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Music Downtown

"This is an indispensable piece of living history, documenting an absolutely crucial moment in the development of 21st century music. For many of these pieces and composers, Gann's discussion is the only record we have. The criticism is at the highest level: careful yet uncompromising, historically informed, erudite, and well-expressed."--Robert Fink, University of California, Los Angeles
"A highly intelligent and vividly engaged depiction of the new music scene over the last several years. The music Gann discusses is some of the most important being produced today, as well as the least attended to by scholars and the media. The 'you are there' feel of these articles conveys the intellectual and artistic rigor behind the music, as well as the passion and commitment of its makers. The writing is polemical, emotional, advocatory; Gann is often provocative, and always honest and forceful."--Evan Ziporyn, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Clarinetist and Composer, Bang On A Can All-stars
"The late 1980s and the 1990s were probably the most contentious years in the history of American music, especially in New York. The Soho News had folded. The New York Times had opted out. During this time, Kyle Gann was consistently the most interesting, reliable and honest reviewer in all of New York. Everybody read him. Probably every composer mentioned in this book would want to "correct" what has been said about her or his music. But you can't argue with Kyle. His opinions are too deeply felt. He is too well-studied. He writes too well. And he is too smart."--Robert Ashley, Composer
"No one else could have written this marvelous book. No one else has been so completelyimmersed in "new music" as has Gann for some twenty years--and moreover likes it. No other music critic is so courageous, communicative, compelling, and candid (if now and then contentious)--or writes such consummately crystalline, convincing prose. Hurrah! Huzzah!!"--H. Wiley Hitchcock, Distinguished Professor of Music emeritus, CUNY, and founding director, Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College
Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface: New Music and the Village Voice Acknowledgments Introduction: The Importance of Being Downtown INTERVIEWS Shouting at the Dead: Robert Ashley's Neoplatonist TV Operas The Part That Doesn't Fit Is Me: Yoko Ono, the Inventor of Downtown Midtown Avant-Gardist: Philip Glass Sails Columbus into a Clash of Keys and Cultures Trimpin's Machine Age: A Revolutionary Tinker Revives the Dream of Infinitely Fluid Music Dancing with the Audience: Carman Moore's Mass Attempts to Heal the World Harps from Heaven: Glenn Branca Reemerges from the Thick of Theory Shadowing Capote: Mikel Rouse The Dance Between: David First Raising Ghosts: Leroy Jenkins Brings the African Burial Ground to Life Opera Meets Oprah: Mikel Rouse Hawks Salvation in an Opera for Real People A Difficult Woman: A Cosmic Piano Concerto from the Outspoken Composer of Vagina Monkey Business: Fred Ho De-Europeanizes Opera with Martial Arts Music and/versus Society Sampling: Plundering for Art Mozarts Live! "Performing Mozart's Music" Killers in the Audience Letting Euro Go What Normal People Hear: Rose Rosengard Subotnik Dysfunctional Harmony: Creativity Don't Touch that Dahl: Classical Radio Spin It Around: New Music in the Public's Hands Paradise at Our Fingertips: Voltaire's Bastards What's Your AQ? Dump the Multicult No More Heroes Music of the Excluded Middle Medicine Music: The Uses of Art Who Killed Classical Music? Forget It, Jake--It's Uptown Musical Politics Paradigms Lost: Rhys Chatham/John Zorn Blurred Out: On Language Rock Rules: Bandwagonism Pulitzer Hacks: Amateurs/Professionals Composer's Clearing House: The Pulitzer Prize Obitchuaries: John Cage Totally Ismic: Totalism The Last Barbarian: John Cage Berlitz's Downtown for Musicians: New-Music Performance What Are We, Chopped Liver? The New Generation The Great Divide: Uptown Composers Are Stuck in the Past Y Not 2K? Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead: Modernism Loses Its Grip as the Odometer Turns Over Aesthetics Let X = X: Minimalism versus Serialism A Tale of Two Sohos: Plato/Aristotle A Secret Manifesto: Fred Lerdahl The Modernist Dance: War in the Brain It's Only as Good as It Sounds: Richard Rorty Noises of Fate: You Don't Need a Sampler to Recontextualize Sounding the Image Waiting for Monteverdi: Minimalism Dads versus Shadows: James Hillman Vexing the Purists: Vexations Musical Amnesia Cured! Imagism End of the Paper Trail: Scores Reflections on Books, Figures, and Events No Shortcuts: John Cage E.T., Go Home: Tuning Composing the Lingo: Harry Partch, American Inventor Modernist: Morton Feldman's Abstract Expressions One-Note Wonder: A New York Retrospective for Italy's Saintly Mystic, Giacinto Scelsi Minimalism Isn't Pretty: Tony Conrad Makes a Truculent Comeback Father of Us All: The Critic as Composer Grand Old Youngster: Turning the Century at Lincoln Center Concert Reviews Maximal Spirit: La Monte Young Big Machines, Little Issues: The 1987 International Computer Music Conference First Flight: John Adams Admiring the Waterfall: David Garland Yawn: R.{ths}I.{ths}P. Hayman Mottos and Models: Morton Feldman/Rhys Chatham/Anthony Coleman Searching for the Plague: Diamanda Galas Oceans without Walls: Laurie Anderson Insiders, Outsiders, and Old Boys: New Music America '89 Dark Stormy Night: Nicolas Collins Let There Be Noise: David Rosenboom/Trichy Sankaran Music in Time of War: The Composer-to-Composer Symposium Don't Worry, Be Hopi Enough of Nothing: Postminimalism Voltage High: Ron Kuivila Isn't That Spatial? Henry Brant The Limits of Craft: Frederic Rzewski/Philip Glass Opera Is Relative: Einstein on the Beach Well-Tuned Blues: The Forever Bad Blues Band Voice of the Unutterable: The S.E.M. Ensemble How Peculiar? The American Eccentrics Flutes and Flying Branches: The Taos Pueblo Powwow The Tingle of p {mult} mn {mi} 1: La Monte Young/Marian Zazeela The British Don't Have Oral Sex: Now Eleanor's Idea View from the Gap: Emerging Voices Regarding Henry: The World's First Multicultural Modernist Conservative Patron Saint of Outsiders What Our Pulses Say: David Garland/Billy Martin Mistaken Memories: Tony Conrad: One-Idea Composer or Late Bloomer? Passings Legacy of the Quiet Touch That Which Is Fundamental: Julius Eastman, 1940--1990 Philosopher No More: He Quietly Started a Spiritual Revolution Index

About the Author

Kyle Gann is music critic for the Village Voice and Associate Professor of Music at Bard College. He is the author of American Music in the Twentieth Century (1997) and The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995).

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