ART/4/LIFE: #6 – Carlo Gesualdo

Carlo Gesualdo, the Prince of Venosa, is one of the great myths in Western music. He’s remembered for his sinister acts of vengeance as much as he is for penning intensely chromatic and passionate madrigals, which, even today sound terrifyingly modern. However, his music is deceptively anachronistic. At the same time he thrust word painting beyond the […]

The Influence of Place

Inuksuit, University of Richmond, 2013 This wonderful piece by John Luther Adams shows how twenty-five years in Alaska have shaped his music and life. Adams details his quaint studio on a plot outside of Fairbanks. The shelves inside survey his development: musical writings by Henry Cowell, John Cage, and his mentor, Lou Harrison, scores by Stravinsky and […]

Reel Sounds… Mica Levi’s Under the Skin

I’m a film music junkie and 2014 produced some especially noteworthy scores. I’ve wanted to mention my favorites on this site for longer than I care to admit. So here it goes. From now on, I’ll regularly pluck out a score, that, for whatever reason, I find intriguing. From time to time, I also plan to pontificate […]

Stay on Target

I want to share a few quick thoughts about Julius Eastman, one of my favorite composers. Eastman was a gifted pianist and vocalist who wrote ecstatic music with often incendiary titles like Gay Guerilla and Evil Nigger (he was both African American and openly gay). As a vocalist, he was renowned for his 1973 recording of Peter Maxwell Davies Eight Songs for […]

Lost Lineages: ერთი

“and the heavens…” I’ve recently started thinking of history like the vectors of a Google Map. Begin with epoch-defining events and slowly enhance the perspective to discover what the grasshoppers were talking about last night. This way of seeing the continuity between levels of events is useful for constructing lineages in music. I bring this up because I […]