SoundNotion – Episode 6 “No, really, it’s final.”

Topics include the Detroit Symphony’s big cancellation, NEA budget cuts, controversial remarks from the NEA chair and Kennedy Center president, Michael Daugherty’s Grammy, Anna Nicole up in Lights, Radiohead’s new album, Spider-Man’s broadway spectacle, and more.


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This week’s panel:


This week’s topics include:

  • Detroit Symphony musicians reject the DSO’s final final offer.
  • Congress passes deep budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • NEA Chairperson Rocco Landesman may not think that’s such a bad idea; he said there’s too much art already.
  • The Kennedy Center’s Michael Kaiser thinks we just aren’t making art that’s any good.
  • Michael Daugherty and the Nashville Symphony had a good night at last week’s Grammy Awards.
  • Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera Anna Nicole makes waves at the Royal Opera House in London.
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is getting its share of reviews while still in previews on Broadway.
  • Radiohead is trying yet another new distribution model with their new album The King of Limbs.
  • Composer Helmut Lachenmann is honored for his body of work with a big, fat check.
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  • Interesting development with Kaiser. Unfortunately, I think he’s completely confusing the effectiveness and power of advertising with the worth of art. The products of pop culture are not only successful because they are accessible to a wide audience, but they are in fact engineered and constructed in order to fit those same characteristics. Composers and other artists who are forward-thinking and groundbreaking don’t have the financial resources nor the moral motivation to do this, so it makes perfect sense that much of the best new art is off the beaten path. I don’t understand Kaiser’s reasoning–we are in fact beginning to use new media, especially in the world of new music–as the motivation and method to the production of art in the popular and art worlds is fundamentally different.

  • Lachenmann is one of the most important living composers today. His revolution in sound is on par with that of the greatest composers of the 20th century, and the aesthetic his music represents presents some of the greatest challenges to composers and to listeners. Aside from this award, he is also winner of the Ernst von Siemens prize in music (other winners include Ligeti, von Karajan, Carter, Abbado, Boulez, Berio, Britten). He continues, despite recent ill health, to compose many important works (Grido for string quartet, NUN for flute, trombone, male choir and orchestra). The majority of his output has been defined by his theory of “musique concret instrumentale”–an attempt to challenge traditional notions of tradition in music.

    From an interview:

    Lachenmann implies a musical language that embraces the entire sound-world made accessible through unconventional playing techniques. According to the composer, this is music “in which the sound events are chosen and organized so that the manner in which they are generated is at least as important as the resultant acoustic qualities themselves. Consequently those qualities, such as timbre, volume, etc., do not produce sounds for their own sake, but describe or denote the concrete situation: listening, you hear the conditions under which a sound- or noise-action is carried out, you hear what materials and energies are involved and what resistance is encountered.”

    I highly recommend that people seek out his music, as it is some of the most exciting and rewarding I have ever heard.

    • Hey Geoff. Been listening to Lachenmann the last few days, and I’m really digging it. I think he must be one of those guys that is huge in Europe but is just kind of vaguely known in the US. I’m sure there are just as many composers for whom the reverse is true.

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