Monday, March 26, 2007


By the way...did I mention I'm in England right now? As is my typical fashion, I skipped out of town mere hours after finishing grading for the quarter. No jet lag to speak of this time; after five years of constant traveling like this, my body no longer has any problem with suddenly skipping ahead eight hours. I'm not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.

Saturday was spent at the antique markets in Notting Hill, indulging Mary's addiction to funky jewelry. Sunday we met a fellow expatriate Los Angeleno musicologist (it's a small but close-knit community) for drinks in Primrose Hill, before coming back to Barnet for baked ziti. Today, I think we are going to lounge around and go see The Good German, which is still in theaters over here.

So, in lieu of a substantive post, I'm going to fill out SoHo the Dog's survey.

1. Name an opera you love for the libretto, even though you don't particularly like the music.

To go with something recent, I liked the libretto for Dr. Atomic much more than John Adams's wishy-washy music.

2. Name a piece you wish Glenn Gould had played.

I'm not a Gould person.

3. If you had to choose: Charles Ives or Carl Ruggles?

Charles Ives. I've actually somehow managed to avoid listening to The Sun Treader all these years, at least until last week when it was a bonus question on a final I proctored. Not so impressed.

4. Name a piece you're glad Glenn Gould never played.

See #2.

5. What's your favorite unlikely solo passage in the repertoire?

This isn't really an answer to the question, but I just want to state that despite the fact that Schubert apparently hated the instrument, the viola lines in everything he wrote are truly beautiful.

6. What's a Euro-trash high-concept opera production you'd love to see? (No Mortier-haters get to duck this one, either—be creative.)

Hmm...I'm thinking...Harvey Milk set in Renaissance Florence. It could totally work.

7. Name an instance of non-standard concert dress you wish you hadn't seen.

When I was undergraduate, my university had a very strong world music performance program, and there was lots of great concerts by the resident gamelan ensemble. However, invariably, there would be a smattering of (always white men of a certain age) audience members who would show up wearing traditional Javanese tunics, and would sit cross-legged during the performance with beatific smiles on their faces. That was very unfortunate.

8. What aging rock-and-roll star do you wish had tried composing large-scale chorus and orchestra works instead of Paul McCartney?

Patti Smith!

9. If you had to choose: Carl Nielsen or Jean Sibelius?

I have a soft spot for Sibelius.

10. If it was scientifically proven that Beethoven's 9th Symphony caused irreversible brain damage, would you still listen to it?

If you've ever seen the film clip of Furtwangler conducting the Ninth, with Goebbels and a bunch of wounded war veterans in the audience and gigantic swastikas hanging over the stage, you'll find it quite easy not to listen to it ever again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello ! I was searching for people that could have an interest for my music with the help of the name Charles Ives (one of my gods) and found your blog.

My new album is now available for sell, but it's still without its first reviews. In the past, I have received incredible press from a variety of sources (All Music Guide, great composers...).

See and mostly listen by yourself some Philosophie Fantasmagorique.

Thank you !

Vincent Bergeron

"In the course of a lifetime, one encounters very few major musical talents. Vincent Bergeron is one of those few, a unique composer who is at the forefront of musical thinking."

Noah Creshevsky
Professor Emeritus, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York
Director Emeritus, Center for Computer Music at Brooklyn College