“It’s a gigantic, anti-intellectual, anti-craft circle-jerk and I will have none of it.”

A potty-mouthed Elliott Carter responds from beyond the grave to that Dan Asia article that everyone got pissy about. Hits nail on head.

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Dan Asia strikes again

In January, the Tim Rutherford-Johnson of the Rambler took to task some guy called Daniel Asia for writing a completely idiotic article on John Cage for the Huffington Post (well, the Rambler referred to it “frankly embarrassing”, but let’s call a spade a spade).

Asia is back, and this time he’s written an article called “Carter is Dead”, in which he breaks down exactly why he thinks Elliott Carter is an objectively bad composer. 

It’s not worth taking this apart line-by-line, because it’s basically all wrong. It seems to me, at least, patently absurd that Asia’s primary criticism of Carter’s work boils down to the accusation that it is “chaotic”. To my ears, at least, (most of) Carter’s music is (in a sonorous sense, not just a “precompositional” sense) immaculately planned. In fact, the amount of sense that Carter’s music makes is the main reason that I, personally, can’t quite love this music in general (as important as a handful of individual pieces may be to me).

In fact, I actually wanted to use this article as an excuse for a brief meditation on ‘relative listening’ in Carter, which Asia brings up as a way of criticising the final movement of the Cello Sonata, but seems to have forgotten about completely by, like, two paragraphs later when he wants to criticise, like, the exact same thing in other pieces, but from the polar opposite direction. But Asia’s point is too self-contradictory, too riddled with false analogy, even to use it as a springboard to write about something else.

The article has, however, spawned #DanAsiaArticleIdeas on Twitter, so it’s not a total loss.

 

Elliott Carter sketches at the Library of Congress

Cool!

I haven’t had a chance to really dig through these properly, yet, and most of it is the earlier (i.e. less interesting) stuff, but this looks like many hours’ worth of gleeful geekitude.

Speak Percussion in Melbourne this week

This week is a veritable feast of Speak Percussion goodness at the Melbourne Recital Centre Salon.

Tonight, there is the second performance of Graphic Music, featuring three works by sound-and-graphic artist Catherine Schieve. This will be performed by Speak regulars Eugene Ughetti and Matthias Schack-Arnott, along with Leah Scholes, Warren Burt and Catherine herself.

Further details to be had here: http://www.melbournerecital.com.au/main.taf?p=1,1,1,1&EventID=942

The second event, this Saturday 6 June, is American Masters. This program, which sees the Speak core of Ughetti, Schack-Arnott and Peter Neville augmented by guests Greg Sully, Tim Phillips and Gary France, features a couple of twentieth century American classics, such as Steve Reich’s Music for pieces of wood and Elliott Carter’s Tintinnabulation, alongside the work of composers heard all-too-rarely in this country, such as Alvin Lucier and James Tenney:

John Cage Quartet tom-toms
James Tenney –  Pika-don (Australian Premiere) with electronics
Elliott Carter –  Tintinnabulation
Alvin Lucier –  Music for Snare Drum, Pure Wave Oscillator and One or More Reflective Surfaces (Australian Premiere)
Steve Reich –  Music for Pieces of Wood
Johanna Beyer –  March for 30 Percussion Instruments

Full details here: http://www.melbournerecital.com.au/main.taf?p=1,1,1,1&EventID=945