2013. The OPEN SPACE magazine (issue 15/16; fall 2013/winter 2014)

[This review is NOT elegant]


review of


by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, Practicing Promotextal - January 19-27, 2014

full version:


short version:



In Elaine Barkin's OPEN SPACE 15/16 article "Telling it SLANT or In Search of the Early Years or 'A Sitting on a Gate'", a remembering of her involvement w/ the magazine Perspectives of New Music (reprinted from the same as it appeared in Volume 20, Nos. 1 & 2 (2012)), she describes PNM in a way that cd just as easily be a description of OPEN SPACE:

"In 1980, the Big Fat White issue included complex theoretical-philosophical discourse by Robert Morris, John Clough, David Lewin, and John Rahn, sitting in the same pew with Arthur Margolin's evocative "Mozart's D major String Quartet / k 593 / mm. 53-56" (four measures to die for: ERB), preceded by Wallace Berry's "Symmetrical Interval Sets and Derivative Pitch Materials in Bartók's String Quartet No. 3", my own "A Dedication / Five ADmusementS, & A Digression", all coming after a 250 page riot of texts celebrating Kenneth Gaburo" - pp 350-351

"Ben's stunning "TALK. If I am a Musical Thinker." melding with Naomi's arresting Rohrschachian ink-blobs, its layout created with the assistance of Bruce Huber, beckoning reader-viewer-listener. But many had been crying "foul", hiss-filled air reeked again; several Yale graduate music theory students hassled me in 1981 with: "it's just poetry"-as if "poetry" was a dirty word, as if expressive verbal language was an irrelevance; did "IT" belong in The Academy, in Music-Talk? Did they-or whoever they were speaking for-think that they "owned" Perspectives?" - p 351

"For many of us, Perspectives had become a utopian vision, communitas. Why not dream of better ways of doing things?; being inclusive, responsible but not narrowly responsive to any one way" - p 351

"It was more like a Crazy Quilt, each unique patch from a different expressive-investigative corner of the emerging, diversely un-unified multicultural music-analytic-theoreticspeculative-soundscape." - p 351

Now I, alas, don't have any issues of Perspectives of New Music in my otherwise very substantial personal archive/library - probably b/c it was mainly aimed at academia where high prices cd be pd for its sustenance & where the majority, if not the entirety, of its readership & contributors lived anyway. The same observation cd be aimed at <u>OPEN SPACE</u> as well: after all, single issues are priced at $45, double issues (like the one being reviewed here) at $80, & even the student rates price per issue is $38! The "utopian vision, [the] communitas" definitely doesn't include people outside that financially luxurious environ as far as purchase access goes.

Nonetheless, many OPEN SPACE recordings, tapes & CDs, had cheaply wended their way into my collection before I ever made contact w/ OPEN SPACE's editors & I've since found these folks to be generous & exceptionally open-minded. If they weren't, I wd've never been included in 2 issues so far - occupying, as I do, a place in what many wd consider to be a 'lunatic fringe'.

In many ways that are important to me, I IDENTIFY w/ Barkin's statement: consider this seemingly trivial instance: she places commas after quotation marks - something that some people to this day find almost insufferably heretical even tho I, personally, do the same thing & find it quite logical. & there are many things in Barkin's descriptions above that resonate w/ my own experiences in different environments. Take, eg, "several Yale graduate music theory students hassled me in 1981 with: "it's <i>just</i> poetry"-as if "poetry" was a dirty word, as if expressive verbal language was an irrelevance": in the mid 1990s I was a participant in a list-serv for improvisors called PhiBa, for Philadelphia-Baltimore, where I had similar experiences to those that Barkin had w/ the Yale students.

In one thread I participated by cutting & pasting other people's comments & reorganizing them into a more experimental text wch I then posted as a continuation of the thread. My logic was that I was playing w/ the list-serv as a way to improvise, using, of course, the musician's common imitation & recontextualization technique, thinking that I was moving the discourse onto a level on a par w/ everyone's purported interest. There was an uproar, a strong voicing of disapproval to the effect that 'I didn't join this list-serv for poetry!!' I didn't get the impression that anyone even noticed that I was quoting from previous postings. Ironically, 2 of the people who protested the most were 2 Pittsburgh-based musicians that I'd encouraged to join the list.

Since I'd been a prime mover in the improvisation community in BalTimOre before moving to Pittsburgh where I once again became involved w/ improvising, it seemed fit to me that the participation of PGH peops justified renaming the list-serv PhiBaPit or some such. I even went so far as to propose that the Washington DC participants be acknowledged in the name as well. My proposal was met w/ stony silence. This was clearly a snobbish closed circle.

I repeatedly submitted info about an upcoming event I was organizing to the PhiBa improvising calendar: the Anonymous Family Reunion to take place at Ringing Rocks State Park & at the Sonambient Theater where Harry Bertoia's sound sculptures are housed. Both locations are in eastern Pennsylvania w/in fairly easy driving distance of Philly & B-More. These locales were chosen for their extraordinary potential as places for site-specific improvising. But, apparently since they weren't 'conventional' improvising events at a club or gallery, my promotion was ignored by the administrator of PhiBa & not posted in the calendar. When I finally complained about this, the moderator acted frostily as if I were just being an asshole. When the Anonymous Family Reunion finally happened in the late summer of 1997, only one participant came from PhiBa. He & I are still friends 16+ yrs later. It probably wasn't much after this that I dropped off the list-serv. W/ the exception of the very few friends & collaborators that I met thru it, it was mostly a waste of time.

OPEN SPACE 15/16 begins w/ a memorial from Benjamin Boretz, the founder of PNM & coeditor (& presumed cofounder) of OPEN SPACE , for composer/teacher Harold Shapero (1920-2013). As Barkin writes about the 1st issue of PNM from the Fall of 1962 it had a "memoriam to Irving Fine who died way too young and also with whom Ben and I had studied at Brandeis" (p 346) &, Lo & Behold!, here's another tribute to a Brandeis music prof that Boretz studied w/ who managed to hang in there until 51 yrs later after the 1st issue of PNM! Long live longevity!

Boretz describes Shapero as a "local young-turk jazzpianist all-music wunderkind, [who] was not yet 35, inconceivably young for an actual official professor." (p 1) To quote Wikipedia: "The Young Turks [..] was a Turkish nationalist reform party in the early 20th century, favoring reformation of the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Empire." "The term "Young Turks" has since come to signify any groups or individuals inside an organization who aggressively pursue liberal or progressive policies, or advocate for reform." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Turks )

I 1st recall encountering the term as, perhaps, the tile of a publication from the late 1970s or early 1980s by artist Stephen Seemayer about artists that he appreciated in LA & its rough urbanity, including himself. More recently, however, in a 2005 record called Totalitarian Sodomy by punk band "World Burns to Death" I encountered a song called "All the Young Turks" about wch they write "This song is inspired by a poem called "The Bride", written by poet Siamanto (real name Atom Yarjanian) who was born in 1878 and died in 1915, one of the first of the 1.5-million people murdered by the Young Turks movement during the Armenian genocide." That puts quite a different spin on things, eh?!

Back to Boretz: "Harold himself wrote about "the musical mind" as a manifestation of subconscious processes". (p 1) while this article is brief, it's still highly welcome to me b/c I only have 2 records w/ Shapero's music on it & don't really know his work at all. One of these is on the Columbia Masterworks series - one of the highest recommendations - & is a playing of his "String Quartet No. 1" (I'm listening to it now). The other is on The Louisville Orchestra's First Edition Records & is his "Credo for Orchestra" (I'll listen to it next). Boretz praises Shapero's "Symphony for Classical Orchestra". Perhaps I'll get to hear that someday.

Perhaps the person whose articles herein excited me the most is James Hullick, or ")-(Ull!c]<" as he (almost) writes it here. In his "Never Mind the Bollocks" he says: "Meditating on sonic art as an act of social conscience can lead to philosophy; and specifically the interabilities agenda. "Interabilities" is a term that denotes the interaction of people of all abilities. As an agenda for sonic practice, it describes people of varying abilities working together toward some sonic outcome. In and of itself, the term "interabilities" does not have anything to do with the quality of a sonic outcome. People of all abilities could be working together to make absolute rubbish and the term "interabilities" would be met. But the ethics behind interabilities activities elevates the activities beyond this broader blanket term. In the case of sound, for example, if people of all abilities work together to produce a truly dreadful concert, then the positive ethic and social benefit of the interabilities agenda can be lost. The audience may have suffered. It lies at the heart of the interabilities agenda that interabilities activities will eventually strive to inspire participants and audiences alike to our greatest vision of humanity - where all people stand equal in society, and where all abilities are considered of equal worth to the wider human mission." (p 6)

Now, I very much like this statement & laud the term "interabilities" wch I've never encountered before & wch )-(Ull!c]< may very well have coined. HOWEVER, I question some of its implications: )-(Ull!c]< being the guider of these interabled activities is in some sense the composer. He's also, presumably, being pd to be an interabilities facilitator. In his ideal interabilities scenario do ALL PARTICIPANTS have equal access to being the guide/facilitator & to equal pay? Also, are ALL PARTICIPANTS going to be in agreement on what a "truly dreadful concert" is & will someone's opinion be more privileged in relation to this? ()-(Ull!c]<'5, eg?) & will they all be in agreement that "if people of all abilities work together to produce a truly dreadful concert, then the positive ethic and social benefit of the interabilities agenda can be lost"? & that "The audience may have suffered"? &/or even that this 'suffering' is a bad thing? I've been told by 'friends' of mine who know close to nothing about what I do that my 'obvious' intention is 'just to irritate people' - this b/c I produce dense & challenging work that people find difficult to process - hence, it 'must' be 'sadistic'. NOT.

Cf this excerpt from my own article in this issue, "30 4 5 + 97.9": "my 1st reel-to-reel recorded audio piece from 1976: dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada A part of the significance of this latter was that it is a piece designed to be easily performable by almost anyone & that what wd distinguish one performance from another cd just as validly be the performers' incompetence or other foibles as well as their skills & strengths. This was an important 1st step for me in stepping outside of the disciplines of classical music into what I usually now refer to as "Low Classical Usic"." (pp 200-201)

The idea being here is that this, too, is an example of an interabilities situation but there is no such thing as a "truly dreadful concert" & whether "The audience [considers itself to] have suffered" or not is irrelevant - unless actual nonconsensual physical pain (psychological pain can be a bit harder to assess) is being induced. &, of course, I am the d composer here &, despite the extreme d liberate simplicity of the score/title, my function as such places me in a unique unequal position in relation to the performers.

)-(Ull!c]< does address possibilities that other more people living in a more insulated world wdn't even think of in their delusional utopian imaginings. That's one of the things that leads to my respecting his article(s) so much. "So while I think an interabilities agenda should be open to the experience of darkness that many people feel, I also think that we can find ways of embracing both the darkness and the light, that don't end in murder." (p 10) "The project responded to the story of Milarepa, a Buddhist saint from the 11th century (c. 1052-1135) who had started life out as a mass-murderer." (p 10) I'm reminded of an interview w/ John Waters from several decades ago. He'd made Pink Flamingos in wch his drag queen star, Divine (named after a Jean Genet character), actually ate dog shit. Waters remarked about changing the direction of his filmmaking b/c 'To be more shocking I would've had to kill somebody and I wasn't going to do that.'

In a promotional email sent out announcing this issue, the OPEN SPACE editors proclaimed:

"As a longtime supporter, you already know something of our guiding aspiration to extend the boundaries and horizons of the community of creative thinkers and artmakers. After fifteen years of publication, we believe our new issue has broken through to a significantly new level toward that goal; we have produced a 364-page panoramic, kaleidoscopic book which is composed in a meaningful way to lead you through a huge diversity of subjects treated with consummate seriousness, personal investment, and creative originality.

"The current issue of The Open Space Magazine includes an introduction to magical practice"

& it's this latter sentence (chopped off in my excerpting of it here) that leads to my next comments. Robert Podgurski provides a "Graphic: First Enochian Call to Spirit" that I find interesting to look at in a similar way to the way I enjoy Visual Poetry or a score. Peteris Cedrins also contributes things occult-relevant. I particularly like his imagistic writing:

"'Twas the night before feminism, & all through the hows ... ... ... the stirrings of rats, & at night there are bats in your hair. The colibri of hope are finally kaput, to be eaten like ortolan. Laima's lord tells of the south wind, wch years ago brought blistering heat to the village. Between two to four hundred prostitutes were deported to northern Kazakhstan as anti-Societ elements. Kiss the doorknob, kids would say, & you'll see Riga. It was an iron doorknob, of course, In the dead of winter. Lick it. Eat the bunting." - p 33

Other Podgurski sigils & a poem close the issue. The PNM logo in White's article quoted above looks very much like a sigil too. I'm reminded of my own fanciful theory that sigils are actually circuit diagrams for controlling energy flow (both metaphorically & directly). Maybe someday I'll actually build circuits somehow based on them & see what happens when electricity is introduced.

As w/ White's recalling that "several Yale graduate music theory students hassled me in 1981 with: "it's just poetry"-as if "poetry" was a dirty word, as if expressive verbal language was an irrelevance" & can easily imagine that happening here in reference to "an introduction to magical practice". But, to me, it's the mindset that I'm interested in. One ex-girlfriend who was a poet was interested in experimental writing but her tastes in relation to music were pop all the way. I've never understood that. Why differentiate so between disciplines? It's the experimentation that does it for me.

On the other hand, the more I understand ritual, the less I like it. It seems that most people's lives center around ritual w/o their being the least aware of it. One person says "I love you" to someone & this 2nd person must say "I love you" in reply. It's call & response. For the purposes of ritual, it doesn't matter whether either person means it - the repetition gives the feeling that 'all-is-right-in-the-world' & closure is provided - even when it's all a big lie. People mistake the big repetition (that ritual provides) for the big truth. People who go thru the conventional motions of 'loving', eg, don't have to actually be loving to rest content w/ themselves.

Benjamin Boretz begins his "The Universe of One, And, the Music of the Other" w/ "I am going to say some things, I am going to read some things, I am going to play somethings. [But first I want to express my sorrow for the people who were killed and hurt in Boston yesterday...once again, there seems no way to assimilate events of that nature into the scope of these concerns of ours which normally feel so urgent..." (p 35) But there're many ways "to assimilate events of that nature into the scope of these concerns of ours", such as the work of )-(Ull!c]<, & OPEN SPACE is certainly working in that direction, if not already there - can we ever be 'there' as long as anyone's still in such a hurry to commit atrocities?

& perhaps the following excerpt from Boretz is somehow relevant to my comments above about experimentation & ritual: "So ­ originary experience indelibly marks each of us, ontologizing our consciousness from that point forward so as to ­ at least ­ color every experience thenceforth in a way that is locked into our own individual historical progression. At the gross-consciousness level, the register of practical and social life, the chaos that you could imagine resulting from strenuous and critical interactions of beings experientially opaque to one another is avoided by the imposition of culture ­ that is, the tyranny of conventional wisdom that tells you how to interpret what is happening, what to think of it, and, indeed, what it is that is in fact happening." (p 36) This "tyranny of conventional wisdom that tells you how to interpret what is happening" is what I call "Stereotype Projecting" & is one of the rituals that I find most hampering of perception.

This text of Ben's having been apparently for a lecture (the 1st italicized quote being from a spontaneous introduction to a presentation of it), the 1st section, "The Universe of One", ends w/ a list of the music to be played during the reading of the 2nd part, "And, the Music of the Other":


1. As music enters me (music: Lament for Sarah)

2. As my music enters you (music: Lament for Sarah)

3. As your music enters me (music: Randall: ("...such words as it were vain to close...")

4. You want gynophobia (music: Hendrix/Coltrane collage)

5. As our music enters us (music: inter/ play session: "don't be so polite")

6. As this music enters this room (music: Mahler: Symphony 5, Adagietto) " - p 38

& after the music-backed section ends, a new part begins: "So I was very interested when Michael Dellaira asked me to review some "new music" for his magazine, New Music Connoisseur. So that I could do the work to bridge the aesthetic, and, really, the generation gap." (p 43) The "generation gap"? I haven't encountered that expression in so long it seems almost from a different generation to even use it - of course, the "generation gap" still exists. As long as things keep changing so quickly, it 'always' will. The latest iGeneration is growing up holding glowing screens in their hands & becoming more & more Asperger's Syndrome. Will the generation AFTER this one not even be able to converse anymore? Even having categories for music outside of "band" & "song" might only be overcome someday by bridging a generation gap that might get shorter & shorter, less & less based in generations & more & more based in whatever technology is most in use by wch age group. Instead of "baby boomers", maybe we'll have "iPod boomers", quickly rendered 'obsolete' by "GPS brain implant boomers".

Next up is Mark So's "text composition - scores and structure after 4'33"" begins w/:

"In 2006, Christian Wolff came to CalArts and played a record of some Renaissance vocal music, by Ockeghem. He explained that it was a canon, and the reason we heard it as such (if we heard it as such) wasn't that we could actually hear the differing mensuration of the voices, slowly splintering a single melodic idea in time between and thus driving the form, but for its distinctive, recognizable noise." - p 46

Now I have the highest respect for Wolff's music. I dearly love most of his work - but it seems like this issue of OPEN SPACE has at least 2 Wolff instances referenced where I find myself disagreeing w/ Wolff. What I interpret Wolff to mean in the above quote is that the "noise" referenced is the gestalt, the whole of it rather than the particulars - or maybe he means more literally the more complex sounds that result as the melodic lines digress from each other. If he means the latter then it seems to me that in order for the "noise" to be recognizable as a canon that there must be a type of noise that's particular to canons. I don't think I believe that. If he does mean gestalt, an overall noise effect that's exclusive to canons, I don't think I agree w/ that either b/c that seems too 'snap-shot'ty to me, too much like a generalization that doesn't factor in time. Wolff's idea may be thought provoking but I think what's probably the more conventional take on things, viz: that the perceiver is hearing a quantifiable process & IDing it as such rather than recognizing a characteristic "noise" harmony, is the one I agree w/.

Thinking about Wolff I think of the famous story where he plays a piano piece of his for a class w/ the windows open allowing car noises & the like to dominate the classroom soundscape to the point where the piano piece is mostly inaudible. A student requests that the window be closed & that the piece be played again so that the student can hear it. Wolff agrees but says it's unnecessary b/c the environmental sounds are acceptable as part of the piece. WELLLLL.. that's all well & good & Zen n'at but the thing is that Wolff was in a situation where people actually wanted to hear the piece. Wolff, it seems to me, is taking that for granted - he knows that the interest is there so he can dismiss it.

I can all too easily imagine a situation where I might want to play a piece of mine for students who wd rather hear just about anything else, including street sounds, than hear what I have to offer. I can't casually take their interest for granted & then dismiss it in the security of that interest, I have to negotiate the disinterest or outright hostility if I want the work to be experienced by anyone other than myself. The average idiot wd then, of course, say: 'Well then why don't you play something they want to hear?' B/c what they want to hear is what they already 'know' & my purpose is to expose them to something they don't 'know'.

So's thematic thrust is, perhaps, best summed up in this short quote: "Clearing the score's slate with regard to structure, 4'33" draws not a blank but a text: it invents a new genre of writing music, which proposes and defines the project for realizing a piece using not musical notation or graphic imagery, but ordinary language. No longer charged with illustrating the work, the score is set free to operate as a text like never before. Now, constituted in a generic set of defined potentials, the score instigates faithful realizations which may fragment over and over, each time producing a purely particular and contingent work". (p 47)

I don't have any problem giving the highest credit to 4'33" - I mention it in my own article. Where I diverge, I reckon, is in assessing its importance as a text score. It's my understanding that the 1st version of it, from August 1952, used conventional notation & that it became progressively more of a text piece in later versions. W/ that aside, yeah, it seems that So's accurate here - I, at least, don't know of any earlier examples. The Fluxus work along these lines that I usually think of when I think of the prototypical text score, like George Brecht's Event Scores (1962->), didn't start until around 1960 or thereabouts w/ La Monte Young & Yoko Ono.

I was particularly delighted that this issue of OPEN SPACE has as much as it does about text scores since I've been writing them since about 1975. This wd've roughly coincided w/ my discovery of Fluxus & Ono, whose bk Grapefruit was the 1st bk I read in December of that yr (yes, I keep records of such things from time to time). Since I often use these reviews to toot my own horn (since few other people seem inclined to do so), it's a source of some wonderment to me that 39 yrs later I'm still unknown for these texts. Here's the earliest example of one of mine that I know of, probably from 1975, from my 1st bk entitled:

t he bk

t he referent 4 wch consists of

t he non-materialized transparent punch-outs from a latter/whatever stencil:


traffic jam


stand on the app middle of a busy intersection

with an unpopular exterior

wait until pelted with food

lick food from ur exterior

share with friend(s)

feeds many


Later in the same bk there's a small rectangular piece of paper taped to a page w/ "READ UNDERWATER" handwritten on it. The small piece of paper is of a type meant to dissolve quickly in fluids - probably for use by bookies & stage magicians. Thusly, following the text's instruction makes the text disappear almost immediately.

At age 21, when "traffic jam" was probably written, I'd already long since been facing extreme hostility on the very nasty streets of Baltimore b/c of the common suppression of difference there. As such, as I reckon is obvious, the intent of "traffic jam" was to humorously imagine a way to turn those attempts to destroy me into ways of nourishing me - w/o necessarily being masochistic.

So explains his personal approach to these text scores:

"As I consider my own scores, it's impossible not to be general about how text serves. Often, it defines activity to be undertaken; number and arrangement of participants/materials involved; lengths of time; degrees of intensity; formal proportions; spacing; conditions of harmony, continuity, and setting; etc. Typically, I use an imprecise language of designation-a few sounds, a long time, quite soft, unhurried, somehow overlapping, independent or somehow together, in an ordinary room open to the outdoors, etc., these dicta being vague and purposely diffident as to specifics, generally indifferent to material contingencies and open to, quite radically speaking, whatever realization. In other words, I tend to make a deliberately "boring" foray into ordinary experience, to cast my score in a soft yielding form, nonchalant in regard to what it will encounter in life; to set water upon sand, so to speak." - p 48

I'm not really w/ So at all when he overgeneralizes w/ "it's impossible not to be general about how text serves": text can serve in an infinite amt of ways (how's that for being general?). Obviously, a Text-Sound piece is very, very different from a Brecht Event Score is very, very different from my own "Po, Li, Ou" ( http://www.youtube.com/user/onesownthoughts#p/a/u/0/T--GnT8Xk0w , http://youtu.be/NZk-vJoI9nY , http://youtu.be/uDvCwN_QB04 , http://youtu.be/TPduDtGGlwU ). But when So refers specifically to his own work ("Typically, I use an imprecise language of designation") my interest perks up considerably.

In fact, So's claim that "I tend to make a deliberately "boring" foray into ordinary experience" expresses a philosophy that I both find worth examining & very much not one I share. OPEN SPACE 15/16 cd be sd to have 3 main articles about text-scores: So's, Dean Rosenthal's "Stones/Water/Time/Breath; Maybe They Are Already There", & Benjamin Bortez's ""a score is a stimulus"/scores for composers". All 3 have taken the effort to explain their positions. This stimulates me to try to articulate my own.

I don't think text scores, in & of themselves, are intrinsically any more interesting than any other type of score. I might be able to appreciate any kind of score for what it is as an object alone but what I'm generally more excited by is what type of results it generates. For my purposes, I think that making a "foray into ordinary experience" is just fine as long as the result is extraordinary experience. It's possible that I might look at a score for a string quartet & find it unlike anything I've ever seen before - but if a correct playing of it produces a string quartet entirely too similar to string quartets I've heard before & haven't liked then it's the score that's going to matter to me & not the final product. I prefer to have both interest me.

So elaborates that the ""common" language I use stands in keen relation to the understated, subtle responsiveness of idle chatter, and to the ebb and flow of normal perception. It seems to formulate a poetics suitably receptive to real complexity in simple circumstances, a kind hand greeting life in the embrace of conversation." (p 48) The crux of my philosophical difference w/ So here is in relation to our respective difference of opinion about what might constitute "ordinary". For me, "ordinary" might mean the cowardly, vicious, oppressive, dog-eat-dog anti-imagination behavior that seemed to be the norm in the BalTimOre environment I spent the 1st 40 yrs of my life in. As for "idle chatter"?: the "idle" conventionally implies 'devoid of substance', as does the "chatter" for that matter, &, for once, I'm in agreement w/ convention here.

My purpose in life has been pretty consistently to undermine the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) when that denominator is ideological dogmatic imbecility instead of the more sensible desire-to-survive that such imbecility is often mistaken for. As I wrote in :30 4 5 + 97.9": "I had no intention of uncritically following in the philosophical footsteps of Cage. I prefer a philosophy of engagement to a philosophy of detachment." (p 207)

Cage's dictum "How to Improve the World (You will only make matters worse)" (1967) is all well & good for someone in the elite privileged position he occupied but it's not so fantastic from the point of view of someone working for minimum wage at Wendy's for 28 hrs a wk (so that Wendy's can avoid paying health care under the conditions of the Affordable Health Care Act). Warhol's often quoted as saying something like 'Business Art Makes the Best Art' wch then 'justifies' Paul Morrisey paying his 'superstars' $25 a day as the resultant films go on to make considerably more money - after all, it's 'good business' isn't it? Sure, in the 'Free Trade' sense of things. Cage's apparent endorsement of passive Zen acceptance of the world as it is is equally useful for people who want to appear philosophically 'profound' by remaining unproductively disengaged from struggles that ultimately don't concern them directly b/c their personal set-up is sufficiently cushy.

But So's position (&, admittedly, Cage's too - despite what I've just written) doesn't necessarily have to have such a subtext. I think of Allan Kaprow's March 1966 manifesto in the Great Bear "Manifestos" pamphlet from the same yr in wch he wrote: "Once the task of the artist was to make good art; now it is to avoid making art of any kind. Once, the public and the critics had to be shown; now the latter are full of authority and the artists are full of doubts." (p 21) "Although it is commonplace to do so, bringing such acts and thoughts to the gallery, museum, concert hall, stage or serious bookshop, blunts the power inherent in an arena of paradoxes. It restores that sense of esthetic certainty which there milieux once proclaimed in a philistine society, just as much as it evokes a history of cultural expectations that run counter to the poignant and absurd nature of art today." (p 22)

In another Great Bear Pamphlet, by Kaprow alone, published earlier in 1966 entitled "Some Recent Happenings" there's a text about a happening called "Household":

"(Commissioned by Cornell University and presented May 3, 1964. There were no spectators at this event, which was to be performed regardless of weather. Participants attended a preliminary meeting on May 2, where the Happening was discussed and parts were distributed.)


A lonesome dump out in the country. Trash heaps all around, some smoking. Parts of dump enclosed by old, red tin fence. Trees around rest of it." - p 6

In this pamphlet, 3 of the 4 happenings described were commissioned by universities. I'm glad Kaprow cd make a living off his work but I question whether commissions from universities got sufficiently away from blunting "the power inherent in an arena of paradoxes." At any rate, the point here being that Kaprow was a pioneer in moving away from traditional presentation contexts & into what some might call "ordinary" life wch he then made extraordinary. But, in the end, he was doing it as "art" - a context wch, IM(not-necessarily-'humble')O, "blunts the power inherent in" just about anything potentially creative.

Now take this example of my own:


"- various simultaneous locations, Baltimore, us@

"- early 1978

"- A group of perhaps 8 people were organized into every possible duo. Each duo chose a time of day when each of them would perform an unusual (or usual) daily activity specified for them by the other. As such, each person had (if the number of 8 people is correct) 7 times of the day when they knew they were performing something at the same time as 1 of the other members of the group. I remember, for example, taking out the fortunes from fortune cookies (preferably without breaking the cookie) & the pimiento from stuffed olives (preferably without ripping them) & causing them to switch places as my instruction from Beth Downey. These simultaneities were performed for at least 1 week & were deliberately undocumented so that the emphasis would stay on the experience itself rather than any object produced by it." - http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutline1978.html

Not only were the performers not working w/in a 'blunting' context (as described by Kaprow above) they weren't even in the same space - just the same time. AGAIN, this piece cd be used as an excellent example of So's "foray into ordinary experience" w/ my additional purpose of rendering that experience "extraordinary".

I mentioned before that I love Christian Wolff's music. I remember reading a mention of a piece of his, probably in the 1970s, that used a found log (or logs) in the woods. I thought that the score for that might be part of his "Prose Collection" (1969) so I followed Dean Rosenthal's lead (conveniently provided on p 53 of OPEN SPACE 15/16) & looked for the free download provided by Frog Peak Publications ( http://www.frogpeak.org/unbound/wolff/wolff_prose_collection.pdf ) but, no, I don't see anything relevant there to my memory. Be that as it may, I remember being excited by the idea of using found natural materials in their environment as the stimulus for interactive possibilities. I thought Wolff was really onto something. I still think so.. but I don't think it's enuf.

Rosenthal's "Stones/Water/Time/Breath to Christian Wolff" (p 52), alas, provides me an example of what I mean by 'not enuf'. 1st, it's "to Christian Wolff" b/c it's an outgrowth of Wolff's "Stones" wch is from the "Prose Collection". Wolff's original, in its entirety, reads:

"Make sounds with stones, draw sounds out of stones, using a number of sizes and kinds (and colors); for the most part discretely; sometimes in rapid sequences. For the most part striking stones with stones, but also stones on other surfaces (inside the open head of a drum, for instance) or other than struck (bowed, for instance, or amplified). Do not break anything."

I like this piece & I find it somewhat remarkable as something from 1969. It's a very simple way of trying to generate some focused play w/ an environment & it bypasses most traditional & irrelevant 'composerly expectations' that're conventionally met w/ through notation. I like the "Do not break anything" clause as a way of trying to discourage anticipated immature behavior. That sd, I also feel that 'life has moved on' since then & that Wolff's score no longer 'does it for me'. I want something more deeply leveled, something more meta, something more pata. Rosenthal's piece does not provide what I'm looking for. It's from 43 yrs after Wolff's piece but doesn't represent, to me, any significant paradigm shift forward. To summarize it, it calls for an outside location w/ water & for the playing of that water w/ stones.

In my very limited edition of text scores created at my friend Steve Brookes' request in 1979 called "publicity stunts (my growth as an obscuro)" I provided 9 scores. I of them reads thusly:

"use (a) c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)

(especially at anything designated a concert

X any1 but urself*

(even if u r t he performer/realizer/whatever))

*possibly including urself"

Now, seashells are commonly put up to people's ears to 'hear the ocean' when, of course, they're just providing an acoustic filter for ambient sounds that generates something akin to white noise. Therefore, the performer is encouraged to use seashells as filters in helping to reperceive other environmental sounds - esp those of the concert hall. A pre-existing natural phenomenon, like stones, used to help the performer perceive anew, like "Stones", as a "hearing aid". One can (barely) see my doing this 37 seconds into the "Three Mile Island - April 3, 1979" movie ( http://youtu.be/WFnEj9c35fE ).

While I like "Stones" I also think it represents fairly traditional musical thinking insofar as it's just instructions on how to make music with natural materials. "Stones/Water/Time/Breath" does the same thing - but w/ even less originality. "c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)" may have a predecessor that I don't know about or have forgotten about, quite possibly even in Ono's Grapefruit, but, for me at least, it's both a step toward using available natural materials (as w/ "Stones") AND, more importantly, rethinking the process of 'music-making' as a perceptual/filtering one. "Stones" & "Stones/Water/Time/Breath" are, after all, basically just percussion pieces. "c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)" is a bit harder to categorize.

Elegance is maximal accomplishment thru minimal means. [This review is NOT elegant] "Stones/Water/Time/Breath" is not elegant, "Stones" is closer, "c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)" is elegant.

Back to So:

"When Williams Mix turned out the way it did, Cage took the clue. He couldn't get the splices lined up, and instead of an inexactitude to be bridged, it became a sign (he called it an omen) that fuss and meddling don't get you anywhere." - p 50

Hhmm.. Williams Mix was created in 1952. Did Cage's work become less 'fussy' after that? Perhaps in the sense of trying to make specific things happen, but certainly not in the sense of being very exacting. Take, eg, "Theatre Piece" (January 1960):

""Theatre Piece" [..] (by John Cage)

"- 14 Karat Cabaret, Baltimore, us@

"- February 11 or 12, 1994

"- Theatre Piece (to quote from the previous performance's program notes):

""(1960), generated by Cage using the same set of transparent overlays that gave rise to the electronic work Fontana Mix (1958), is for eight performers. Each performer is asked to make a deck of cards containing nouns or verbs, one to a card. One then undergoes a card-dealing process, specified by Cage, which creates a unique part from one's own set of 18 pages containing time lines and numbers (the numbers indicate choices of actions during the dealing process and modifications of those actions).

"The performer, meant to appear as her-or-himself, prepares a thirty-minute part withour consulting the other performers. Rehearsals, as Cage says in the instructions, are for avoiding dangerous collisions. A committed performer in Theatre Piece acts almost as composer, and will spend as much time creating and learning to execute a part as a performer in a more traditional piece of music. (The word more is used in the sense that Theatre Piece, now 33 years old, was a seminal work in a whole generation of performance art which has itself gained the status of tradition in the experimental atmosphere of the late 20th century.)"

"The result, in this case, was fairly intricate. An interweaving of actions conceived of independently by each performer. To describe it all would take a long time & severely tax my memory of it at the moment. Alas, no vaudeo quasi-documentation of this performance exists (thanks to the videographer erasing over it). There is, however, a vaudeo from the performance of it with almost the same cast presented as part of the tribute to John Cage mentioned in #178. The performers were the same except that Neal Woodson performed instead of me. The other difference was that, due to snow, Sara Epple was unable to perform in this presentation. The cast were: myself, Kirk-Evan Billet, Sarmad Brody, Dawn Culbertson, L.J.Schollenberger, John Eaton, & Leroy Keltner. Sarmad & I (at Sarmad's suggestion) resorted to each listening through headphones to our own prepared tapes to tell us precisely when to do what." - http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutline1994.html

My creation of my part for & performance of "Theatre Piece" was 20 yrs ago. I don't remember how much time had elapsed when I wrote the above description but I wish I'd tried a little harder to overcome the memory barrier of: "To describe it all would take a long time & severely tax my memory of it at the moment." What I can say, at this late date, is that Cage's prose introduction refers to diagrams provided by Cage & partially states that:

"The large numbers within brackets refer to a gamut of 20 nouns and/or verbs chosen by the performer who writes each on a card. These cards are placed (preferably face-down) so that knowing the number of each is facilitated (e.g. 5 columns of 4 or 4 of 5).

"The large numbers are sometimes followed by smaller ones marked plus or minus. Plus means the introduction of new elements into the gamut and the removal of the old ones to a reserved deck. This latter is used whenever the sign minus appears. This plus and minus operation is only done after having determined the nature of the large number it accompanies."

I produced a 28" X 22"poster board w/ 34 diagrams arranged on it reading from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. Working from this, I generated something that begins:

"Theatre Piece - Line 1




Footlights___+Book+Crawl__________-Tap-Snap-"Quiet Village"-Story













The above selection being grouped together by a bracket to its left wch had "22 X 8 = 176" written to its upper left.

This, in turn, led to a set of instructions for myself that begins like this:

"Theatre Piece - Part VIII

00:00 Rip a card, follow another performer while clicking a ratchet

00:19 Turn on footlights, stop following & ratcheting

00:34 Pull out joke book, start crawling

00:43 Jingle wrist bells

00:47 Turn around, tap floor, snap fingers, whistle "Quiet Village" bass-line, tell a story about Craig telling me jokes at work, etc..

01:34 Stop crawling & doing everything else except whistling "Quiet Village"

01:53 Click ratchet, pop finger in mouth corner"

It took me 40 hrs to create my part. That's not a particularly long time for me to work on preparing for a performance. I personally conducted 47 mostly 3 hr long rehearsals in preparation for the premier performance of HiTEC's "Systems Management" at the New Hazlett Theater on January 9, 2009 ( http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutline2009.html ). There were 2 (or 3 - one only had one attendee) other rehearsals that I cdn't attend. When I asked another performer of a different presentation of "Theatre Piece" how long he spent preparing for it he told me: "a half hour". I think I can safely say that he did <i>not</i> actually perform "Theater Piece".

The point here being that, in the sense that I'd use such language, Cage did not decide "that fuss and meddling don't get you anywhere", he simply reoriented his exactitude. "Theatre Piece" is VERY demanding & exacting for any serious performer of it.

[An inelegant class-related aside here is my calling attn to Cage's spelling of "Theatre". That's the British spelling, Cage was American. The American spelling is "Theater". I've noted that in ruling class culture in the US speaking w/ a British accent is often a sign of a perception of oneself as 'superior'. Cage's successful movement w/in the classical music world partially depended on his having acceptable ruling class affectations. Spelling "theater" as "theatre" cd be considered as one of them. Here's a relevant quote from my article entitled "txt msg editorial":

"It was Webster (and, perhaps, others?) who decided to 'Americanize' English - thusly separating the USA from Britain a little more. EG: the "u" in "colour" became unnecessary as the word became "color". "Theatre" got rewritten as "theater" until we reach "theatrical"! Either way, the "e" gets dropped but it gets dropped from within the word instead of from the end in the 'Americanized' version. Even in Britain there's lingual competition over spelling: Oxford: "organize", Cambridge: "organise". My spellcheck sides with Oxford. Spelling as a political competition for having the final word. Whose spelling carries the most scholarly clout?!"

To read the considerably more elaborate full piece go here: http://sibila.com.br/english/tentatively-a-convenience/6535 ]

"What has potentially changed in what we do when we write is we now have the option of not trying to control structure, to see it as essentially out of our hands, come what may, and to entertain maybe some new options of musical approach, other than control." - p 50

I'm probably semantically nit-picking here (as is so often the case in debates) but I don't consider structure to be what's being not controlled. Quite the opposite: the structure has just been applied to a new set of concerns - in the case of "Theatre Piece", eg, the structure is now the determining factor for the making of the realization instead of for the attempt at performing as exactly as possible the performance specified in physical detail by the through notation. The text score generally leaves more to the performer's imagination by only specifying what's considered absolutely necessary at a higher organizational level. This is only a relinquishment of "control" at lower levels.

"It's not incidental that the text score appears at the moment of the huge shift in the conception of the nature and location of musical structure. Rather, it seems the implicit attitude of text scoring is deeply related to the shift." - p 51

& here's where So & I converge. He writes about "the huge shift in the conception of the nature and location of musical structure". THAT, to me, is a more accurate description. It's NOT a matter of "not trying to control structure, to see it as essentially out of our hands, come what may", it's a matter of "the huge shift in the conception of the nature and location of musical structure" [repetition for emphasis].

"You can no longer confuse just looking at a score for participating in its realization, in the structure of the work. Thinking about it, maybe-there's certainly room for mental realization. The act of reading it, certainly. But there's no equivalent to sight-reading with a text score, nothing giving you a visual image ostensibly analogous to how the piece is supposed to go, that stands in for its happening." - p 51

I think this is an interesting point: "there's no equivalent to sight-reading with a text score". So qualifies this w/ "Thinking about it, maybe-there's certainly room for mental realization" - so what about in the case where the text score is specifically about thinking about it as was the case w/ most of the pieces in my collaborative piece "Systems Management" (2008-2010)? This piece was performed by the afore-mentioned HiTEC - wch stood for "Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative". Here's a sample text score component of a much greater complex:

"29. "Avicenna's 'Floating Systems Manager'"


"Imagine yrself floating detached from all sensory input. Manage this System as if you're sending out signals to control bodily parts that you're unable to feel but in full confidence that you're a perfect self-contained soul not needing physicality for self-identification."

In this instance, reading the score & imagining what it asks you to imagine might be the equivalent of sight-reading a traditionally notated score.

Moving on to Rosenthal's "Maybe They Are Already There": he begins w/ "What did it mean to compose Stones/Water/Time/Breath? I had been searching internally for a meaning to this for a long time, at first as a coming to terms with what appeared again over the last decade or so, to be a resurgence of the text score movement that seems to have originated in (and dominated) the works of Fluxus and, most prominently, George Brecht's Water Yam and La Monte Young's Compositions. Later, Portsmouth Sinfonia, the Scratch Orchestra and many others, like Christian Wolff (Prose Collection), Steve Reich (Slow Motion Sound), and Tom Johnson (Private Pieces) would take up this mode of utterance." (p 53)

& in the next paragraph he states "But there are some intentions that couldn't be conveyed with conventional notation." (p 53) I cdn't agree w/ this more. In the "'Official' Project" that I cofounded w/ Neil Feather, there was a very pompous academically trained cellist (who I'll never play w/ again) who condescendingly 'explained' to me that there wasn't anything in our CAMUs (Cue Activated Modular Units), wch were mostly notated either w/ text or numbers, that cdn't be better notated in traditional notation. Here's an example of something that clearly refutes such an unfounded assertion:

""SS#s""work it short" variation(1990) - Neil Feather (as articulated by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE)

"This is cued by a player raising their fist in a "worker's salute" followed in suit by the other players. A pulse is then set in motion either percussively or automatically (eg: by a delay). After all players have raised their fists & the pulse has started, the cuer shouts "Work it short!" & counts down "4,3,2,1" in sync w/ the pulse (usually the other players join in the countdown at its end). Starting on the 1st beat after the end of the countdown each player plays their Social Security number as rhythmic notation treating each individual number as the amount of beats per measure - w/ the 1st beat of each measure played & the succeeding beats as rests."

How wd that be traditionally notated? Wd every possible Social Security number be rendered in rhythmically notated measures w/o pitch specifications? Wd the player then look for their SS# & only play that score? A bit inefficient, eh? Inelegant, to say the least. In fact, the purpose of many of my scores has been to make possible a sound that appeals to me as much in its complexity as, say, a stochastic score by Xenakis but elegantly reducing the generation of the sound to as few instructions as I can manage in minimally technical terms.

Independent of whether I think Rosenthal's "Stones/Water/Time/Breath" is elegant or original or advancing the state-of-the-art of text scores or not, it's still one of those rare pieces that's site-specific & that's something I appreciate it for. Both of the realizations that he describes of it are at ponds: Edgartown Great Pond, Martha's Vineyard, May 12, 2012 & Nine Mile Pond, Wilbraham, MA, July 22, 2012. My friend & collaborator, Michael Pestel, & I have also done a piece centered around a (frog) pond (in this case in CT) called "pond(er)" (July 2004). Mentioning this piece, now gives me all the excuse I need to quote from the bklt that accompanies the CD-R from it:

"Each of the parts is edited by myself to simulate the vantage point of an imaginary perceiver:

"Part 1: "pond" starts in stereo w/ just my recording. When the motorcycle appears shortly thereafter, it's overlapped w/ Michael's recording starting :08 later. Both motorcycle sounds are panned from left-to-right & then my recording becomes mixed together in the left channel & Michael's becomes the right. Michael's recording starting LATER than mine is meant to imply that HIS sounds are being heard by a perceiver in the left channel separated by a vast distance that determines the lapse because of the speed of sound.

"The VERY pseudo-scientific (& ALMOST COMPLETELY INACCURATE) explanation wd be that the motorcycle is travelling away from the left channel perceiver at approximately the speed of sound under 0ºC/0 humidity atmospheric conditions (at wch the Speed of Sound = 331.45 m/s +/- 0.1) & the sound has then travelled across (complete w/ echo from the left). From the :08 delay we can conclude that it's taken 4 seconds for the sound to reach Michael's side & 4 seconds to get back - making the distance 1,325.8 meters or approximately .824 miles.

"Every time Michael throws a rock in the water or otherwise splashes, the humidity & temperature can be sd to increase slightly & to, therefore, change the delay time by changing the speed of sound. There are more or less 13 splashes (I'm not absolutely certain I counted correctly because sometimes the sounds are very subtle - at 1st, eg, I thought there were 14).

"SO, at the 1st splash, the delay between my recording in the left channel & Michael's in the right narrows from :08 to :07. This process continues until when Michael not only splashes but also vocalizes at the same time. Then the recordings join in sync w/ both back to stereo (instead of mixed into just one channel). In the midst of this section, I mixed in the end of PR4 in wch Michael plays flute punctuated by a fart. The effect of this gas on the atmosphere is such that the 2 recordings are reduced to mono again & Michael's is now in the left & mine is in the right. Is there a scientific explanation for this?! This is followed by a major cleansing splashing wch helps restore the atmosphere to its original condition & the recording relationships are back to their original state - leaving the right channel silent for :08 until Michael's recording returns. As before, the delay time then decreases w/ each splash.

"Part 2: "pond{P(er)sisting}": If I understand the Special Theory of Relativity even vaguely correctly (somewhat dubious) & if I accept that radio waves travel at the speed of light (!) THEN I can postulate that this section was recorded by an observer in a space ship under the following conditions: 2 'identical' recordings of a version of "Persisting Resisting" are played 'at the same time' in 2 different locations: "A" is played in a radio stn on Earth & "B" is played in a space ship leaving Earth at near the speed of light. Both recordings are begun 'at the same time'. The space ship turns around at the halfway point in the piece (as heard from the ship's internal playback device) & returns to Earth as the piece (as heard from the ship's internal playback device) ends. 'At the same time' they record the piece as it's playing on their radio receiving the broadcast from Earth. The radio transmission is recorded in the space ship in the left channel of a stereo recording & the ship's internal playback device playing in the right channel. Again, if I understand this correctly, the radio transmission shd be much slower than the space ship's playing of the piece while the ship's moving away & shd be much faster as the ship returns. What I don't understand is: does it get progressively slower while moving away & progressively faster while returning? & does the pitch shift in the process?

"For the purposes of this section, & given the technical limitations of the sound editing program I'm using, I'll pretend that as the space ship is leaving Earth the speed of the radio broadcast gets both slower in duration & lower in pitch & that as soon as the ship reverses direction both speed & pitch resume their 'original' nature & immediately speed up & increase pitch. As w/ the preceding Part 1 that references the speed of sound, this is in no way intended to be 'scientifically accurate': I'm simply using the Special Theory of Relativity as an excuse for effecting the recording.

"In this realization, Earth is radio broadcasting "Persisting Resisting" #s 2, 4, & 6 (w/ :02 pauses between them) 'at the same time' as the space ship is only playing #2. I chose #2 because it's the only realization of PR where I structured my initial system in response to hearing Michael rehearse his. The combination of this & the resultant phrasing from the out-of-sync speeds produces a polyphony that I like. PR #s 4 & 6 were chosen because they were my 2 least favorites & I thought they might be improved by pitch bend. I like the excuse of the space-ship turning around as a justification for the abrupt entry of the end of PR4 because it's not an editing strategy I'm likely to have chosen otherwise."

What's 'wrong' w/ the above from the perspective of composers who want to be taken seriously (or pd attn to at all)? Earlier in this 'review', I wrote: "I've been writing [text scores] since about 1975. [..] it's a source of some wonderment to me that 39 yrs later I'm still unknown for these texts." I find Michael's & my playing to be sufficiently talented to be remarkable; I find the above text explaining 2 parts of "pond(er)" to be highly original & entertaining - however, I do several things here that're anathema for being accepted by the classical music world: 1. I admit to referring to science w/o using scientific rigor, using science for my own idiosyncratic humorous purposes, 2. (& this one's a BIG no-no) I use Michael's recorded fart & I reference it as a cue for change, 3. I use this review as an excuse to expose people to my own work & to praise it - but I also write an actual substantial review, not just a capsule or a 'praising-my-friends-fluff-piece'.

OK, science is 'serious': it's against the largely unspoken rules to treat it otherwise. It's another unspoken rule that farts are only referenced by the completely juvenile - an adult wishing to be taken seriously does not refer to certain common bodily functions. ONE DOES NOT TOOT ONE'S OWN HORN: one toots a colleague's horn & then the colleague toots one's horn & the you-scratch-my-back-&-I'll-scratch-yrs phenomenon is safely hidden from potentially embarrassing scrutiny. This is the way of academia - around wch most classical music centers. By having yr colleague praise you the appearance is given that the praise is a purely 'objective' & that the praiser is simply doing their job of using their (not necessarily so) deep 'authority' to inform the public - wch isn't to say that academy doesn't have high standards, thank goodness it does. Very few people w/ academic cred are going to have the audacity to praise work such as mine for the very simple reason that doing so will help ruin their reputation. Hence, I do it myself. Besides wch, I know very few (or NO) people who're familiar w/ my work at any serious level & even fewer (or NONE) who have a profound understanding of it. It's no mean feat to remain this unknown & underappreciated at age 60 after having created possibly over 1,000 pieces in the last 45 yrs.

Back to OPEN SPACE 15/16: I jump ahead past the continuation of the text score section as an aside of sorts triggered by my writing "an adult wishing to be taken seriously does not refer to certain commonly bodily functions." Barbara White doesn't exactly break this rule but she might come closer to it than most in her "dedicated to [names withheld] "I Am Not Making This Up": Days, Numbered" article (pp 151-192) in wch she both tells her tale of breast cancer AND complains about her professional colleagues - a double whammy wch I, once again, appreciate OPEN SPACE's willingness (yay, even eagerness?) to present.

"Please come by my place Thursday, June 21 for a celebration of the earth's Zillionth Solstice and my 5th Rebirthday (5 years since life-saving cancer surgery). Family members & loved ones welcome; I'm not planning to show any X-rays or lab reports, just to celebrate that I am still here, still breathing, and still able to enjoy the pleasure of your company." - p 167

Back to the text scores: Boretz's text scores are called "Three Scores for a Composers' Ensemble" - right there he's already thinking outside the box w/ the specification "Composers' Ensemble" (although, admittedly, the ICP (Instant Composer's Pool Orchestra (founded in 1967)) is a clear predecessor). These scores are graphically more playful than most of the other articles (as are )-(Ull!c]<'5 & White's) wch is an element I'm grateful for. On p 62 Boretz specifies "A score to which your response is powerfully specific (in the form of 'ideas') but not coercive is a creative musical medium." - & that's exactly what I, personally, strive for.

Dorota Czerner, one of the very friendly & open-minded editors of OPEN SPACE, usually makes an appearance w/ poetry - here the poetry opens & closes w/ fotos (pp 22-31). In this issue, I'm happy to announce that she also exposes the reader to her not-inconsiderable talents as an essayist w/ her "Heart of Greyness - The Art of Piotr Skiba" (pp 89-98) & as the translator of Alicja Jodko's "Carried on the Waves of the Epic - The Song of the Sirens" (pp 286-289).

Sam Truitt, a poet who also runs the wonderful Station Hill Press (& whose bk Anamorphosis Eisenhower I reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1576000.Anamorphosis_Eisenhower ), presents "state/shaft shaft/state" wch he explains as follows: "I spontaneously spoke the "state" strips on the building's roof [where he worked], distinguished by its excellent view of the Empire State Building, from which one half of this series takes its name. However, in June of that year our group moved to the 4th floor, which Reis [the company he worked for] also leased. Removed from easy rooftop access, I continued to compose through the day but now standing on the fire escape at the back of the building. It was a poor prospect. That area also served as an air "shaft"." (p 99) This use of space as a structured spontaneous stimulus of content reminds me of cris cheek's wonderful THE CHURCH - THE SCHOOL - THE BEER (see my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15770469-the-church---the-school---the-beer ).

Truitt's layout has each facing page be either "shaft" or "state", w/ the order that they occur in alternating. Each page has 1 or 2 pictures (or, in 1 case, an 'empty' frame) in the middle w/ the text flanking it in such a way that there's a continuity across the pictures. EG: in the 1st "shaft" there's "stuck here" then the top of a picture apparently taken of Truitt, by Truitt, while in the shaft, & on the right side continuing the same line there's "between two walls" wch, in turn, leads back to the 2nd line on the left side of the picture: "in the red" to across the picture again to "afternoon". (p 100) But the lines aren't always so continuous: on the opposite page there's the 1st of the "state"s w/ text flanking a picture of the (Empire) State (Bldg) but the text's continuity becomes a little less obviously linear - on the left it starts w/ "there is no place from which I" goes cross the ESB to "cannot see you" & back to line 2 on the left: "wobbling" but that continues on line 3 of the left: "and fear too thousands of" wch goes to across the picture again to: "windows" -> (L) "what are you watching guard" -> (R) "rear up" -> (L) "and" -> (R) "away from all" -> (L) "closer to moon than any" -> (R) "near neigh now" etc.. (p 101) [The spacing presented herein is inaccurate - there're bigger spaces between some of the units.] The effect of this staggering isn't quite as broad as that of what some of us might call "field writing" but it still serves the purpose of keeping the reading lively & the reader aware of SPACE.

At 1st I found Joshua Banks Mailman's "Seven Metaphors for (Music) Listening: DRAMaTIC" almost unbearably tedious. THEN, it gradually grew on me & GREW on me until I developed a sizable respect for its obsessive thoroughness & meticulous scholarliness. I'm also grateful to OPEN SPACE for reprinting if from another journal that I mightn't've run across otherwise: Journal of Sonic Studies. There are a few of us out here (or am I the only one?) who aren't in academia who have an interest in these publications. Mailman's "Abstract" begins w/: "This essay probes the nature of listening by refusing to pin it down to a single essence." (p 116) & that's all you need to know! NOT!

I don't think I agree w/ Mailman's take on metaphor but he certainly develops it well:

"The idea that metaphors for listening are anything but beside the point perhaps require some explanation, all the more so because I contend metaphors for listening are exactly the main point. There is no such thing as pure listening; all listening relates to some other activity, as does every activity. Is this still doubted? Epistemologically, metaphor has been on the back foot for more than two millenia. As Fiumara (1995: 3) puts it: 'Metaphor frequently inhabits the margins of discourse and its potential incivility generates concern for its management. There is a subliminal anxiety which results from the difficulty of maintaining the boundary between 'proper' terminology in the face of metaphorical boundary-crossers...'. She goes on to note Thomas Hobbes's disapproval of metaphoric expressions in Leviathan (Hobbes 1660); Hobbes complains that reasoning with metaphors is like 'wandering amongst innumerable absurdities' (Hobbes 1978: 116-117). The 20th century saw its own version of this as analytical philosopher Rudolph Carnap, icon of the logical positivist movement, sought to produce a scientific discourse cleansed of all metaphor so as to avoid the proliferation of Pseudoproblems in Philosophy (Carnap 1928).

"Such scepticism about metaphor is directly or indirectly inspired by Plato's famous contention that sensory experience is inherently deceptive, that all imagery is false, that only pure thought is accurate." - pp 116-117

Whew! Mailman goes on to develop this all at length & anything that I write here in response will not be equal in discursive value to what he's written in the article. Nonetheless, I'm inclined to give some replies anyway. Basically, I think I'm more w/ (Mailman's presentation of) Carnap here. I enjoy metaphors as much as the next pomo [yes, that's 'apun' (ALSO a pun)] sapien (maybe even more) but I wdn't be very satisfied w/ exclusively using them to try to convince lawmakers that minimum wage is inadequate for survival, eg. In other words, I wdn't say 'taxing a person making minimum wage is like trying to get blood from a stone' as much as I'd say 'as MIT's Ann K. Glasmeier's study shows, a person with one dependent making minimum wage is economically under the living wage (as calculated taking into consideration minimal probable bills) and is, therefore, unable to pay taxes on top of that.'

As for such a position being inspired by Plato? I've read a little Plato (about 39 or 40 yrs ago) but I don't think that metaphors are equivalent to "sensory experience" or "imagery" or that "sensory experience is inherently deceptive" & "that all imagery is false"! In fact, I find this statement attributed to Plato to be just as misleading & capable of leading to "Pseudoproblems in Philosophy" as metaphors are.

"The mind as mirror axiom is flawed (as Rorty [1980], Fiumara [1995], and others now argue), because the notion of a true representation is inherently elusive. Consider the example of neurological systems of cephalopods as the basis for a thought experiment. Hanlon 92007) has identified and captured on film one of the most fascinating instances of spontaneous camouflage, in this case an octopus perfectly matching the color, shape, and texture of a specific coral cluster.

"[Hanlon's video of octopus camouflage can be viewed here:

http://www.sciencefriday.com/videos/watch/10397 ]" - p 117

Interesting given that I consider "mind as mirror" to be metaphoric, eh?! I agree that "the notion of a true representation is inherently elusive" but I don't think that the octopus camouflaging itself is an example of this elusiveness - after all, the octopus is just doing what octopi do it's not like it's changing into an undersea diver to throw the other undersea divers off or disappearing from all available perception. Anyway, if the mind were a mirror, taken non-metaphorically, it would mean that it was just reflecting back & not perceiving. The "mind as mirror" strikes me as a great example of the failure of metaphor to accurately describe.

"Watching this footage, if we see the entire coral cluster as just coral, is out mind mirroring reality or not? If we see part of the coral cluster as octopus, are we not then failing to see reality? An important aspect of reality is its ecological dimension, which in this case is that the octopus's color, shape, and texture perfectly match that of its surrounding coral. If it is not seen this way, the mind is failing to mirror reality; but if it is seen this way, the mind is failing to mirror reality. Which reality do we prioritize when we 'listen' to what we see?" - p 118

Obviously, Mailman's referring to observing video footage here - wch imposes its own limits on how much info we can get. Also obviously, the people who shot the footage knew the octopus was there or they wdn't've shot the footage in the 1st place, eh?! Furthermore, the "octopus's color, shape, and texture" DO NOT "perfectly match that of its surrounding coral" or the octopus wd've been porous in a way that wd've killed it. I also completely disagree that "If it is not seen this way, the mind is failing to mirror reality" b/c 'reality', at least in the version under discussion here, is that there's an octopus camouflaging itself - not that the octopus is actually coral. At any rate, 'mirroring reality', non-metaphorically, wd be to reflect back the illusion, not to contemplate it. The whole argument is specious precisely b/c of its metaphoric nature.

"Morris (2002) identifies three 'levels of attention': (1) Ignoring music that is sounding, which is what happens at social functions for instance; (2) Intermittent attention, where the listener goes off on tangents that are suggested by the music; Morris makes an interesting point that musical experts see intermittence as problematic and blame it on the listener's lack of appropriate knowledge or ability to use it, or attribute it to deficiencies of the composer or performer; (3) Complete, undivided attention, where one pays constant attention, never losing contact with the music; musicians are better at this, and following a score helps." - p 120

No doubt both Morris & Mailman are capable of qualifying these notions considerably further (& probably have) so instead of criticizing them I'll just add some other possibilities & comments: Feeling the music, such as what happens when people dance to it; Subconsciously using the music, such as what happens when a person chooses music that somehow assists in a chosen activity [akin to feeling but not necessarily the same thing]. I don't blame "intermittence" "on the listener's lack of appropriate knowledge or ability to use it, or attribute it to deficiencies of the composer or performer" - in fact, I'd say that's a very pro-Behaviorist/Pavlovian take on things!! "Intermittence" is more likely to be attributed to varying levels of prioritizing due to multi-tasking, etc.. As for "following a score" helping?: Doesn't that distract the listener's attn to the score? Not all music is scored, not all scores are so directly analogical that following them wdn't be distracting, etc, etc..

"Spitzer's (2004) approach emphasizes the metaphorical nature of listening even more, suggesting that a hearing <i>is</i> a 'hearing as'. This implies that there is not a privileged pure mode of hearing, but rather always a lateral referential mapping between sound and thought, between physical stimulus and its reception in the mind." - p 120

Ok, I'm obviously strongly resistant to this use of "metaphorical" b/c I have no problem w/ "as instead of is" (I've been emphasizing that point for 35 yrs or so - & William S. Burroughs did it before me) but I don't see why there not being "a privileged pure mode of hearing" in any way has to involve metaphor. Why can't we just say something to the effect of: 'perception is an amorphous process w/ a potentially infinite amt of factors' & NOT bring in metaphors at all? I have no problem admitting that wearing sunglasses (or having eyes at all), eg, filters what I'm seeing & no problem admitting that stereotypical expectations or any other mitigating factor also interferes. I don't even have a problem w/ the idea that there's nothing fixed to be 'objectively' perceived in the 1st place! But WHY is this inherently metaphorical?

As for "Alan Licht's (2007) virtually comprehensive account of sound art" (p 122)?! "Virtually comprehensive"?! I'll have to pick up a copy of that - I'm very curious about what Licht's descriptions of my sound sculptures at the Baltimore Museum of Art (1980), Balti-Media Edition & Science Fair (1980), Second Story Books (1982), & the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (2003) are like - &/or of my "Chinese for Celli" movie (1985, http://youtu.be/8Y2e0jKzoJs ) my 10 YRS IN 10(T)'S audio cassette (1987, WIdémoUTH tapes - licensed in Europe to Calypso Now), my "Great Moments in Odd-Ball Sports: A Cue Stick Guitar Duet" movie (1992, http://youtu.be/TJcoXlDmKb8 ), my Usic minus the square root of negative 1 record (1995, Wafer Face Records), my CircumSubstantial Playing & Blindfolded Tourism CD-R w/ bklt (2001/2005, Generator Sound Art), Mechanically Repetitive / ReRecorded Records Record (2008) are like. Nah, on 2nd thought, I think I know what they're like: non-existent - &, yet, I'm sure that an entire chapter cd be based around my work alone. Looking at what info I find about it online, it not only seems about as far as humanly possible from "comprehensive", it seems downright stupid. Is this an instance where the author of the OPEN SPACE article (Mailman) may just be scratching the back of a colleague (Licht)? Who's to know better, eh?! By the way, Amazon lists 3 copies available at $780.00 a pop. Uh, does that strike anyone as excessive?! I mean, what do you get w/ it? Immortality?!

The "Cybernetic Phenomenology chart is more or less meaningless to me - but that's largely the result of a technical illiteracy on my part. At least a footnote to it states: "The ears in these diagrams should not be taken too literally; music enters the mind not only as sound waves through the ear, but also through sight and physical vibrations as well-for instance consider the deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie, for whom 'hearing is basically a specialized form of touch.'" (p 129) Go, girl. This, of course, brings me back to my earlier "Feeling the music".

"The usually and tacitly assumed conduit metaphor for linguistic communication is inadequate. The more accurate assessment, Reddy explains, is rather that language helps one person construct 'out of his own mental stuff something like a replica, or copy of someone else's thoughts' (Reddy 1979: 167). This is the toolmakers paradigm. 'In talking to each other, we are more like people isolated in slightly different environments' (1979: 170). Participants (communicators) have different 'repertoires'. Each person is as if permanently confined to a separate sector on a wheel. They cannot visit each other or exchange physical objects. Machinery connects each sector to every other sector. The machinery, when mastered, allows the inhabitants of the sectors to 'exchange crude sets of instructions [blueprints] with one another-instructions for making things helpful in surviving, such as tools, perhaps, or shelters, or foods, and the like...The people only know of one another's existence indirectly, by a cumulative series of inferences' (1979: 172). Reddy calls the mutual isolation 'radical subjectivity'. he tells a story involving four people using the toolmakers paradigm. Through several iterations of exchanging and executing various sets of instructions about rakes and other related tools, they learn more and more not only about each other, each other's environment, and each other's past sets of instructions." - p 131

In other words, "(C)ommunication is not as simple as just the transfer of information from one mind to another; communication is not an effort-free system". (p 130) Fine, but aren't we getting into more general philosophical turf here about the 'impossibility' of communication? Period?

"That listening is a kind of digestion derives from its inherent temporality, from the fact it is in a sense tactile" (p 132) - does that mean that it can taste good (or bad) & give us sustenance or indigestion? As suggested in Thomas Mann's novel Magic Mountain, a duration full with events can in retrospect seem longer than a relatively uneventful duration of equal length." (p 132) Cd the opposite also be true? Or, a duration is perceived relatively depending upon what it's related to: a yr to a 10 yr old is 1/10th of their life - to a 100 yr old it's 1/100th.

Continuing the "listening is a kind of digestion" comparison, "Automatic pressure relief means that for each occasion that enters the docket, the events of some earlier occasion are forced out; that is, the docket's outflow is controlled by a pressure relief valve [..]. By contrast, <i>conditional purging</i> means that each new event is retained in immediate memory, and thus on the docket, to contribute to each new gauging of quality, until some specific condition is met, at which point all events are relinquished all at once [..]. This is by no means an exhaustive account of the variety of flowsystems relevant to listening. It merely suggests some of the ways listening is a kind of digestion, through its varieties of temporal flow and its qualitatively nourishing potential." (p 135)

Aw, shucks, who cd pass by the opportunity to imagine a bulimic listener? After a binge on the entirety of Stockhausen's Licht, they induce vomiting w/ Shoni Byoto's She is ä EXCRETION - Noise 2 for performance on the street.

Mailman provides the reader w/ a story that I'm very fond of: "Recently, an incident at a New York Philharmonic concert brought heightened attention to listening's meditative function. As occasionally happens, an audience member's mobile phone started ringing (a loud marimba sound [a default ring tone on iPhones]) during the performance. In this particular case it was near the end of Mahler's Ninth Symphony, and the ringing-coming from the fourth row-persisted for five minutes, ultimately intruding upon one of the movement's final quiet passages. So egregious was this that, in an unprecedented move, conductor Alan Gilbert halted the performance; audience members cheered him and went into an uproar, demanding the offender be ejected from the concert for ruining the listening experience for all the rest of the attendees. The incident was reported in national newspapers, radio, and web blogs for over a week following the event. [footnote;] For instance the event was chronicled by Daniel Watkin (2012) in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/nyregion/ringing-finally-stopped-but-concertgoers-alarm-persists.html " (p 136)

Of course, there're performers who already anticipated such things. Take, eg, Warren Burt's & my May 30, 2000 collaboration entitled "Conjuring (a.k.a. "Mad Scientist Duet & Sonic Tag Team Wrestling Match")" in wch "I began by giving a pompous & highly exaggerated speech about the importance of Warren Burt [..] & myself (amplified thru a mike on a mike stand) - giving a history of all the people that we'd supposedly studied with - probably including: Wagner, Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, John Cage, & many others.. The purpose of the speech was to irritain the audience into wishing I'd shut up. This was finally interupted by Warren calling me from a mobile phone to a mobile phone I was carrying. The use of mobile phones was partially inspired by my annoyance at their omnipresence in Australia. I excused myself & answered the phone & then pretended that it was for someone in the audience." ( http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutline2000.html ) I doubt that Warren & I were the 1st people to do something like this.

[March 29, 2016EV interpolation: the complete raw footage from "Conjuring" is now online as part of "The Warren Burt Show & Tell" - the URL to take you directly to the beginning of that is here: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM?t=3h20m28s ]

Daniel Goode's "Thumbnail Review" of "Bells and cells in Tully Hall atrium February 22nd" [2011]: "It can't be the first audience-does-cell phones in a high art chamber music event, but was my first, and it's got to be one of the best. Nathan Davis, the new percussionist/ composer with ICE, was commissioned to compose for the recently opened atrium on street level at Lincoln Center-a glassy, high-frequency resonant, flashy, bar-friendly entrance to the concert hall. On entering we were each given a card saying "Please unsilence your phone. When you hear bells, dial the number on the reverse and enter any one of the access codes..." Circulating the space was like being in a forest of chirping industrial insects." (p 226)

That reminds me that, in addition to the above-mentioned "Conjuring", I incorporated cell-phones on October 8, 2013 (Film Kitchen - Melwoood Screening Room, Pittsburgh Filmmakers - Pittsburgh, US@) when I spontaneously asked audience members at the beginning of my Q&A section to call each other on their cells so that we cd enjoy the cacophony of the phones for a little while.

Mailman writes that "thanks to the iPod, we can soak in the soundtrack of a sunset while surfing the subway." (p 137) Uh, not to mention the considerably earlier portable cassette players & radios that didn't cost nearly as much as iPods started out at.

"We may find that mechanical sound reproduction is to musical evolution what ideas are for human evolution, because a composer or sound artist a hundred years from now will be able to employ sound samples exclusive to the early 21st century, and her early 22nd century listeners will likely recognize them in all their specificity because of their own highly developed sonic literacy." - p 139

Let's hope so. On the other hand, thanks to capitalism's continual attempt to own everything, we may find that people have no idea what they're listening to b/c they just rent it from streamers that they select on a personal taste basis w/o necessarily knowing the specifics: 'Hey, dude, do I like grunge?' 'Yeah, dude, remember? That's that stuff from Africa that Einstein did. It's like icicles.'

I'm reminded of a particularly stupid conversation that I had at a party a few yrs back. A younger guy was extolling the virtues of iPods or some-such & I was saying I preferred recordings that come w/ extensive notes. He sd something contemptuous like: 'So you want people to tell you what to think.' to wch I replied along the lines of: 'No, I want to know who the musicians are, what their instrumentation is, what the recording dates are, who produced the recording, where it was produced, what type of microphones were used, what the lyrics are (if any), what the philosophy &/or intentions of the musicians/composers are, etc.'

Again, I have to hand it to Mailman: he's thorough: at the end of the article there're 6pp of references! Good onya, meatey!

In the "July 10, 2012 entry in Barbara White's "Days, Numbered" article alluded to earlier b/c of her forthrightness about her cancer & other things, I find mention of her receiving "The Fortune Cookie of True Emptiness" (p 169): a fortune cookie w/ no fortune in it. I feel ya. I had an experience in 1985 when my apartment was set fire to by an arsonist, a show that I'd spent the last on my meager money on was cancelled for no good reason, & I was knifed. THEN, I got a fortuneless fortune cookie.

White even goes so far as to sarcastically comment on the way that some 'professionals' misrepresent things in order to attribute credit where credit's not due, something that sounds suspiciously akin to some academic abuses I've been ridiculing in my review here:

"While I thought I recalled that not one moment of class time, in that educational program across town, was spent on our own professional collaboration, that not one of the students in the course participated in out opera, and that our third co-author never set foot in said classroom, I must have misunderstood, because now that there is a documentary, it must be true that the opera was created in the classroom by us three co-authors and that the students we thought we were not to use are the performers in our opera and that the thirty-year olds are instead nineteen. It's all so bewildering! I'm sure I must be missing something, because the producers and narrator of the documentary would not have made all this up in order to arrogate credit for others' work." - p 173

Go get 'em!! Alas, the likelihood of the people who witness the 'documentary' ever reading this article to find out what the professional liars are up to now is practically nil. Too bad.

Matthew Crain's "Magnetized. On "An Encounter": A Composition Lesson": "James Voice they should call him." (p 193) On reading a story from James Joyce's Dubliners & then about his own desire to be a writer: "On the other hand, I desperately wanted my stories to be reckoned real stories (stories you wouldn't expect from a student, and, oddly, destructively, this craving for praise caused me not to trust myself). I was about to turn thirty, I was pumping gas at the Gulf station in Montpelier, and more than anything I wanted to make my living by telling stories; more than anything I wanted to answer the questions, What do you do, Matthew? with a glance over my shoulder and reply, Writer, and that would settle that." (p 196)

A part of my own article, "30 4 5 + 97.9", might apply to OPEN SPACE: "As usual, the truly thoughtful are open to information & ideas outside of what the established filters for determining what's valuable allow thru. These are the people I hope to reach & befriend." (p 206) Don't think I'll really be befriending most of the contributors to OPEN SPACE, tho - I'm too 'lunatic fringe' even for this crowd.

Richard Kostelanetz, an old hand in the avant-garde publishing world if there ever was one, contributes "Why Me? Another Biography of John Cage" in wch he partially laments his relative absence from a new Cage bio. If it even happens to Kostelanetz I can't complain too much (well, actually, I can - RK lives in NYC where he'll never be completely neglected, I've lived in the cities of the Morlocks). Kostelanetz has at least included mention of me in one of his works so I have to thank him for not being as negligent as most.

"I've written about my recurring inability to evaluate standard biographies of cultural figures. From commercial publishers they appear in roughly the same size, I guess contractually prescribed, 6" x 9", 500-plus pages, indexed, its prose stylistically undistinguished, with perhaps 50 to 80 pages of footnotes and a signature or two of photographs. Even about major cultural figures commercial publishers evidently prefer such books over criticism, even though the latter might finally become more valuable and respected." - p 214

Thank you. Such observations as Kostelanetz's shd be obvious.. but they aren't. The "stylistically undistinguished" prose is something that some people might consider to be 'correct' while I suspect that both RK & I wd consider it to be utterly-devoid-of-personality, ie: boring to read. &, yeah, criticism - who reads that? I'm sure there are some lit studies profs who write bks about things like the importance of Gertrude Stein w/o ever actually reading her in anything other than excerpts - but is THAT criticism?!

"One omission I find curiously common is any report of the subject's last will and testament, which is usually public information." - p 214

"With these thoughts in mind, I read Kenneth Silverman's Begin Again (Knopf), the second major biography of John Cage. (The earlier one, by the British music writer David Revil [sic], was an embarrassment I demolished long ago.)." - p 214

Cf this to an excerpt from my own "30 4 5 + 97.9": "I don't think David Revill's bk, The Roaring Silence, John Cage: A Life, is very good. Being a Pittsburgher, this excerpt from the opening paragraph of Chapter Nine is enuf to annoy me: "Cage lectured to the Outliners' Club at Carnegie Tech, Oakland, in the Bay Area of California; among those present was Andy Warhola, a second-year student soon to abandon his concluding vowel." Like, duh, dude, Carnegie Tech (now called Carnegie-Mellon University or CMU) is in an area called Oakland alright - but it's in Pittsburgh: the city that Andy Warhol's from." - pp 201-202

Back to RK: "I made fun of David Revill for his Englishman's mistakes about New York City geography". - p 215

"No mention is made of my writings about Cage, both journalistic and critical, dating back to 1967. I'd published and edited several books of an about Cage (1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1989, 1991, 1993 [2], 1994, 1996 [2], 2000 [2], 2002), as well as several other anthologies and articles incorporating him, sometimes with ideas uniquely mine--e.g., polyartistry, constraint, trust." "I felt slighted, inexplicably slighted" - p 215

This issue is Cage-heavy in honor of the recently passed 100th anniversary of his birth - wd that he still were alive. But I'm happy to say that other major figures aren't neglected: Chris Golinski provides a review: "Music 109, by Alvin Lucier":

"Alvin Lucier's Music 109 invites you into his classroom at Wesleyan, where he has lectured for over forty years on American experimental music. The book's text, culled from his lectures, covers many of the important works of the last fifty years, as well as Lucier's creative concerns. While intended for the classroom, the informal and conversational tone of the book lets readers feel that they are sitting in a room - [sic] - alone with Lucier while he recounts tales of the birth of American Experimentalism." - p 219

Good, now what about the yrs after this canonized birth?

Lucier writes about Cage, Golinski writes:

"Cage criticized improvisation and jazz; yet indeterminacy in Cage's music is today often discussed concurrently with improvisation." (p 220) "Further complicating the matter, as George Lewis points out in "Improvised Music after 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives," is that "the historical timeline shows that Cage's radical emphasis upon spontaneity and uniqueness - not generally found in either American or European Music before Cage - arrives some eight or ten years after the innovations of bebop" (Lewis 223). The implication being that Cage's work was likely to have been influenced by innovations of bebop, even as he disparaged the music publicly in interviews. Lewis also cites the writings of Anthony Braxton and georgina Born, who take the argument further to state that the discourse surrounding American experimental music utilizes a terminology intended to mask the music's indebtedness to the "other," and that the use of terms such as indeterminate or aleatoric disguises the fact that Cage and other American Experimentalists relied upon improvisation." (pp 220-221)

"Returning to Lucier's passage, however, the relationship between Cage's indeterminancy and improvisation appears more problematic." "At the time that he began to explore using chance operations and indeterminancy, however, Cage was becoming interested in Eastern Philosophy and in particular the variant of Zen Buddhism promulgated by D.T. Suzuki." "'influenced by the Indian art scholar Ananda Coomaraswamy and his book The Transformation of Nature in Art (1934), [he] became fascinated with the idea of art as 'the imitation of Nature in her manner of operation' and opposed to art as an expression of emotion. he began to reject artistic self-expression.'" [- quoted from Sabine Feisst, "John Cage and Improvisation - An Unresolved relationship"] ""What we see happening, therefore, is not Cage appropriating improvisation and labeling it indeterminancy, in order to avoid acknowledging the contribution of the "other." rather, he is embracing an intellectual tradition that is very much <i>from</i> the "other" (Eastern philosophy) and this influence leads him to reject the emphasis on self-expression found in both jazz and the Western art music tradition." - p 220

Sheesh! W/ all due respect for George Lewis, whose trombone playing, electronics use, composing, & improvising have always impressed me as brilliant, I'm in agreement w/ Lucier's / Golinski's position here. "Cage's radical emphasis upon spontaneity and uniqueness"?! Is that what he did? It sometimes seems like Cage was all things to all people, especially as raw material for distortion. Maybe that's what I'm doing here but I never got the impression that Cage's emphasis was on "spontaneity and uniqueness" as much as it was on ego transcendence. Lewis goes on to claim that "spontaneity and uniqueness [was] not generally found in either American or European Music before Cage". WELL, that's quite a claim. I guess we might as well ignore the cadenza, right? After all, unlike jazz apparently (I'm being sarcastic, ok?!), the cadenza is an improvisation played by a soloist in a 'free' rhythmic style often intended for virtuosic display - &, inconveniently for Lewis's position, it predates jazz by over a century..

Furthermore, in the liner notes to John Cage & Lejaren Hiller's "HPSCHD" (1967-1969) it's stated that "The source work, Introduction to the Composition of Waltzes by Means of Dice, is attributed to Mozart (K. Anh. C 30.01). For each measure of a 32-measure "empty" form (four 8-measure sections) the composer provides 11 alternative "composed" measures, the choice made by throw of dice. Measure 8 is always the same. With each section repeated the final form is 64 measures (AABBAABB), lasting one minute. This Dice Game repeated 20 times is Solo II." (nonesuch H-71224) Given that "aleatoric" is from the Latin word alea, meaning "dice", it shd be pretty obvious that Cage's aleatoric music is deeply rooted in European music history & not in Afro-American music. Just listen to what's generally called Cage's 1st aleatoric piece, "Music of Changes" (1951) & compare it to jazz of the preceding (or ANY) decade: it's very, very different music - so who's co-opting who?!

On the other hand, it's somewhat odd to <i>not</i> see mentioned Cage's piano solos "Jazz Study" (1942) & "Ad Lib" (1943) (+ parts of the piano part of "Credo in Us" (1942)) given that they ARE clearly inspired by pre-bebop jazz. The 2 piano pieces are, however, minor pieces in Cage's overall history & NOT (IMO) to be generalized from.

[An aside here is that Joshua Mailman is quoted in Golinski's article writing about Lucier's Crossings - small world, eh?]

Lucier is, of course, a prime figure in the scientific exploration of properties of sound, particularly in relation to space:

"By not allowing the performer a substantial amount of interpretive possibility, the composer of highly notated music constrains the ability of the musicians to respond to space and embrace it as an extension of their instrument.

"What is so wonderful about Lucier's work is that it directly challenges this trend and uses space as an equal partner in the creation of his music. Nowhere is this more evident than in what is perhaps his most famous piece, I Am Sitting in a Room, in which the composer recites a text beginning with the words "I am sitting in a room" into a tape recorder. The recording is then played back and re-recorded multiple times so that over time the resonant frequencies of the room begin to overwhelm the speech." - p 222

I'm always interested in people's mentions of "anarchy", wch usually distort it even more than Cage's philosophy gets distorted, so it's a pleasure here to see Lucier NOT distorting it as "chaos": "'Cage claimed to be an anarchist." [Well, not until he was about 60, as I recall - tENT note] "By that he didn't mean that everyone simply does whatsoever they want or does things in a shoddy manner. If everybody did whatever they did as well as they could, there wouldn't be the need to appeal to a higher authority.['] (Lucier 23)" - p 224 Thank you, Alvin Lucier.

"Perhaps a Freudian ego defense mechanism is at play: if the musicians are not confident in the work or their interpretation of it, doing something funny or demonstrating technique allows a detachment from the piece and any potential criticism of performance. The same tendencies exist in less experienced musicians in the field of free improvisation." - p 224

Then again, as Frank Zappa sd: "Does Humor Belong in Music?" - obviously, he was being facetious & mocking, obviously he thought humor does belong in music. My friend Ben Opie told me, & I'm sure I've read about this too, that a tuba player in an orchestra performing a Cage piece was playing irrelevant cartoon music or some such - apparently to mock the music. This was disrespectful & showed a lack of understanding of the music. On the other hand, as I've noted earlier, classically trained musicians know that not being taken seriously can be very bad for their career. These folks work hard, they don't want that work to go to waste - therefore, using humor is a delicate tightrope to walk. Nonetheless, why not? Life can be full of humor, why not music too? ESPECIALLY in 'free improvisation' where simple displays of virtuosic playing can get to be such a predictable bore.

Daniel Goode's "Thumbnail Review" of "<b>Monodramas @ NYC Opera, 4/8/11</b>": "Zorn, Schoenberg, Feldman (interesting that all three are Jewish). I hope the NYC Opera prospers in its Lincoln Center home, refurbished courtesy of David H. Koch, billionaire buster of Wisconsin unions." (p 227) John Halle explores the economic politics of classical music more deeply in his "Occupy Wall Street, Composers, and the Plutocracy": "Moving a couple of blocks uptown from Lincoln Center provides us with more evidence: Merkin hall was presided over for many years by Ezra Merkin, the chief marketer of the Bernard Madoff line of investment products, whose once eager purchasers are now required to subsist on Social Security, having lost their life savings to the smooth talking Talmudic scholar, White Show lawyer, and music lover." (pp 306-307) One wonders: if the robber barons, like Andrew Carnegie, hadn't made such massive profits at the loss of the vast majority of the people who worked for them & THEN turned 'philanthropist' & spent some of the money on museums & libraries, wd these valuable institutions have been created collectively by the workers? I prefer to think that the answer's YES - after all the United Steel Workers have a pretty nice bldg in downtown PGH & I've screened in the lovely Union Theater at the University of WI at Milwaukee - but I'd like to see more examples of unions coming thru in a big way like the robber barons did. This isn't to refute my own sayings: "Before deciding against biting the hand that feeds you, ask why it has so much money in the 1st place" & "When money's God, poor people are the human sacrifices".

Goode's "Goebbels (H.) does Gertrude (S.)at the new Tully Hall this eve.": "Stein's World War II text, "Wars I have seen" was Goebbels 2007 hommage to her 1943 observations of everyday life in her adopted France. A friend in the audience, a holocaust survivor, was revolted by Stein's line that "you could always get butter." He said butter was unobtainable, and he only tasted peanut butter after the war. He fried it with an egg; called Stein "superficial."" (p 228) Ha ha! My interest always perks up when I read Stein being put down b/c I'm one of the few people who took Stein seriously enuf to actually read all of (everybody else just pretends to) The Making of Americans wch I found to be total drek. Stein was rich, of course she cd get butter. Both Stein & Picasso lived in France during the nazi occupation, Picasso was reputedly in the Resistance. I hope it's true. How did he, certainly a painter of renown whose style(s) wd've been potentially punishable under nazi notions of entartete Kunst, survive? He was rich.. & not Jewish.

Eric Lyon's "Composing with Noise": This is one of the more technical articles. I avoid the technicalities (altho I read them) & latch onto this: "The rule-based articulation of individual elements in a musical texture owes much to integral serial techniques developed by such composers as Boulez and Stockhausen. the use of noise as a generative element draws on Xenakis's idea for stochastic music. the use of various techniques to sidestep ingrained habits draws on John Cage's indeterminacy. The challenge to performers with impossible-to-play scores bears similarity to the work of New Complexity composers such as Brian Ferneyhough." (p 232)

For those of you interested more in "Xenakis's idea for stochastic music" I can direct you to my review called A DI(diot's)Y's Guide to Iannis Xenakis' Formalized Music ( http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/329492-a-di-diot-s-y-s-guide-to-iannis-xenakis-formalized-music ). Of course, it makes even more sense to just read Xenakis's Formalized Music. As for Ferneyhough? I STILL haven't heard anything by him yet but I find it hard to believe that his work is any more "impossible-to-play" than, say, Stockhausen's "Klavierstücke Nr. 2" wch has the most complex rhythmic notation I've ever seen (triplets w/in triplets w/ rests w/in the triplets - & meters changing w/ almost every measure, etc) &, yet, pianists have played it (although I find it hard to believe that even the great Aloys Kontarsky plays it correctly!).

&, then, )-(Ull!c]< is back again w/ another beautifully laid out article entitled "SONO-PSYCHOLOGIZED: THE MAGNIFICENT GALACTOPHONIC ODYSSEY RIDDEN HUMMINGLY BEFORE THE SIREN CAPTAIN ALICE" (nice title) the layout of wch I can't reproduce in this review format but wch I'll partially quote anyway for the sheer joy of it (even in this incorrect reproduction):

"norrrr preverbal infants hear a steady stream of incomprehensible but highly melodious speech. This speech, variously known as motherese, parentese, or infant directed speech, is characterized by exaggerated prosody, including elevated pitch, expanded pitch contours, large dynamic range, and rhythmic regularity (Trehub 2009, 229)." - p 237

"So I would like to discuss the words sound art, and the concepts they frame, before I question their place in music psychology" - p 238

"I'm interested in how sound signifies and that's a larger field than music. So I think that music is a subset of sound art and sonic art is a subset of soundscape and soundscape is really the world around us, virtually complete (Gibbs 2007, 64)" - p 240

"But wait: Swing and lo: It could be argued that music might have been a better term than sound art for defining the parameters of my practice.

"[[[Melbourne sound sculpture Ernie Althoff expressed this view to me whilst loadful tetras blockened his car post gig." - p 241

I just had to quote that latter b/c I know Ernie, we both wrote for the lamented "Experimental Musical Instruments" magazine & we met in Melbourne in 2000 where I shot footage of him demonstrating his wonderful solar-powered instruments, etc..

"However[andwithallmannerofrespectforErnie&colleagues]ortherewithin, I consider the term music to be limited, as it does not comfortable encompass sonic activities such as sonic based gallery installation, noise art, field recordings and interactive computer based projects." - p 242

Hence my personal preference for my own coinage: "Usic" & its variants: "booed usic", "usical materials", & Low Classical Usic", etc.. The root word is "use" instead of "muse".

"If this term 'music' is sacred and reserved for eighteenth and nineteenth-century instruments, we can substitute a more meaningful term: organization of sound (Cage 1961, 3)." - p 242

"Music here refers to temporally structured human activities, social and individual, in the production and perception of sound organized in patterns that convey non-linguistic meaning (Stevens 2009, 14)." - p 244

"In daily practice the term music, as defined by Stevens and Byron, contradicts the agenda of many sound artists, particularly with regards to the use of terms such as patterns and organized. For example, my teacher, Australian German composer Felix Werder (1922-2012), in his later compositions sought to remove all patterns and sequences from his music." - p 244

I absolutely am not doing justice to )-(Ull!c]<'5 article w/ this (nonetheless informative) pastiche. READ IT!

Augustus Arnone's "The Ear Is Not A Camera: The Divide Between Visual and Acoustic Perceptual Habits in Finnissy's The History of Photography in Sound": "The History of Photography in Sound" being the name of an eleven mvmt cycle of piano works by a composer named Michael Finnissy, who I've never heard of - I'm always glad to learn about another composer & the title of the work is intriguing.

"in many ways Finnissy's History of Photography in Sound is the ultimate musical exploration of the new sensory world that McLuhan argues has been made inevitable by electric media." "In this spirit, the focus of this article will be to gain insight into the aesthetic environment of Finnissy's History by relating its salient musical features to cognitive habits of total field awareness, implosion of a complex of disparate musical events into composite perspectives" - p 252

"The compositional media that [Milton] Babbitt manifests in his music plunge us, like Finnissy's History of Photography cycle, far into the world of total=field awareness and multi-dimensional inter-connectedness." - p 259

"But the term itself ["metempsychosis"] is also referred to directly in the work in over a dozen instances spanning the whole. Consequently, the reader must maintain a kind of running catalog, each further treatment arrived at <i>peripatetically</i>, making connections between non-adjacent materials." - p 265

Arnone provides a very in-depth analysis w/ notational quotes & well-argued references to, as shown above, McLuhan, Babbitt, & Joyce. If only every composer cd be so lucky as to have their work get this treatment!! Arnone is compelling convincing that Finnissy's piano cycle is astoundingly complex - I listen forward to hearing it.

Steven Kazuo Takasugi's " Not Toward, but Away" - One Perspective on an Asian Influenced Furute Music (A Lecture)": "When I say "not toward, but away," it certainly does not mean that I begin with a retreat or a repulsion away from ethnic, nationalist, or exoticist identity, for example, through a deracination or a purging of an Asian instrument from its tradition" (p 269) The lecture is somewhat sweeping covering things like the WWII concentrations camps for Japanese-Americans in the USA & the future of Japanese culinary arts.

"In Japan as well as in Nikkei* culture, the adage "the nail that sticks out, gets hammered down" reveals a conformist social code and is more frequently heard than one might wish." "the lobbying of Mike Masaru Masaoka, official of the JACL (Japanese American Citizen's League) and perhaps the most famous Japanese American of his time. During the years of incarceration into concentration camps, Masaoka was "one of the prime supporters of allowing Nisei [second generation Nikkei] into the American armed forces, viewing military service as the best way for Japanese Americans to 'prove' their loyalty. . . . he once proposed the formation of a "suicide battalion" of Nisei whose actions would be guaranteed by Issei [their parents] being held as hostages by the U.S. government." - p 270 *person of Japanese ancestry

Talk about being caught between a rock & a hard place!! I take it that the US government didn't go for Masaoka's "suicide battalion". It's not only Japanese & Nikkei who cower under the unwritten law of "the nail that sticks out, gets hammered down"! It sums up beautifully my life in BalTimOre. However, as the 'nail sticking out', I decided to change that code to "the nail that sticks out breaks the tool that tries to hammer it down". I told you that Takasugi's article was sweeping, it cd be called curling:

"Conceivably, a brain-machine interface could be utilized to stream signals to these hallucinatory centers. the source of these signals could originate from other individuals also implanted with similar brain-machine interfaces. the streaming could be multi-directional allowing for shared consciousness. These brain signals could be transmitted over the internet, much as the recent work of Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University, whose mere 96 implanted electrodes allowed monkeys to control a robotic arm 600 miles away."

"The implications for music and identity are far reaching. the traditional musical object which required exhaustive transformation and which now approaches the collapse of its rotation, will pass its dance to the subject, which in turn will find himself/herself/itself, not fixedly observing, but hurling through a prism of multiple consciousness. It is prismatic because it does not necessitate a destruction inherent in syncretic formulation. It preserves distinction. It allows what Hans-George Gadamer calls the "letting-be."

"On March 18, 1942, and March 24, 1942, [Fred Toyosaburo] Korematsu, [the first candidate to become the subject of a test case to challenge the mass forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast in 1942], had plastic surgery on his nose and eyes in an attempt to disguise his racial identity. His plan was to marry his Italian American fiancée, Ida Boitanto, in Arizona and then move to the Midwest. By having plastic surgery, Korematsu hoped to blend in with European Americans and be allowed to live peacefully with Boitano. According to an FBI agent who questioned him, Korematsu "feared violence should anyone discover that he, a Japanese, was married to an American girl.""

"When questioned about his identity, Korematsu gave the police a draft registration card with the name "Clyde Sarah" on it and attempted to claim he was of Spanish-Hawaiian origin. His story quickly disintegrated when the poorly altered draft card proved to be a fake."

- p 272

SHEESH! What a story! It's like Jose Delgado's Physical Control Over The Mind filtered thru Gregs Bear & Egan w/ a little William Gibson sensationalism thrown in to spice things up. Takasugi concludes w/ "The zoom in and zoom out is what I have called the iridescent nature of uncertainty, and with this oscillation, this shimmering, so to speak, the movement will precisely resemble the vibrating nature of the negotiating and renegotiating of the sense of self (identity) and other. Thank you for listening." (p 273) This was quite a wild ride, I'm not convinced that Takasugi had all the track built yet for his roller-coaster but i found myself enjoying the flying over precipitous space.

Will this OPEN SPACE never end? As an institution that gathers together some of the most intellectually exciting work that I know of, I hope not! To say that OPEN SPACE 15/16 is dense wd be an understatement. We move on to Douglas C. Wadle's "Introduction to Reframing - augmentation and diminution of extended just intonation frequency ratio 1.0.", another very technical article, one that I can follow somewhat (but not much) b/c I've been aware of the differences between just & equal-tempered tuning for 40 yrs or so.

"In other words, in the augmentation or diminutions of frequency ratios, one is not primarily concerned with a preexisting, closed set of pitches comprising a scale, a closed subset of pitches (scale) chosen from a closed set of pitches comprising a tuning system, or even a closed set of pitches comprising a tuning system." - p 274

My initial understanding of the choice to use just intonation was based on thinking that composers, such as Harry Partch, wanted to correct the dissonances of equal-tempered tuning by returning back to simpler ratios. I found this fascinating but have always embraced equal-tempered tuning's dissonances. In fact, 40 yrs ago, when I was 20, I even proposed the theory that there was nothing intrinsically consonant about what I was being taught in Music Theory was consonant - ie: octaves, fifths, n'at. I never got anywhere w/ that & completely forget whatever visionary juvenile 'logic' I had at the time. Since then, I've chosen to humorously propose "Transcendental Irrational Harmony" - harmony that doesn't revolve around ratios at all. I don't think it's going to catch on. Interested readers/listeners can check out a manifestation of it, "Pi(ano Fort)e" here: http://youtu.be/ivEPvq0UAKw . Wadle's article is much more serious & will, no doubt, be of great interest to appreciators of James Tenney's work, etc..

"Tenney developed the concept of "crystal growth" in reference to frequency radio lattices of the sort first proposed by Leonhard Euler (1739)" (p 281) Any article that mentions Euler is OK in my bk.

Once again, I'm grateful to Dorota Czerner for translating Alicja Jodko's "Carried on the Waves of the Epic - The Song of the Sirens" about "the latest project of Karolina Freino, Chansons de Geste" wch appeals to me so much I'd probably fall in love w/ its creator only to be frustrated by her not wanting to fuck someone 30 yrs older than her [ok, I have no idea how old Freino is - I just wanted to say something cynico-personal].

"In his study of aesthetics and politics Jacques Rancière notes that there is no point of view located outside of history, and that politics is not so much a question of power, but rather a matter of a specific configuration of space between subjects who share a common language. Inside such a linguistic space, says Rancière, only a few subjects have the license to own the discourse which may determine what is right or wrong, just or unjust, while the others are merely allowed a voice capable of expressing joy or pain." (p 286) Seems like a summary of power to me.

"Alluding to the medieval epic form of chansons de geste, which could be understood both as "songs of heroic deeds", or "songs of gestures", Karolina Freino undertook the experiment of translating the gestures performed during political speeches into the electro-acoustically modified sound of an instrument. the project focuses on 18 icons of the past century's politics and selected archival footage of their public performances, from which the sound of the speeches themselves has been carefully extracted, leaving, however, the background noise of the crowds. Perhaps in an attempt to further unify this space defined by the political speech, the artist introduces the silent figure of a mime. Texts/transcripts of the individual speeches can be read on separate boards placed around the gallery walls, while the suddenly wordless gestures of the politicians are interpreted by the mime, who is standing in front of each screen silently but expressively "performing" every speech on a Theremin." - p 286

Coincidentally, I was listening to Aram Hacsaturjan & Garai Gàbor's "Hösök Emlekezete" ("in Memory of the Heroes") (Hungaraton SLPX 121922) while I was reading this.

I love that OPEN SPACE, in general, & this issue, in particular, is so OPEN to having articles of substantial intellectual & specialized substance w/o excluding criteria that might only allow certain types of article to come thru. A less interesting publication wd have the Mailman & Wadle articles but not my own or )-(Ull!c]<'5 - or vice versa. Next up is Payton MacDonald's "Charles Wuorinen's <i>Marimba Variations</i>: Memorization Strategies and Performance Practice Consideration" - wch probably fits more easily in Mailman & Wadle's company but it's got a bit of Barbara White in there too w/ its personal & personable transparency about his process of learning a difficult piece. I liked it alot, partially b/c I have some interest in Wuorinen's music (not a favorite composer but, still, I listen to whatever recordings I can get my ears on), partially b/c I have an intense interest in memory (I have a 'vested' interest in keeping mine as strong as I can), & partially b/c I cd never perform such a piece (even tho I'm a percussionist.. of sorts).

"In 2008 I approached Charles Wuorinen about writing a solo marimba piece. To fund the commission I put together a consortium of 22 percussionists. We each contributed some money and in return Wuorinen dedicated the piece to us." - p 290

I immediately like this b/c MacDonald gathered a consortium to fund the commission instead of going the more established & more classist route of applying for a grant. I, too, gathered a group of musicians called "mm"

[March 29, 2016EV interpolation: links to minutes & mm movies can be found in this index: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/mm.html ]

wch then collectively put out a CD called "MM26". It's unlikely that anyone else wd've funded it. You dear reader, shd buy multiple copies of it so that I/we can put out another one. Forget fauceting (more commonly known as "streaming") - even tho you can get it that way too.

""One thing that is important to keep in your thinking about him is that although many people often have the idea that 12-tone music is like some kind of science experiment, Wuorinen really writes lyrical, passionate music" - p 290, Greg Zuber

It's funny how in the company of musical ignoramuses one can hear a groan, even today, when atonal music &/or Schoenberg are mentioned - as if these people have any clue about what "atonal" means (they usually don't) or have ever listened to Schoenberg (they usually haven't). Wch Schoenberg? The Schoenberg of Verklärte Nacht [Transfigured night], Op. 4 (1899)? The Schoenberg of 8 Brettllieder [8 Cabaret songs] (1901)? The Schoenberg of Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 (1902/03)? The Schoenberg of 6 Lieder [6 Songs] with orchestra, Op. 8 (1903/05)? The Schoenberg of Kammersymphonie [Chamber symphony] no. 1, E major, Op. 9 (1906)? The Schoenberg of String Quartet no. 2, F-sharp minor (with Soprano), Op. 10 (1907/08)? The Schoenberg of Fünf Orchesterstücke [5 Pieces for Orchestra], Op. 16 (1909)? The Schoenberg of Erwartung [Expectation], monodrama in one act, [for soprano and orchestra], Op. 17(1909) (Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group w/ Phyllis Bryn-Julson, soprano)? The Schoenberg of Drei Kleine Stucke (aka Three Little Orchestra Pieces) (1910)? The Schoenberg of Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke [6 Little piano pieces], Op. 19 (1911)? The Schoenberg of Herzgewächse [Foliage of the heart] for Soprano, Op. 20 (1911)? The Schoenberg of Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21 (1912)? The Schoenberg of Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen [Songs of a Wayfarer] (arr. 1920: voice, flute, clarinet, harmonium, piano, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double bass, percussion)? The Schoenberg of Serenade, Op. 24 (1920/23)? The Schoenberg of Suite for Piano, Op. 25 [the arrangement of Brahms' "Piano Quartet in G minor" is also identified as "Op. 25" so that must be the Brahms opus #] (1921/23)? The Schoenberg of 3 Satiren [3 Satires], Op. 28 (1925/26)? The Schoenberg of Suite, for septet, Op. 29 (1925)? The Schoenberg of Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene [Accompanying music to a film scene], Op. 34 (1930)? The Schoenberg of Suite in G major for string orchestra ("In the Old Style") (1934)? The Schoenberg of Moses und Aron [Moses and Aaron], opera in three acts (1930­32, unfinished)? The Schoenberg of Violin Concerto, Op. 36 (1934/36)? The Schoenberg of Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte for Voice, Piano and String Quartet, Op. 41a (1942) (Musical setting of Lord Byron's poem of the same name)? The Schoenberg of Piano Concerto, Op. 42 (1942)? The Schoenberg of I am almost sure, when your nurse will change your diapers (for Artur Rodzinsky on the birth of his son Richard) (Bärenreiter XXVIII) (March 1945) (4 voices)? The Schoenberg of Prelude to Genesis Suite for Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 44 (1945)? The Schoenberg of String Trio, Op. 45 (1946)? The Schoenberg of A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. 46 (1947)? The Schoenberg of Phantasy for Violin and Piano, Op. 47 (1949)? The Schoenberg of Modern psalm, Op. 50c (1950, unfinished)?

You get the idea: I love Schoenberg's music, he wasn't a one-trick-pony, he wasn't just someone who pioneered twelve-tone technique, most of the music is wonderfully dramatic in a way that many people probably exclusively associate w/ tonal music.

As for the "some kind of science experiment" comment, I find that very funny b/c my record Mechanically Repetitive / ReRecorded Records RECORD was reviewed thusly:

"Absolutely ridiculous concept record that is supposed to be a vinyl 'obstacle course' and comes with a massive booklet that talks a lot about Merzbow, philos[o]phies on what noise is and explanations of the various loops, samples, re-recorded sounds, lock grooves and whatever the hell else is on this. No music here, just a Dada art/science project from a guy who appears to know what he is talking about, and this could be some genius-level audio lesson here, but what do I know. I listen to rock'n'roll. I would say you could get high as hell and maybe enjoy fucking around with this, but...no, I don't even think that would help. There's an extra hole drilled into it so you can play the B-Side "off-balance" preventing normal spiraling-in play for a different experience each time. Disclaimer states "Damage to the needle may occur". Yeah, let me throw this right on my turntable. This thing probably killed at the local Science Fair. I have no idea why anyone would buy this, unless you're some sort of record geek of a variety I've never met or known to exist before I was mailed this. Oh wait, this guy is a "Saint" in the Church of the Subgenius. That explains a lot." ( - http://www.terminal-boredom.com/reviews20.html )

Ha ha! That's the 2nd time recently where I've found something fairly original of mine immediately contextualized as "ridiculous". NOw, if I were completely unorginal I cd truly be the nail that's hammered in while I sing my trite songs about how wild I am. Anyway, how was that for a double tangent?! Back to MacDonald & Wuorinen:

"Shortly after I started practicing Marimba Variations I received an invitation to perform it on a Showcase Concert at the 2010 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana in November, 2010. PASIC is an important annual event for percussionists. It is the single largest gathering of percussionists on the globe every year, with over 5,000 percussionists coming from dozens of countries to present concerts, clinics, and master classes." - p 291

Whew! What pressure! What stress! Playing for such an audience!!

Zuber, "a virtuoso marimbist, and a long-time collaborator with Wuorinen" (p 290) gets quoted again: ""I've been reading a lot about brain mapping. There's a very good book about it called The Mind has a Body of Its Own, by Sandra Blakesly. Brain mapping is a recent science where scientists can scan a part of the brain and tell what parts are active when someone is doing a certain task. They've been able to use that to learn a lot more about the brain and how people learn things."" (pp 291-292) &, yep, I've made a movie about brain mapping wch showed as part of one of the recent Pittsburgh Biennials at the PCA. I even met yet-another brain mapper recently who called the discipline "mind reading".

"Zuber's method of memorization supported my own findings over the years that visualization was critical to successful memorization" (p 292) "I gave each section a name, with some additional extual detail. I admit that it is unbearably corny, but it worked for me, and it was a unique solution to the danger of memory slips that I had never thought of before nor had I heard other performers discuss much. Suddenly these sections were telling me a story." (p 295) The reader (&, for that matter, the performer/author of this article) is strongly directly to read A. R. Luria's The Mind of a Mnemonist - A Little Book About A Vast Memory in wch the use of visualization is beautifully described as a tool for truly phenomenal memory.

On to Walter Frank's "Words as Music: Approaches to John Cage's Musical Writings": "In the are[a] of words and music, Pritchett also mentions Cage's connection to the poet Jackson MacLow. He states: "Both [Mureau] and Empty Words have a dual musical-poetic nature [...] In this regard, as well as in his use of chance to manipulate language, Cage drew upon the work of poets such as Jackson MacLow..." (1993: 177)" (p 301) I think of Mac Low's Vocabularies, eg. "Mac Low takes a deep view regarding structure and syntax as far as poetry is concerned. He [Mac Low] continues [about Cage]: "I think he viewed the experiences of composing, performing. and hearing [...] as being equally conducive to the arousal of [...] - intuitive wisdom/energy, the essence/seed of the enlightened state" (p 303) I direct the reader to my acct of the July 25, 1997 Language Experiment conducted by myself in collaboration w/ Florian Cramer, Berit Schuck, & etta cetera in Berlin: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutline1997.html .

Ah.. John Halle's "Occupy Wall Street, Composers and the Plutocracy: Some Variations on an Ancient Theme": It might be "an Ancient Theme" but I don't find it developed much (if at all) by many people other than myself. One can read my relevant essay, "Low Classical Usic", here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/WdmUUsicEssaysLCU.html . Halle, thankfully, goes there: "In the six month since its difficult birth in mid September, Occupy Wall Street has attracted widespread and largely favorable reaction among the public with a recent poll indicating 46% support, far higher than most political institutions, established parties and elected officials. Of course, the reaction has not been universally favorable." "So the question of who supports Occupy is by no means as unproblematically aligned on the left/right spectrum as it initially appears." - p 305

Indeed. A friend of mine who recently coorganized an Occupy gathering in MI told me a story about a Tea Party presidential candidate attending in an attempt to court Occupiers as potential Tea Party voters! Perhaps the 'funniest' party of the story was that the candidate parked in the handicapped space & then was very resistant to moving her vehicle from it when a van transporting a quadra- or para- plegic wanted to park there to enable the passenger to exit safely on the wheelchair side of the space. Uh, I don't think she'll be getting any votes from that crowd!!

"With this in mind, we can return to the original question: why have we [composers] not been involved in a movement whose stated objective is advancing economic justice for the 99%?

"Now a somewhat more problematic answer suggests itself: for centuries, composers were beholden to the one percenters of their day, the feudal aristocracy. And while aristocratic patronage would decline during the 19th century, the traditions and political allegiances inherited from this golden age live on." - p 305

"The claim just made is a slightly more pointed formulation of the suggestion made previously that our long history of aristocratic patronage may offer an explanation for our inherent tendency to throw in our lot with the one percent. But there is more to our identification and affinity with elites than shared history and economic self-interest. First, as composers we function in an executive capacity, one which involves, to cite a pointed remark of John Cage, "telling other people what to do." Just as the CEO dictates the precise specifications of a product and the conditions under which his labor force produces it, composers, if anything, go a step beyond the most repressive corporate executive, dictating every gesture by a workforce which is almost totally under the control of the choreography we produce for them in our scores. the megalomania of a composer like Wagner and that of a CEO like Rupert Murdoch may not be so different after all, and it should come as no surprise that the Met, a three ring circus of gesamkunstwerkeliche activity, is the most generously endowed of all art institutions." - p 308

Speaking of circuses, arguably my favorite concert I ever attended was the "Cage-A-Thon" at the Strathmore Hall Arts Center in Rockville, MD, on Saturday, May 6, 1989 - something I dearly wish I cd experience again.

"Finally, there is a matter of the highly controlled, quasi police-state atmosphere of the concert hall, one which forces audiences to submit passively to the experience imposed on them by the composer." - p 308

I'm reminded of a friend's description of attending a La Monte Young performance way back when. He said that there were very buff security guards who ejected anyone who made a sound, such as coughing, during the performance. No thanks.

"the Occupy Musicians website [..] and the mixture of negative responses and non-responses I received in my attempts to organize for it. Compounding this with the relative absence of names of well-known composers, many of whom were contacted for inclusion and chose not to sign on, provides one general indication that composers have kept their distance from OWS." - p 309

Of course, Halle didn't contact me, nor wd he have.

Again, it's that classical musician's fear of not being taken seriously: why a person's reputation cd be ruined if they're seen associating w/ the 'wrong' people. I remember being friends w/ a young opera singer. She knew me thru artistic circles so my eccentricities were tolerated or perhaps seen as a sign of potential genius. THEN, one day she saw me wearing a postal worker's uniform! She was horrified! I wasn't a postal worker, I just wore the uniform for fun, for a change of appearance pace. But I think she cd never accept me again after that. I was suddenly stigmatized as a 'worker': OMIGOD! No matter that I actually was a worker all along & that she just hadn't noticed b/c she only experienced me in intellectual contexts.

Halle understands that the association of composers w/ the 1% is an influence situation that can go both ways. After all, I suspect that Cage did an astonishing job of making anarchy seem ok to some rich people. "If there are any doubts of our potential, they will be removed by viewing Alex Ross's extraordinary video taken on Lincoln Center Plaza following the final performance of Satyagraha at the Met on Dec. 1. In what is now a minor legend, Philip Glass decided against taking his curtain call on stage and to stand with occupiers on Broadway across the plaza requesting that the Met audience exiting the theatre" [note Halle's spelling here & see my previous note re the subject - tENT note] "join them. Policee barricades had been erected to prevent precisely this-a demonstration of Occupy in Lincoln Center-but Glass's presence, the message of the opera, and occupiers' repeated reminder that "the opera is your life," proved so compelling that hundreds ignored the police orders." (p 310) Shit, even I'm moved by this story even tho I think Satyagraha is a thoroughly mediocre piece of music. After reading it, I liked Glass more than I ever did before.

Halle's addenda article is entitled "Paying the Fiddler, Calling the Tune and the Madwoman in the Attic' recounts the requesting of the previous article & the rejection thereof b/c of its economic/political content:

"At the peak of its visibility a few months ago Occupy was not only popular, but also fashionable to the extent that hidebound establishment elite institutions were compelled to respond to it.

"Among these were arts institutions for whom the sort of cultural relevance which Occupy possesses as well as its appeal to a younger demographic, is not just desirable but even necessary. On this basis, it made sense that the most terminally unhip and geriatric of the arts, contemporary classical music, felt some pressure to associate itself with occupy. And it was for this reason that the leading professional advocacy organization for contemporary classical composers, New Music USA, would request an article from me on the relationship of composers to Occupy to run on its online journal, New Music Box." - p 311

Now, as a person who's been popularly slotted as extremely 'hip' & hopelessly 'unhip' (w/ a frequency not unlike AC electricity) throughout most of my adult life, I hereby publicly proclaim that the whole notion of "hip" is worthless & idiotic. That sd, I don't think that "contemporary classical music" is "the most terminally unhip and geriatric of the arts", I think it's like a zillion other esoteric pursuits, thankfully separate from 'hipness' (wch is hopelessly stupid & conformist) & basically just for geeks who've managed to not get their nail hammered into the Lowest Common Denominator of anti-intellectualism. More power to it! OR, rather, Less Power Against It!

"Things proceeded smoothly-the editors read it, had a few suggestions and corrections, and were cleatly excited about it running. One of them described it as "amazing" though adding, somewhat ominously, that she was "going to want to give my CEO an early read on it as well, just because of the subject matter/politics involved."

"So it came as no surprise that, in a few days time, I received an email from the CEO in question (who I should mention is an old and close friend) inviting me to chat on the phone about the piece." - p 311

The article was rejected for New Music Box.

"Whether or not they are familiar with Babbit>s (or Feldman>s or Schoenberg>s) published statements expressing an aristocratic disdain for an ignorant and uncomprehending public, they are able to correctly infer from the music itself that it is not designed with them in mind" - p 313

Is the music really for anyone in particular? I think of what I do as being a seeding process, much (most?) of it falls on fallow ground. Maybe it makes more sense to scientifically seed, to seek out the receptive (v)audience, I reckon I do that too - but there's a potential healthiness in avoiding the incestuous small community. One of the only people who's ever even told me that they read my writings on (M)Usic is an anarchist christian drag queen squatter medic friend. Such is life, eh?

In 2012, I put together 12 radio programs on CD to air whenever there was downtime on a local mostly punk community radio stn. People were opposed to a free-floating program, some people connected w/ the stn might've been borderline hostile to my show's content or to me for choosing to not have a regular show on at a regular pre-scheduled time. The program was called "It's Always 6 O'Clock" (in honor of the Mad Hatter & neoism) & I was the host, as Monty Cantsin, of what I presented as an 'easy listening' show. My intention was to play politically radical music mostly outside of the punk/hiphop/folk music ghetto that most of my anarchist friends are locked into. Here's my DJ patter & the list of what the 1st program consisted of:

Easy & Delectable #01 - April 6, 2012

Monty Cantsin: "You're listening to 99.1FM, WSDR, smoooooth & delectable radio. Next up are the tender strains of Atari Teenage Riot's "The Future of War" from their "Burn, Berlin, Burn!" release."

01 "The Future of War" - 3:44 - Atari Teenage Riot - "Burn, Berlin, Burn!"

Ah, yes, thank you Atari Teenage Riot for that vacation from the stresses of daily life. & now for Ruth Crawford Seeger's classic, the first of her "Two Ricercari", a ditty about our old favorites here on SDR, Sacco & Vanzetti.

02 "Two Ricercari (1): Sacco, Vanzetti" - 5:02 - Ruth Crawford Seeger - American Visionary

Nothing like Ruth Crawford Seeger's "Sacco, Vanzetti" to make the day fly by like a dream! But why stop there? Now that we're sailing on the waves of 1920s anarchy, we might as well get a taste of Vanzetti's own words as gracefully set to music by none other than relaxation's king, Roger Reynolds, with his "A Portrait of Vanzetti"! Close your eyes & dream along with Vanzetti & Reynolds!

03 "A Portrait of Vanzetti" - 20:34 - Roger Reynolds - Music from the ONCE Festival - 1962-63

I hope you enjoyed that gentle float down memory lane with Roger Reynolds & Bartolomeo Vanzetti. & now let's pay a visit to Germany with our old friend Hanns Eisler & his song "Bankenlied"!

04 "Bankenlied" - 3:09 - Hanns Eisler - Documente - disc 3

Don't worry if you didn't understand the language, it's enough to know that Hanns was paying homage to banks & bankers. That's a fitting follow-up to the executions of Sacco & Vanzetti! & while we're on the subject of executions & persecutions, how about my personal favorite of sooooothing & smoothing.. Yoko Ono! & her paean to a "Woman of Salem" in those good old days of 1692!

05 "Woman of Salem" - 3:31 - Yoko Ono - Run, Run, Run

Yes, that was Yoko Ono's mellifluous memories of yesteryear. & here's another flashback to those years of yore: Frederic Rzewski's setting of Oscar Wilde's "De Profundis". How sweet it is!

06 "De Profundis" - 31:18 - Frederic Rzewski - De Profundis

You just had a taste of Oscar Wilde's gentle ruminations of imprisonment. Ah, literature, the place to turn to on a summer's day at the beach! Now, if you're not at the beach, maybe you're not on vacation - maybe you're at, or near, your job, That's where Pittsburgh's own Anne Feeney comes in to change the mood set by Rzewski. Yes, Ms Feeney gives us a happy little pill with her "Goonies" from her delectable "Dump the Bosses off your Back" CD!

07 "Goonies" - 2:44 - Anne Feeney - Dump the Bosses off your Back

We love you, Anne! & we began this smoooooth & delectable radio program with Atari Teenage Riot's "The Future of War" so let's fade away into sweet oblivion with Ed Sanders' "America at Peace March" from his "Thirsting for Peace" CD. Ed, as you know, was a founder of those pioneers of pleasant listening, The Fugs.

08 "America at Peace March" - 4:15 - Ed Sanders - Thirsting for Peace

& that's it for today's edition of "It's Always 6 O'Clock" with your host Monty Cantsin here on 99.1FM WSDR, smooooth & delectable radio! I hope I've erased all your troubles & cares & hope even more that you'll be tuned in again, real soon!


Yet another article of fine substance (OPEN SPACE just keeps 'em comin'!): Martin Brody's ""Music for the Masses": Milton Babbitt's Cold War Music Theory":

"It is exceptionally important to master the musical forms of the mass: songs, marches, dances, etc., forms which are part of their life. To ignore these forms would be incorrect and harmful, to master them would mean helping the creative growth of the artist and his nearer approach to the working class.

(Lev Lebidinsky, speech at the Second International Music Conference of the International Union of Revolutionary Music, 1933)" - p 314

That's the opening quote &, WOW!, do I find it immediately problematic! Are there <i>intrinsically</i> "musical forms of the mass"es? Or is it just these are the available forms? Take, eg, "marches": it seems to me that marches are imposed by the process of instilling in the 'masses' an obedience to a process not necessarily good for them at all. Then there's the implication that the "artist" requires a "nearer approach to the working class" &, therefore, isn't working class to begin w/.

Who, exactly, are the working class?! People refer to them/us & generally have some notion akin to H. G. Wells's Morlocks from his bk The Time Machine: they're/we're the people who keep things running, under unpleasant conditions - the implication is that they're/we're dumb brutes good for plowing the fields n'at but incapable of intellect.

I work to support myself, I do intellectual & physical labor. I worked as a hard-wood floor finisher for 10 yrs, I sometimes load & unload trucks, I do my own electrical work in my house, I come from a lower middle-class family, I've worked for minimum wage & <i>less</i> than minimum wage. Am I working class? According to a former fashion punk friend of mine whose father was a Washington DC lawyer, I'm NOT. Why? B/c "working class people don't collect videos" & I do - ie: working class people have no intellectual interests. Such a stereotype is a ruling class stereotype projected onto working class people to justify using them/us like beasts of burden.

Is anyone in a union working class? Aren't all symphony musicians in the musician's union? Are they working class even tho they're playing music by (hypothetically) NON working class people?

Is a working class person necessarily poor? NO. Most people will accept plumbers, eg, as working class & a licensed one makes about $60 hrly these days & is usually kept pretty busy. Is a working class person necessarily not an intellectual? I wd argue NO. That's probably more common than not but it's not an inflexible rule. Read Australian Tom Collins's (Joseph Furphy's) novel Such is Life about bullock driving. Furphy was a bullock driver (cowboy, as we'd say in the US) & the novel revolves around that. I don't know Furphy's life story - maybe he came from a well-to-do family & just worked as a cowboy for a little while. If so, was he working class when he was a cowboy? Did he cease to be working class when he ceased to be a cowboy? Whatever the case, Such is Life is a classic philosophical intellectual bk written by a cowboy.

Am I working class? Even my own opinion varies on that one. I work, I've been poor most of my life, my life revolves around intense intellectual pursuits. I tend to think of myself as a member of the "No-No Class", a term I coined. Was I working class when I finished floors & then suddenly upper class when I performed experimental music in concert w/ my own experimental movies? Am I ruling class as I write this analysis b/c working class people supposedly don't write analysis? If so, where are my ruling class perqs? Where's my huge financial safety net? As I write this, my drainage pipes are frozen, there's been a freezing spell on here for 2 wks or so w/ no end in sight. I can't afford to pay someone to solve the problem. Therefore, I work on it myself but there's not much I can do about sub-zero weather. Does working on it myself make me working class?

The quote from Lev Lebidinsky above smacks of paternalism. If "songs, marches, dances" are "the musical forms of the mass" then I reckon the masses can make them themselves, eh?, & don't need a non working class person to do it for them. Do working class people sit around in their/our spare time when we're not being slaved to death & write symphonies for the upper classes? A part of this whole mess is that working class people are too busy working to have time for (even if they/we had/have the brains or knowledge) composing a symphony. In other words, working class people work & composing music isn't work - ergo, a working class person can't be a composer.

What about unemployed working class people? Are they still working class? Now they have time to compose a symphony but they've probably never learned notation. What if they compose a complex piece of music using more familiar means: words & numbers. I've done this. "Systems Management", the piece that HiTEC performed (see earlier references) was largely (d) composed by me using NO conventional notation other than the newish text score. Few people wd ever disagree that this was a complex piece. It's not the same as Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony, wch I dearly love & respect, it's its own thing. I'd be the 1st to admit Turangalila's superior greatness - but I probably like "Systems Management" more than I like something by, say, Douglas Moore - a perfectly 'respectable' (unlike myself) classical composer.

"Mass Culture is a dynamic, revolutionary force, breaking down the old barriers of class tradition, taste, dissolving all cultural distinctions. It mixes and scrambles everything together, producing what might be called homogenized culture, after another American achievement, the homogenization process that distributes globules of cream evenly throughout the milk instead of allowing them to float separately on to. It thus destroys all values, since value judgments imply discrimination. Mass Culture is very, very democratic: it absolutely refuses to discriminate against, or between, anything or anybody. All are grist to its mill, and all comes out finely ground.

(Dwight Macdonald, "A Theory of Mass Culture," 1951)" - p 314

I don't present these opening quotes as examples of what Brody tries to convince us is true. I get the impression that he uses them to set the tone of intellectual discussion around the issue at hand - esp during Babbitt's lifetime.

I disagree w/ Macdonald's claim: I don't think that Mass Culture "destroys all values" or "absolutely refuses to discriminate against, or between, anything or anybody". Instead, I think that Mass Culture consists of whatever the most people can relate to, the LCD (the Lowest Common Denominator that I'm always referring to). There are shared "values", these are the values of the LCD; what's discriminated against is what doesn't fit the LCD - therefore, specialist concerns that're at the forefront are discriminated against, if they're unnoticed underpinnings they're ok. If a piece of music is composed to draw attn to characteristics only understandable by specialists then they're discriminated against: they will not be popular. A song performed by front-person Britney Spears will not forefront the sophisticated production values - it'll forefront a fashion/sex object that most people can relate to + simple rhythm & melody.

Brody does a great job of walking the reader thru Babbitt's life & musical philosophy + controversies about whether music can &/or shd be 'for the people', etc, etc..

"Babbitt urges us "to recognize the possibility, and the actuality, of alternatives to what were once regarded as musical absolutes" and surrender any residual nostalgia for "unitary musical universe of 'common practice' " in favor of a variety of diverse practices." - p 317

"However, by resisting metaphysics and dismantling the structures of absolutism in music theory in favor of a value-neutral, positivist epistemology, Babbitt positions himself at the edge of a precariously relativistic precipice: if the criteria of music theories are merely that they be conceptually clear, then an infinite number of "theories," "compositional systems," or, simply, "pieces" can be equally viable; musical composition is cut loose from constraints and boundaries." - p 318

SO? It's already like that anyway isn't it? I mean people who're capable of it make up their own minds & the rest don't. Babbitt:

"I don't think there's anything melodramatic or exaggerated about bringing up the question of the actual survival of serious music. . . . [S]urvival seems unlikely when the conditions necessary for that survival are so seriously threatened. These conditions are the corporal survival of the composer in his role as composer, then the survival of his creations in some kind of communicable, permanent, and readable form, and finally, perhaps above all, the survival of the university in a role which universities seem less and less willing to assume: that is of the mightiest of fortresses against the overwhelming, outnumbering forces, both within and without the university, of anti-intellectualism, cultural populism, and passing fashion." - p 320

I love academic classical music, esp contemporary, esp the stuff that's too wild & experimental & sophisticated even for many academicians to tolerate - BUT I do think that it's more than a little IFFY that any type of music has to rely on ANY particular source of funding or it'll go out of business. I mean, personally, I think the passion of the composers & the players shd be the 1st & foremost thing that keeps it going. That's what kept me going all these yrs - why shd they be different? Might do 'em good! Toughen 'em up n'at.

Babbitt's friendships w/ American Trotskyite intellectuals is explored, as is his (& their) disillusionment w/ Stalinist Russia. I've only learned recently to appreciate how significant the differences were in Trotsky's philosophy (such as his support for & appreciation of artists - as opposed to Socialist Realism, wch I have nothing but contempt for) until he was, unfortunately, assassinated.

"Babbitt's recollection of his antipathy to the Music Vanguard (and Copland's comments therein on the comparative situations of young Russian and American composers) suggest that he was highly engaged by the debates over proletarianism, radicalism in general, and music during the 1930s. Babbitt must have been painfully well aware that radical politics played an important role in defining a fragile American musical culture in search of techniques and values. As Copland declared in his article "Note to Young Composers" in the inaugural issue of the Music Vanguard, the proletarian movement threatened to overthrow the great bourgeois lineage of European musical tradition: "It is no secret that many of the young composers who had taken one or the other of these two older men [Schoenberg and Stravinsky] as their models have now thrown in their lot with that of the working class.

"Recalling the period over forty years later, Arthur Berger elaborated on Copland's claim:

"[A]rtists were being supported and commissioned to carry out projects with Americana as their subject matter. You can really understand that the mannerisms and devices issuing out of Vienna were too remote for this purpose. . . .

"Curiously enough, Americanism [at that time] went hand in hand with political leftism. . . . Now it should be obvious that the demands of a proletariat [sic] music required greater accessibility than could be vouchsafed by the type of music emanating from Vienna." - p 325

Until 2013, I'd always been repulsed by Americana music both b/c of its nationalism & its being programmatic. Things like Copland's "Appalachian Spring" (despite its ostensible importance as music in the history of modern dance) & "Billy the Kid" exemplified this. Furthermore, from reading the liner notes of some Gay American Composer CDs perhaps, I'd had the impression that Virgil Thomson, partially b/c of his reputedly helping Cage orchestrate "The Seasons" (or so I read somewhere or another - maybe in Revill's not very good Cage bio), was the more radical of the 2 in a sortof 'Gay Elders in NYC history'. This was probably further reinforced by Thomson using Gertrude Stein texts as libretti in 2 pieces. HOWEVER, these days I started listening more to the music of both of them (Thomson had never interested me much either, actually - I always thought that "Four Saints in Three Acts" was boring & I've had a bad attitude toward Stein ever since I read the execrable The Making of Americans) & was somewhat surprised to discover that Copland's music is rich & complex & varied while Thomson's is almost unbearably simple-minded (altho that, in itself, can also be interesting).

I was then led to reexamine Americana more when I realized that 2 of my favorite composers had done some early work along those lines: Lejaren Hiller ("Jesse James", "Five Appalachian Ballads") & Lukas Foss ("The Leaping Frog of Calaveras County"). It was then that I started realizing that much of the intent of Americana was to reinforce a democratic ideology strongly distinguished from naziism in the wake of WWII. Even Leonard Lehrman's "We Are Innocent" in defense of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg cd be considered Americana, IMO, b/c it humanizes people awaiting execution &, therefore, supports humanitarian values that democracies purport to have.

[March 29, 2016 interpolation: Since writing this review I've made my one-&-only 'Americana' piece, "Tex-Mix (Giddyup Americana)", a movie about wch can be witnessed on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/yVZPa4gCdAU ]

"As early as 1933, for example, Babbitt's composition teacher, Roger Sessions, spoke out forcefully against the invocation of politics and nationalism as organizing principles for musical thought." - p 326

&, yet, I just recently listened to an interview w/ Sessions by pianist Jacqueline La Brecque (on the Opus One label's boxset of the three piano sonatas) in wch Sessions says that one section of one of his sonatas is meant to be "ugly" b/c it's meant to be reminiscent of "goosestepping" & he specifically goes into being in Italy during the rise of Fascism & Germany during the rise of Naziism. He's hardly apolitical about it - even in the music.

Babbitt contributed a poem in November, 1945, to his friend Dwight Macdonald's journal, Politics: "Macdonald, by then a self-described anarchist-pacifist, founded Politics in reaction to the Partisan Review's retreat from political positions during the war. It would be extravagant to ascribe anarchist, pacifist, or socialist opinions to Babbitt based on his association with Macdonald's journal. However, fro any author, a connection with Politics signalled a strong anti-Stalinist position." "Simone Weil's "Words and War," an impassioned demand for clear thought and speech as a remedy to the treacherous obscurities and sloganeering of war, seems an obvious companion piece to Babbitt's poem. Her contrast between "known quantities" and "empty absolutes" even seems to adumbrate Babbitt's critique of metaphysics and imprecision in music discourse: "Clouds of empty absolutes hide the problem's [the elimination of war] known qualities, even the fact that this is a problem to solve, and not an inescapable fate. They dull our minds, they carry us to our deaths."" ""[T]he appearance of fascism-characterized by a form of social and idelogical organization that appeared to transform classes into 'masses'-ensured that the social concern of American intellectuals would increasingly be with the model of a mass society and mass culture." For Babbitt's Trotskyist friends, indeed for many American intellectuals, the Soviet Union, as well as Germany, came to be seen as a dangerous proponent of mass culture." (p 327)

Yes, yes, & yes. To me, mass culture is the culture that allows the individual to forsake their own responsibility. It fosters a society of robopaths ever-ready to pretend to be on a higher moral ground b/c of safety-in-numbers. It fosters mobs, conformity, the deadly ease of manipulation by genocidal maniacs. Mass culture is to be avoided like the plague. On the other hand, clear-headed anarchist individualist analysis may help people see thru class manipulations & get past all the bullshit & propaganda to the actual problem. Yes to Simone Weil, yes to Andrew Ross. Maybe even yes to Milton Babbitt (altho his music's never done much for me, I've still listened to plenty of it).

"Mass culture, identified with the Soviet Union and Germany, and with "debased" and "mechanical" capitalist production, was seen, both in principle and practice, to be an instrument of authoritarianism and totalitarian states." "A complementary defense against mass art lay in the promotion and production of a different kind of artistic work, work that was doggedly individualistic, unafraid of complexity, irreducible, resistant to appropriation." (p 328) Work that's "doggedly individualistic, unafraid of complexity, irreducible, resistant to appropriation"?! Bring it on, baby, bring it on! That's exactly what I want AND, as far as I can tell, exactly what the society I live in hates & fears most deeply: 'OMIGOD! You mean I might actually have to THINK?!'. & I'm not in the Soviet Union or nazi Germany.

"As Greenberg suggested, Trotsky (opposing Stalin and the cultural policies of the Soviet state) provided leftist intellectuals with exemplary declarations for self-legislated art." "As proposed in a letter to the editors of the Partisan Review signed by Trotsky in 1938, "Artistic creation has its own laws-even when it consciously serves a social movement. Truly intellectual creation is incompatible with lies, hypocrisy, and the spirit of conformity. Art can become a strong ally of revolution only insofar as it remains faithful to itself."" (p 329) then again, Hitler was an artist - most artists wd like to forget that or poo-poo it away. "the Trotskyist opposition of conformity and true artistic creation comes close to Greenberg's famous categories of "kitsch" and "avant-garde." (Greenberg published "Avant-garde and Kitsch" in the Partisan Review in 1939". (p 330) Unfortunately Greenberg apparently put all his eggs in the basket of abstraction & failed to notice the subversive qualities in other art mvmts - thusly rendering himself 'obsolete'. Flexibility, guys, flexibility. There is no one answer.

"Just as avant-garde art is "about" plastic values and the causes of artistic experience, serious music is to be understood in terms of scientific language, not the vacuous, "incorrigible" language of "easy evaluative" and "expressive descriptives."" (p 331) "(Greenberg's own claim, that there are intrinsic characteristics distinguishing works of avant-garde and kitsch art, would have been difficult for him to make if it were applied principally to music; music would not have provided him with the visual arts' strong intuitive distinction between representation and abstraction.)" (p 332) Hence the weakness of an argument implied to have validity outside of the field it's restricted to.

"Moreover, as Schlesinger stated forthrightly in the Partisan Review's 1952 forum on American culture, "the only answer to mass culture, of course, lies in the affirmation of America, not as a uniform society, but as a various and pluralistic society, made of many groups with diverse interests. The immediate problem is to conserve cultural pluralism in face of the threat of the mass media."" (p 335) That's quite a visionary statement to've made in 1952.

Clement Greenberg: "No culture can develop develop without a social basis, without a stable income." (p 337) Really? I wonder where I fit in: I'm looking at $612 mnthly Social 'Security' when I retire &, yet, I'm sure I'll keep on keepin' on w/ more energy than Greenberg ever had. Well, ok, "$612 mnthly" is a "stable income", it's just below the poverty level. &, yeah, I DO have a social basis: trust no-one (ok, I'm exaggerating for dramatic effect here) but still work for the 'greater good' anyway or things will get even worse than they are now.

"Whether or not any part of this view of high art continues to seem viable or desirable, it exists in relation to a conception of "kitsch" that may now seem entirely too monolithic. Thus, the high/mass culture distinction is likely to seem entirely too severe." (p 337) I don't actually think in terms of "high" culture, that's too "high"erarchical: I think in terms of culture created by people who want to foster free thinking vs culture created by people who want to foster conformity. NEVER trust the latter, people who want to control are inherently up to no good.

& let's not ignore the footnotes:

"68. Macdonald, for example, continued his longstanding critique of kitsch and mass culture in the postwar period, as the quotation at the beginning of this essay exemplifies. His discussion of the way kitsch "mixes and scrambles everything" adumbrates Babbitt's comments on "unscientific" musical discourse "which permits anything to be said and virtually nothing to be communicated" ("Structure and Function," 11), hence obfuscating meaningful distinctions." (p 344) "[P]ostwar period"? When was that? 1945-1950 (when the Korean War started)? I mean, I was born in 1953 & I'm not sure there's ever been a moment when the USA hasn't been at war (usually covertly or under various guises). Hence, the very notion of "postwar" has become sadly anachronistic: welcome to 'PERMANENT' WAR.

"75." Babbitt: "Granting to music the position accorded other arts and sciences [in universities] promises the sole substantive means of survival for the music I have been describing. Admittedly, if this music is not supported, the whistling repertory of the man in the street will be little affected, the concert-going activity of the conspicuous consumer of musical culture will be little disturbed. But music will cease to evolve and, in that important sense, will cease to live. (250)" (p 344) I've got news for you Babbitt (ok, I know you're dead, I'm making a joke (of sorts)), music will both continue to evolve & continue to live even if it's no longer produced by pampered poodles who move on to somewhere else for their pampering. Ever heard of adapting?! That sd, I STILL support academic support of esoteric work - what the fuck else is it there for if not that?!

Brody's excellent article was reprinted from The Musical Quarterly & I am again grateful to OPEN SPACE for doing so.

& now we come almost full circle back to Elaine Barkin's article: "Telling it SLANT or In Search of the Early Years of 'A Sitting on a Gate'": another reprint, this time from Perspectives of New Music, Volume 20, Nos. 1 & 2 (2012): "In 1962, MY DEAR FRIEND Ben Boretz (who was only 28 and also music critic for The Nation, a boon for me as it turned out) drafted, recruited me into helping out with, still under wraps, as yet unborn Perspectives of New Music." "Now, as I take down and open Vol. 1 No. 1, Fall 1962-with a memoriam to Irving Fine who died way too young and also with whom Ben and I had studied at Brandies-I am taken back, and aback, when I notice a short article by my longtime friend and colleague Paul Des Marais who died last year. That issue was the cat's meow! (The cat's pajamas might have been the magazine Source, music of the avant garde, which made its first appearance in 1967, supported by UC Davis, its glossy focus on scores and photos a world apart from PNM then, but Source ceased in 1973." (p 346) & I have total envy for these cats b/c both magazines are sorely absent from my otherwise extraordinary archive.

"But there was conflict, tension, loss of support from the Fromm Foundation and of the Princeton University Press in 1972, some-ones having poured poison in another's ears (and pockets), a bit Sahekespearian yes, high-falutin' sense of propriety, culminating in a decision for PNM to be independent! I could, but won't, write an entire article about Vol, 10 No. 2, 1972: its opening page of editors, commencing with the first part of Jim Randall's "Compose Yourself", at the very end Ben Johnston's letter admonishing Perspectives for 'perennially ignoring the John Cage phenomenon'." (p 347) In other words, they adapted.

"Ben's Meta-Variations was published serially from 1969-1973: Preface, Introduction, Parts I-IV are verbal essays; Part V is the composition Group Variations. A from the-ground-up reconstructive unfolding of all that which is nominally called or designated as being "music"; a re-evalutaion of "music theory" and "ear training" starting with the idea that there is musical intellection and asking the questions 'why do music in the first place'" (p 349) Sounds important to me!

Barkin ends w/ an "Addendum" of dates:

"1912 : Centenaries,a Mini-Mini-Selection"

from wch I select the 3 most important to me:

"September 5, birth of John Milton Cage Jr. in Los Angeles, CA (d. 1992).

October 16, premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire in Berlin, Germany.

October 27, birth of Samuel Conlon Nancarrow in Texarkana, AR (d. 1997)." - p 354

I truly think that this is about as important a collection of (M)Usic essays as one is likely to find in any one place. I also think hardly anyone's going to actually read it - including some of the authors w/in. Such is life.

p.s. Since this review is, obviously, not long enuf to satisfy most people's eagerness to experience my opinions (;-P), I direct you to the review of the little bk that accompanies OPEN SPACE 15/16: J. K. Randall's TO ASTONISH THE ROSES - 7 emails to Walter Branchi: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/347936-review-of-j-k-randall-s-to-astonish-the-roses





idioideo at verizon dot net


to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Anti-Neoism page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Audiography page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Bibliography page

to my "Blaster" Al Ackerman index

to the site that lists the Books that tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has something in or is mentioned in


to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Censored or Rejected page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Collaborations website

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (d) compositions page

to Amir-ul Kafirs' Facebook page

to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience

to Gifs made by Ryan Broughman

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's GoodReads profile

to Graffiti index

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Home Tapers

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE index page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE'S minimal International Union of Mail Artists page

to a listing of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's manifestations on the Internet Archive

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee index

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer index

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE'S Linked-In profile

for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..

to the mm index

to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Neoism page

to the DEFINITIVE Neoism/Anti-Neoism website

to the Philosopher's Union website

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Score Movies


to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important

to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page

to the Tattoos index

to Psychic Weed's Twitter page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Vimeo index

to Vine movies relevant to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE made by Ryan Broughman

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's presence in the Visual Music Village

for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH

to a very small selection of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Writing

to the onesownthoughts YouTube channel