Monday, January 31, 2011

My Own Dharma

A few months ago I picked up a pencil and a sheet of paper with 4 staves. I sat on my bed, in a seemingly full cloud of inspiration, and tried to write a string quartet.
I soon learned that this was not—at least for me—the way to compose. First of all, I had never composed before in my fifteen years, and plopping down with a dry mind wasn’t a good starting point. I may have had ideas, but there was nothing apparent that inspired me, nothing that kindled a full-circle idea in my head.
Composing as a verb is such a desirable task for me, and composer as a noun is even more sought after. Each time I go to a concert I sit in the soft chair imagining that the piece flowing through my ears is mine. I look around at the faces of my fellow audience members and smile at their pleasure that was brought upon by my pen. I think of the after party I would have, people coming up to me saying, “I could just see the notes! What beautiful music!”  Or perhaps I would hear things like, “You’re the next Glass!” Or maybe Alan Gilbert would approach me, begging on his knees for a commissioned piece. But I have always thought of these as just pipe dreams.
What I needed was a lift-off point. I recently began reading Hallelujah Junction by John Adams, his biography and a look inside his brain. He talks about the inspiration of his pieces, but one that really stuck with me was the muse for The Dharma at Big Sur. The title gives some obvious cluing in, but reading his words opened a flood gate in my brain to a different kind of motivation for music.  Adams drove into California after being a native New Englander for his whole life, and the vast expanses of the canyons and oceans acted almost as a religious experience to him.
Big Sur

I returned from a cross-country skiing trip just a few days ago. I had never been before, and I was a bit nervous for being one of the only novices on the trip. But as soon as I got there, I experienced my own dharma. It certainly wasn’t the most beautiful landscape I had seen in my life, but with my mind being surrounded by Adam’s words and my ideas, it was like I was experiencing the outdoors for the first time. The cosmic-effect of the mountains covered gingerly with snow and scattered with pines was mesmerizing—all I could think of was French horns, for one reason or another.

So, yesterday, I began my first official composition. It’s a French horn quartet, and it doesn’t have a title or completed vision yet, but every day I twitch in my seat waiting to get back to the piece.  I’m not sure when I’ll finish it, but I think after one day of composing I’m about a quarter of the way through the first movement.
Wish me luck, and maybe one day instead of just reading about it you will get to listen.

Hopeful performers?

Monday, January 24, 2011


Steadily throughout the 21st century, I have found myself turning on my computer more often. Whether it is for directions, a simple fact for an essay, or just to check my email, I realize that the internet has become more a part of me and the world around me. Of course, it has been like this for a while. But a few years ago I would consult Oxford for a word definition—now has become a “most visited site” on my laptop.
What does this mean for music? The demise of printed reviews and the hard-copy CD market is not too far in our future, and this brings looks of fear and clumps of hair out of the diehard magazine subscribers and LP owners. The classic view of this slope is dreadful, and I can see that viewpoint. Who doesn’t love the smell of a freshly printed review? Who doesn’t feel satisfaction when their CD racks are filled to the brim? But as this inevitable change approaches faster every day, the only thing we can do is adapt. Our wrists may not evolve to fit our keyboards, but bending our elbows a little more won’t hurt too much. 
This past Christmas we unwrapped an Amazon Kindle. I was reluctant at first, having a toe in the door of the strictly-printed-book club, but I have warmed up to it. I can read Alex Ross’ articles in the New Yorker the minute they are published—without getting out of a comfortable chair. Lazy, sure, but it’s convenient. Classical music literature is now more accessible to a wider audience. Mémoires de Hector Berlioz, Hallelujah Junction, Begin Again, The Rest Is Noise, Musicophilia—these are all books that now are at the fingertips of people who might not want to sort through their local library system for them. Everyone doesn’t need a Kindle (and frankly, I hope that never happens), but Amazon and other ordering sites are so second nature in this age that a plethora of books are now as easy to find as typing a few words into a search box.
ITunes is the hub of the online-music world. Just a click away, it is easy to spend way more than planned on CDs and videos. I find myself with a gift card in hand only to have its contents gone in a day.  While the classical music library wasn’t a covert affair before online music stores, those who don’t spend some time looking could easily miss some of the best recordings. ITunes is fast and accurate. In fact, I timed myself. From the moment I started typing in my ITunes search box, it took me 12 seconds to find Martha Argerich’s recording of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 simply by typing in the word “Argerich.” On Google, it took me 52 seconds to find the same recording using the same word. In a record store, who knows how long that would take? The store might not even carry it. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking into a library or music shop and flipping through their collections, but for the general masses this might not be considered “fun.” Typing 8 letters into a search box might be more up their alley.

Music blogs are also a direct way to reach a large audience with the authors’ viewpoints and recommendations. Blogs can inform, influence, and bring people together all in one central network. With some of the blogs I read this month, I learned of the Seattle Symphony’s opening, the epidemic-seeming wave of polyphony groups, and Alan Pierson’s overtake of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. A reader of music blogs feels more connected and in the loop—a crucial ingredient to the attraction of new listeners (and readers).

I’ll never stop craving the touch of the glossy page of a magazine, and popping a CD into a player will never lose its thrill, but technology has been a vital resource to drawing more listeners to the genre of classical music, and we must accept it. Whether it is a Kindle to spread the words of composers and musicologists, ITunes to quickly connect people to great recordings, or music blogs to keep readers in the loop of the music world, the genre is constantly growing and reaching more people every day. After reading this, keep your library card in your wallet and don’t put those tangible recordings out for the garage sale. Just think about sending your pop-music-listening friend a link to some of those Berlin Philharmonic videos you’ve been watching.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Chopin made the etude famous. Liszt made the etude flashy. Debussy mad the etude inspiring. And Berio made his own etude—the Sequenza.
Perhaps Luciano Berio’s “Sequenzas” aren’t made to serve as etudes, but it is difficult not to think of them as etude-like; they are for solo instruments, relatively short, explore different techniques, and certainly make the musician sweat a little. The word “sequenza” in Italian means “sequence,” and these pieces are exactly that, sequences of procedures and unique methods on the instrument.
Berio’s “Sequenza V” for trombone is a five-and-a-half minute gaze of confusion, but in an emotional sense, not a musical one. I say “gaze” because the piece brings to mind a naive child in an unusual environment, looking up at an extraordinary, and strange, world. This could have been Berio’s goal. The famous exclamation, “Why?” meant to be said by the trombonist is a memento from the composer’s childhood.

                                                    Grock the Clown

Berio, around age 11, saw Grock, a legendary clown, perform in his neighborhood. In the middle of the clown’s performance, he turned to the audience and said, simply, “warum?” meaning “why?” in German. Berio said, “I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, I wished I could do both of them.” Traditionally speaking, “Sequenza V” is not the type of piece that would bring tears to the eyes (or laughter… to the mouth?), but it certainly parallels the emotion Berio felt during Grock’s performance. Why must the trombonist sing and play at the same time? Why is the mute tapped against the bell? Why am I listening to this? Because pieces like these hold our interest. They aren’t the type of works we can predict, capricious like the emotions we will experience in our lives.  
The piece begins with short, accented notes and quickly dives into phrases with uneven stressed and staccato notes. The multiphonics begin almost immediately as well. The question is presented to the listener about one minute in—it grabs a hold of you early and doesn’t let go. This question is followed by a low B which morphs into a growling dog or airplane. It’s around this point in the piece you start asking yourself the same question Grock asked the audience, but Berio doesn’t seem to care—he keeps going with these rattling notes and even throws in a short reveille-like passage. The last few minutes of the piece wind down, down, and down. The trombone exits with a subdued E, making an eerie triad with the other fermata-ed note.
These words I have been writing simulate a review, right? But the only thing that is missing is criticism. I’m going to stay out of that realm for now, though. Berio’s “Sequenza V” for trombone so accurately captures the emotion of confusion, and criticizing it, to me, seems hypocritical in a sense. Sure, there may be people who will find flaws in it, but who am I to say what is wrong with a portrayal of an emotion?
So, let’s all go outside, stare at the confusing world, and ask ourselves, “Why?”  


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Along With the Red and White

            Rhapsody in Blue and America. I know, comparisons like these have been done almost to the point where starts and stripes reluctantly ooze out of their seams. Gershwin has become the Uncle Sam of music—at least, to those of us who are looking through classical glasses. But it seems as though a few paragraphs on the masterpiece are necessary in time, especially right after hearing a live performance. 
Rhapsody in Blue isn’t the National Anthem or anything. It doesn’t come blasting out of speakers at middle schools, and we can’t find its name on mass-produced patriotic bumper stickers at convenience stores. But its similarity to American culture is unavoidable. Not only is the style and overall genre American, but the method of composition, the composer, the usage of instruments, and many other aspects are too. The whole piece is easily morphed into a metaphor of American society. Perhaps this direct comparison was not at the intention of Gershwin, but a man like him has a hard time being un-American.
George Gershwin’s experience with writing the piece is not unknown to most classical music lovers. He, his brother Ira, and a friend were playing pool when Ira picked up a newspaper. An article read that George was to be writing a jazz concerto for Paul Whiteman to premiere at Aeolian Hall, to the surprise of George. He had talked to Whiteman about the piece but never knew that conversation was an official commission. With only five weeks left, Gershwin had to get working.  On a train ride to Boston, Gershwin was inspired. “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise... And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end,” George said.
The moods in Rhapsody are deceiving—they evoke things like trains and metropolis-walking, but it is hard to identify the specific passages that are directly linked to these inspirations. But that is what makes Gershwin’s writing spectacular; it isn’t obvious. There are no percussion instruments that imitate metal wheels clanking against tracks or deep whistles, and this is what makes it convincing; its mystery and ease of listening.
Our culture is constantly moving. Even though we have great downfalls, we are constantly accomplishing and creating. Rhapsody in Blue is a melting pot of styles. The whole work has an overall feeling of improvisation, and, obviously, jazz—how more American can you get than our country’s own genre? The Rhapsody has march-feeling tempos as well. Demonstrated in the later solos, America sometimes feels exhausted, but like a person it needs to be organized. The piano at one point jumps in energetically with a high-tempo solo that widens your eyes and forces your toes to tap feverishly, switching the path and unveiling yet another mood of the piece.
Bernstein conducting/piano solo-ing Gershwin's piece.

Gershwin’s solos are the legs of the piece. The clarinet glissando that sets the piece off wasn’t even part of the score originally, but added in during rehearsals after the clarinetist improvised it. American society, though stressful at times, is productive and demanding. The pace of writing and aspects like the glissando mirror our hurried velocity. Trains—one of the main inspirations of the piece—transport us and allow us to commute; they’re like our brains.
On the other hand, the clarinet slide is lethargic like someone dragging their feet. The trombone has this element too, and it represents another side to our society, the worn-down and tired one. The solo muted trumpet, Charlie-Brown-adult like in sound, has vocal and linguistic tones. It speaks with stresses, tonally upturning questions, and low, resolved sentence endings. It’s conversational and slangy, like the dozens of dialects and accents (and languages) in America. The French horn repeated three-note theme (E, E, D) does not stick to one beat and switches the strains—it is undecided but on tempo with the rest of the orchestra. American society is frantic at times, but our successes are notable. And the French horn solo is definitely a success.
Rhapsody in Blue coats the ears in city sounds, language, and beautiful solos. The piece is America’s looking glass—“I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness,” Gershwin said. Only a composer like Gershwin could piece notes together to convey not an emotion, not an image (thought he does those also), but a country, society, and group of people. Hopefully, Rhapsody in Blue can be considered in the saying with apple pie and baseball. But for now, I think I’m ok with just listening. 

Click here and here for two other pieces that have similar mysterious, transporting, and saturating qualities as the Rhapsody (even thought they are completely different).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dreams and Facebook

Click here to view a great article by Alex Ross about 2010 film scores. He beat me to it. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Soundtrack of Thoughts

Sometimes of his work sounds like throwing a handful of nails into a metal bowl. Other times it sounds like a swarm of ominous bees encircling a man who is fatally allergic. It often brings to mind someone trapped in a field of thorn bushes. Turned off, right?
But why must these sounds be thought of as ugly?
Georg Friedrich Haas’s works, inevitably, are often met by grimaces and ears clamped tight by palms.  Some of his music, like “Solo for Viola D’amore,” certainly isn’t similar to what you would hear if you turned on your local classical music radio station. But it is music. Modern music can be met with exclamations similar to those of the man standing in front of an abstract painting—“My 5-year-old granddaughter could have painted that!” If that man were to hear Haas, he might say something similar relating to composition. But the thing is, his 5-year-old granddaughter didn’t compose it, and although he may not realize it, she couldn’t have (unless she is a musical prodigy, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here). Modern music deserves respect, whether we listen to it for pleasure or for more academic reasons. Most of Haas’s music isn't something one would pop in the CD player to listen to for fun. But it is music that is listened to; moreover, it is music that makes you think.
Haas is a European composer, born in 1953 in Graz, Austria. Until recently, he thought of himself as a “complete failure” of a composer, and was always an outsider as a child. He grew up in Vorarlberg, Switzerland, a mountainous valley that rarely let in sun. He didn’t think of nature as a part of him but more as an enemy, and those emotions are imprinted on his compositions. Haas studied composition at the University of Music and Drama in Graz with Gösta Neuwirth and Ivan Eröd and participated in multiple festivals. “I learned from Eröd – apart from many things about the craft of composition – one principle above all else: that the measure of everything is Man, that is, the possibilities inherent in human perception,” Haas told Universal Edition. He has been described as a “spectral” composer because of his nonconformity to traditional harmonic structures and tunings. Haas’s upbringing and overall personality affect his work tremendously, and permanently brand his name on all his works.
“String Quartet No. 2,” among other works by Haas, is dissonant and alien-like. What truly makes this a Haas work is its nonexistent structure (at least, to the naked eye). But it is not a meaningless span of notes—with some examination, it proves to be more of a stream of consciousness piece with organization. The phrases are constantly changing mood and form, like a growing plant or human. Some notes at times prevail over others, and there are consistent sforzandos, crescendos, decrescendos, and surprising accents. And yet the whole piece has a sense of unity.
 "String Quartet No. 2" starts out as a single note from the cello; a C. The violins and viola meet this dynamically unstable note with brush strokes of C's and G's, and for a while the instruments are dissonantly lamenting, almost. The cello hacks away at the strings after the first five minutes or so. This action is paired with quick cries from the other instruments and subtle tonally-climbing notes that one would place in parts of horror movies. After this, the instruments play multiple pitch falls that sound uncannily like a kennel of dogs whimpering after their departing owners. Some of the most mesmerizing passages are when the strings all begin playing different pitches and crawl their way together into homophony. Vibrato is rare, and one of the only times it happens is in the center of the piece played by a lone violin. Nearing the end of the piece, the instruments quietly agree, all playing notes that traditionally link together, such as an E-flat major chord and an F major chord. The piece ends on a unified B after many upward-rising notes, a half-step lower than the first note played.
Conventional harmony is atypical in the piece, and the listener is surprised when it happens. This seems to have been Haas’s goal, to expose his followers to so many different sounds that it makes them dive into the worlds of dissonance. He certainly succeeded.
In Haas’s world, there wouldn’t be “traditional.” There wouldn't be “pretty.” There wouldn’t be “normal music” or “different music.” There would be sound. And that’s all. 
Here's the first half of the piece. Click here to hear the second half. This piece is also very representative of Haas's string works.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rachmaninoff Didn't Call Me Back

            “I heard she went on a date with Ravel and didn’t tell anyone.”
            “Well, I heard that Berlioz was planning on popping the question last night, but Shostakovich did last week. Now he’s going to have to wait for at least a month.”
Relationships with composers can get complicated. We look up to them for long periods of time, and it’s almost impossible to see their flaws or quirks—everything they do is perfect. We develop obsessions with certain ones. First we get to know them, we begin to spend time with them, and soon we have crushes, we smile with familiarity when their themes and musical mannerisms pop up in our heads. We see our favorites as gods who can do no wrong, not as people with personalities like everyone else. But what if you found out your true love was planning a murder? What if your imaginary boyfriend was a serial bank robber? Of course not, we say. Oh yes, the composers reply.
            Maybe the famous composers we have all come to love aren’t the type of people who would be found behind bars, necessarily, but they certainly all weren’t as well-rounded as their compositions. This may be hard to take for some people who have spent significant amounts of time with their favorites. But it is interesting to wonder; who would you be friends with if you lived in the 1800s? Who would you write letters to, and who would you gossip about? Schumann might be your favorite composer today, but would you have liked him had you met him? We will never truly know, but we can guess.
            Richard Wagner is a composer associated with changing the opera world. He was and still is loved by many, from his 13 operas and other compositions to his operatic literature.  He began composing at the age of 15 and influences others throughout the rest of his life with his operas like The Flying Dutchman and his Ring Cycle. What’s not to love?
Wagner was an anti-Semitic, something that would make him unlikable to many people today. Perhaps, during his time period, it was acceptable to his social circle, but if Wagner was a 21st century man, working in an office building in New York, riding around in subways, wearing Fruit of the Loom brand collared shirts, chances are he would be extremely excluded because of his views. His essay, “Jewishness in Music”, even states, “With all our speaking and writing in favour of the Jews' emancipation, we always felt instinctively repelled by any actual, operative contact with them.” That would not sit well with most modern world citizens. Additionally, with all his prejudice against Jews, he would cast them in his operas and underpay them. Wagner’s music may have been revolutionary, but he certainly wasn’t a revolutionary humanitarian.
Wagner was also incredibly arrogant. “I am not made like other people. I must have brilliance and beauty and light. The world owes me what I need. I can’t live on a miserable organist’s pittance like your master, Bach,” he allegedly said. One may cry with happiness when listening to Wagner’s compositions, but it is not unlikely he would get a slap to the face or two if he lived in modern times. Wagner would constantly ask for money from people, even when he did not need it and his reasons were absurd. No one can question his brilliance, but one can certainly question his pleasantness. 
Franz Liszt was, in his day, Elvis, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, and Mick Jagger. If Liszt lived in modern times, he would most likely stay single for a week at most. But Liszt could not help tampering with other composers’ music—he would create his own variations on Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, and others. “He could be kind and generous, yet could turn around and be arrogant and capricious,” writes Harold C. Schonberg in The Lives of the Great Composers. Chopin once said, “I am writing without knowing what my pen is scribbling, because at this moment Liszt is playing my études and putting honest thoughts out of my head. I should like to rob him of the way he plays my etudes.” Liszt may have been handsome, showy, and likable, but to his peers he was often seen possibly as, to use a more modern term, a sell-out. He also had numerous affairs with multiple women. Liszt was a man many people would be happy to have in their company, but to his colleagues, he may have been a subject of gossip.
Claude Debussy’s flaws were more subtle, but his personality can be seen as arrogant and uncouth. Debussy can be compared to a modern day term, “hipster”—he hated the term “impressionist” and insisted not to be one. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but Debussy also seemed to scoff slightly at anything that he didn’t compose. He also had affairs while he was married. Debussy had a girlfriend he lived with, Gaby, but proposed to Mademoiselle Thérèse Roger at the same time. After both of these women, he married Lilly Texier, a model, and had another affair with Emma Bardac. “Lilly did not take this well—she attempted suicide by shooting herself in the chest, but survived,” writes Elizabeth Lunday in Secret Lives of Great Composers. Debussy changed the course of music in his time, but he also changed the happiness of many women.
Composers are the role models of numerous people. They are the soundtracks to many of our lives—without Barber’s "Adagio for Strings," how else could we express our sadness? Without Vivaldi’s “Spring,” how could we live our triumphs to the fullest? Some composers, though, we would never want to spend time with in the modern world. But even though they might have not been the most pleasant, they were geniuses. Our true loves all have flaws, and we still love them.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Epiphany from John

“Epiphany.” The word brings to mind Edison-style light bulbs illuminating above someone’s head. It’s a synonym for the exclamation, “Aha!”  We think of scientists rushing to their laboratories and feverishly writing down notes. But does an epiphany have to be a sudden realization of a fact? Do we who have them have to then have information that is useful to the world? According to a dictionary, the images that come to mind don’t correctly describe the definition of the word. But I feel as though if I use this word I’m expected to be able to write a physics report. Can an epiphany just be a feeling, one that fills up an empty part of us like a water balloon? Yes, I discovered. Webster told me so.
            I have always known that classical music has been a part of my life, so much so it’s like a phantom limb. Without being painfully cliché, that passion has been like a crescendo over the past few years. I’ve steadily begun to branch out into different periods and composers. Naturally and chronologically, I started out obsessing over Chopin, then Debussy, and now John Adams. Adams has become my composer crush. One of the most exciting moments in the past week was receiving my “Century Rolls” score in the mail; I reacted like a professional baseball player might upon getting a new bat. It was, and still is, my shiny new toy. I became interested in Adams after hearing about him at a small weekly concert series I volunteer at; his works mesmerized me. 
            Adams is the perfect composer to love. He has composed in many different formats, from chamber to concerto to program music. He is modern without being confusing—different yet understandable. He is intelligent, the titles of his pieces entice, and he isn’t just a name. Adams is involved in everything he does—he is the creative chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he has been on the faculty of composition at the San Francisco Conservatory, has been the composer in residence at the San Francisco Symphony, and many other accomplishments. He brings minimalism to the forefront of accessible classical music today.  And we as classical lovers need this to happen.
            My epiphany came to me a few days ago. I attended a live broadcast of a Los Angeles Philharmonic. Living in a small-ish town, I jump on every chance I can to see performances like these, certainly ones that don’t come attached to a $300 plane ticket and $150 seat in the Disney Concert Hall. I was one of the only people there. I bought a large Dr. Pepper, sat in the spacious handicapped row, and I was ready to go.  The performance was dolled up. Vanessa Williams as the host, multiple backstage interviews with Gustavo Dudamel, and a past performance of Kelley O’Connor were not needed. But “Slonimky’s Earbox” was.
            “Slonimsky’s Earbox” was a piece of orchestral music I had listened to on my IPod many times. I was pretty familiar with it, enough to smirk with acquaintance when the muted trumpets started to wail and the timpani came in, roaring. But something was different this time. Seeing the musicians blow, hammer, and bow their instruments with such purpose gave “Slonimsky’s” even more life than it already had—it was on overdrive, and it was like a new piece to my Adams-seasoned ears.
            If someone you had just met told you to come over to their house, and they lived in a city you were not familiar with, what would you do? Probably ask for directions or a map. But if you were given a talking GPS, one with a map and vocal prompts, it is likely you would get there easier than if you had one of those two methods of direction. The same idea goes with seeing and hearing a piece being played. If one were to watch a performance on a muted television, one would only get some of the emotion. If one were to listen to it, even more. But if one watches a full performance with audio and visual, the emotion gotten out of it doubles. Watching Dudamel’s iconic curls bounce along with Adams’s score was hypnotizing.
            The Disney Concert Hall acoustics also contributed to the experience. When fused together, Adams, the orchestra, and the performance space can make a simple inverted C major chord in the strings sound like nothing anyone has ever heard. The three-note chord is played one note at a time, it materializes out of nothing, then is cut off suddenly and bounces off the walls. I was left sitting in my purple, over-cushioned chair with my mouth open and the Dr. Pepper sitting stunned in my stomach. The overall theme emerges again, all of the instruments scurrying around, hunting and gathering, searching for prey in the silver-lined architecture of the Hall. The listener is left with their eyes darting around, not sure where to look, when the timpani and muted trumpets shout once again, give one last cry, and Dudamel’s hair lands back on his scalp, exhausted.
            John Adams has constructed a jewel. It’s something you can put in your pocket—no movements, no overbearing soloists, something you can talk about all in one conversation. “Slonimsky’s Earbox” has all of John Adams’s musical mannerisms rolled into one piece, and it brought along my epiphany. The piece summed up my love for music all in one moment—I cannot explain the feeling, but I had a serious case of goose-bumps and felt filled to the brim, satisfied. I learned that I can listen to a piece of music multiple times, but no matter how familiar with it I am, it will never cease to change my life the next time I hear it. Next time I have an epiphany I won’t have to consult a dictionary first, and won’t feel like I have to write a report on it. But look at what I just did.
Nicolas Slonimsky, the "failed wunderkind" (his words), composer, musicologist, and writer that Adams' piece was named after. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

1, and, 2, and, 3, and...

                Blog. Blogger. Blogging. Blog…esque?
                The word has come to fit to every grammatical form in the book. As soon as one starts to blog, they become a blogger, and so forth. As I start to post my thoughts, perspectives, opinions, and comparisons onto this page, I hope to be thought of as a writer. Because that is what I’m doing.
                So I suppose this is a “hello.” My name is Elena, and I will be writing about sound—music, more specifically, and classical music even more exclusively. Reviews may pop up, comparisons of similar artists could appear, and essays-like posts will be common. I hope to express my feelings well, and that readers will find themselves either nodding, saying “hmmm,” laughing, or thinking (or combinations of the four?). Come as you like, read what you want, and just keep listening.