Commission Music

Commission Music
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Saturday, 20 November 2004

String Quartet, etc

The Flux Quartet last night played my string quartet along with the quartets of the other graduate composers. They're great musicians. The concert went well. IT's nice to hear something I wrote actually get played. I was a bit nervous, but everything went fine. That's one nice thing about not playing your own stuff is that it's out of your hands and so there's no need for too much nervousness. Lots of folks said they like dhte piece. When I get a recording, I'll make an mp3 available.

After the concert, it seemed like the entire music department was at Elis. We took up half the place. Tom came for the concert. It was fun.

Slept in super late today, but I'm going to get done everything I need to get done before my dad comes. I'll be runnign around tommorrow. I emailed a professor about how to write a proposal for the upcoming Kent State Symposium. I'm excited about it. I want to go even if I'm not presenting, since I'm on a political music kick. I've never written a proposal before. I wonder if I can ask to give a paper and ask to play some music, or I just need to pick one or the other. I'm no expert on this topic, but I was listening to American Maveriks talking about how in the 1930's progressive politics were linked with musical conservativism, which you can hear in the music of Aaron Copland. This is also evident in the music of a later radical, Cornielius Cardew. But in the vietnam era and later, some progressive musicians were making experimental works, like Steve Reich's Come Out and It's Gonna Rain. A guy named Sten Hanson wrote a brilliant piece of text art sound poetry (or whatever you call it) called The Glorious Desertion. Both Reich and Hanson seemed to be reaching out to an urban audience who were likely to agree with them. This is a necessary part of poltical movements: rallying the troops. However, in these times in the United States, it's imparative that urban activists reach out to red-staters and find common ground with them. The arts are an important vehicle for this. Is it possible to do this without becoming musically conservative? One possible answer might lie with Paul De Marinis' piece Cincinnati, which is perhaps the most brilliant political piece of music ever written. On the album Music as a Second Language, that piece is followed by another piece called The Power of Suggestion, which by itself is an excellent piece of music, but coupled with Cincinnati is just incredibly powerful.

Relatedly, I think I've found the pundit for my next piece, a guy called Imus. He wants to nuke Palestine and maybe the rest of the Middle East. Mocking the funeral of Arafat. I think this is a good clip to use because it really shows the connectedness of the diverse progressive affinity groups. Imus used the phrase "bearded fatwa fairy." Racism meets religious descrimination meets homophobia. We cannot have peace at home without peace abroad and vice verses. When some of us are being scapegoated, all of us are. I also want to note that these highly offensive comments were boradcast on NBC. NBC! Even during the Reagan era, things were not like this. So how do we counter these messages? How do we reach out to red staters and say "we're right and you're wrong" without pissing them off? We're up against decades of divisive radio. Decades of anti-art. Decades of anti-logical reasoning and pro faith. Yeah, I think their religion is wrong. It's handicapping them. Cutting of rational thought is like cutting off some fingers. If there was a religion that made it's members cut off their fingers it would be a cult. But hampering their brains is a-ok. The US is two countries. One is urban and first world. And the other is rural and not first world. We think we can connect with them on issues about labor, but those issues are incidental to their larger world-view. So then what?

Yeah, I'm just angry that Bush won and that NBC thinks it's ok to use the word fairy and advocate genocide. Before the election, it was all going to be about "security moms" who are freaked out about terrorism and don't care about domestic issues. But now those security moms are all supposed to be homophobic. I thought they didn't care about domestic issues? Not that those are seperate issues as NBC had made clear with it's diatribes about "raghead" "faries".

And I'm aware that my position that reason is superior to faith is, in itself, a matter of faith. However, it disturbs me that those things might be seen as incompatible.


Jesse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Les said...

i sent email to a wesleyan professor asking how to do this, not a kent state person.

Jesse said...

Oops. I think I just deleted my post. I had written:

Hey, I'm applying to present at the Kent State conference too. My paper's going to talk about the effectiveness of political experimental movement [sic, music] in aiding social movements. I would have submitted an installation, but it won't be ready by the submission deadline.Who'd you email?