Sontag’s Against Interpretation and Musical Analysis

“We have an obligation to overthrow any means of defending and justifying art which becomes particularly obtuse or onerous or insensitive to contemporary needs and practice.” — Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation My current analytical project (if I can be presumptuous for a moment) is based around understanding three pieces of music, which I consider toContinue reading “Sontag’s Against Interpretation and Musical Analysis”

Mahler’s Ninth: Preliminaries

Since I first watched that clip of Leonard Bernstein delivering a gorgeous monologue about Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, I’ve wondered about the nature of influence in this case: do I love this piece just because old Lennie convinced me that it was more profound than it really is? Or is the piece actually as brilliant asContinue reading “Mahler’s Ninth: Preliminaries”

It’s All Noise: a review of Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise

The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross’ first book, was an instant hit. The New York Times named it one of the ten best books of 2007; it was a finalist for many prestigious literary prizes including the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction; the cover copy is littered with praise from critics, historians and musicians, everyoneContinue reading “It’s All Noise: a review of Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise”

Composing update 8/9

In addition to my work as a writer, a sound engineer and soon-to-be grad student, I am also a composer.*  I spent much of last year studying the modern orchestral repertoire, for I wanted to compose an orchestral piece. Having not much else to do after being laid off, I threw myself into an overlyContinue reading “Composing update 8/9”

Introducing Continuous Variations

I’m supposed to write one of these posts to introduce myself, but that’s not really my thing. I’m not here to talk about what I ate for lunch or what sorts of activities I’m up to in my day-to-day. Truthfully this started as an outlet for all the various things that I’ve written about overContinue reading “Introducing Continuous Variations”