Friday, August 20, 2004

cheating, lying, stealing

A good link via Tim's Rambler Blog; Iridian radio looks (and sounds) great;

"If you want to hear really provocative "new music" that actually is new, or at least created in the last couple of decades, then check out Iridian Radio. You'll hear music of artists such as John Adams, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Iva Bittova, Tan Dun, Kronos Quartet, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, and many more".

I'm listening to it right now; currently they're playing a wondeful piece by David Lang; Cheating, Lying, Stealing, which is well worth hunting down. The composer describes it as follows.

"A couple of years ago, I started thinking about how so often when classical composers write a piece of music, they are trying to tell you something that they are proud of and like about themselves--Here's this big gushing melody, see how emotional I am. Or, here's this abstract hard-to-figure-out piece, see how complicated I am, see my really big brain. I am more noble, more sensitive, I am so happy. The composer really believes he or she is exemplary in this or that area. It's interesting, but it's not very humble. So I thought, What would it be like if composers based pieces on what they thought was wrong with them? Like, here's a piece that shows you how miserable I am. Or, here's a piece that shows you what a liar I am, what a cheater I am. I wanted to make a piece that was about something disreputable. It's a hard line to cross. You have to work against all your training. You are not taught to find the dirty seams in music. You are not taught to be low-down, clumsy, sly and underhanded. In Cheating, Lying, Stealing, although phrased in a comic way, I am trying to look at something dark. There is a swagger, but it is not trustworthy. In fact, the instruction on the score for how to play it says: Ominous funk."

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