeff
Why should we care? Because some of us love the music. Some of us even commit that chauvinist crime of saying: “He’s the greatest Jewish composer” as if there were a contest out there. (He was reviled with anti-semitism in Vienna during his lifetime, especially around his directorship of the Vienna Court Opera). But two of the most progressive conductor’s, Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas (both Jewish), both of whom regarded Mahler as central to their lives, are just full of the usual clichés about him. Oh, like: that those wonderful and suggestive, disintegrating endings to his final works are “about death” or about his death. Well, maybe they are, but HE never said that.
The latest slew of these interpretations came in a visually elegant public television program conceived by Tilson Thomas called “Keeping Score.” I won’t list instances here, maybe some other time. Actually the best one-liners came from the first clarinetist, Corey Bell, of the SF Symphony (featured in the film). He spoke about the “skin-of-your-teeth tonalities” in the Scherzo of the 7th Symphony, and of the “corners to hide out in.”
Thomas does get off one perceptive analysis: tracing the use of the musical “turn” from Mahler’s first work, “Songs of a Wayfarer” to the final movements of his last two completed works. And the importance of the tone, A, in that early work and then in the climax of the first movement of his 10th Symphony.
A final shot of Thomas at Mahler’s grave in Grinzing, a suburb of Vienna, shows without comment, stones placed in the traditional Jewish manner on top of the Mahler’s gravestone. His remains were not allowed to be buried in the same cemetery as Beethoven and Schubert. “Those who love me will find me” he said.
This originally was published in an edited version on Jeffrey Goldfarb’s blog, “Deliberately Considered.”
On Oct 13, 2011, at 4:03 PM, Marvin J Taylor wrote:
For the blog entries: What do you think about this: Are the well-intentioned attempts to see these things in Mahler’s works just a continuation of the very problematic critical debates between early Wagner–of Judenthum in der Musik–Hanslinck, and Brahms of the 19th c.? Did Bernstein get duped by falling into this line of critical thought just as Hanslick and Brahms missed the shift in Wagner’s thinking in the later works after he gave up on the ideas put forth in Oper und Drama? (Or, conversely, did Bernstein so strongly believe in the cult of the artist that Wagner promoted–and the Nietzsche so rightfully despised–that he over Romanticized everything about Mahler?)
On the other hand, as a student of lit., I’ve never much worried about what authors (of any kind) say about their work. The Intentional Fallacy rears its Fafner-like head. Instead, I tend to see these kinds of engagements as Heidegger did: that is, as dialogues with the past, even if it was only two weeks ago. It’s even more important to located the discussion in the present the further back you go in time with the referent.
Of course, Mahler often does use rather simplistic “programmatic” tricks in the music. I’m thinking, for example, of the off-stage horns of the Apocalypse at the end of Sym. no. 2. This probably enables people to see programmatic moments where they might or might not exist, such as at the end of the 9th.
Then, of course, there is the matter of the performances. Regardless of what Bernstein thought about the work, his conducting of the pieces is so stellar that I’d almost rather not know his ideas. This is esp. true given the live performances with the Koncertgebow. Those recordings are devastating to me on a purely musical level.
How’s that for opening up a can of worms?