Milhaud is Tacky, So Says Krenek (On Furniture Taste)

His house, filled with old-fashioned furniture and family photographs by suburban photographers, is a kind of chamber of horrors, the exhibits being fantastic, tasteless objects from every chance country — particularly bottles, which Milhaud collects with a rare passion and success. He is also madly in love with his old picture postcards showing highly varnished […]

Gender Roles and Krenek

Let me start off this post by noting that Krenek was a very smart man, but lived in a period where in much of Western Democracy, the right for women to vote was limited for much of his youth (In Switzerland for more than half his life!), and that feminist ideas had not wholly penetrated […]

Krenek’s Lecture at the Society of Austrian Engineers and Architects, Incongruous Ideas

To this end he proposed a theory of music not confined to any idiom but embracing all musical phenomena and based on five premises, several of which had long been fundamental to his thought:

Musical content does not represent anything extramusical. Musical thoughts cannot be rendered in any other medium. The creation of music involves […]

Krenek, The Reluctant Soldier

But all this was far removed from Krenek, who was a reluctant soldier and was seeking to remain as inconspicuous as possible to get by with a minimum of effort. He was bored with his training, which was so easy that although he made no effort to excel, he ranked thirtieth in a class of […]

How’s That Workin’ Out For You, John?

The present methods of writing music, principally those which employ harmony and its reference to particular steps in the field of sound, will be inadequate for the composer, who will be faced with the entire field of sound.

Cage, J. (1961). Silence: Lectures and writings, p. 4. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press.

Before this happens, […]

Dick move, and then some poetry from Feldman

“Recently I heard news from Europe that Bouez is adopting the chance techniques of John Cage and perhaps myself. Like Mathieu, he is going to show us Katzenjammer Kids how an ambitious Frenchman can really do it. It was easy for Napoleon to reach Mosow. And it will be curious to observe Boulez straggling home […]

Flowcharts and Song form

After seeing both this and its inspiration in the past year, I thought I’d just save all its subsequent knockoffs some trouble and make a more generalized flowchart for song form. So internet, now you can save your time instead of trying to flowchart all of Meatloaf’s I Would Do Anything For Love.


Herman Melville on Beethoven

For all men tragically great are made so through a certain morbidness. Be sure of this, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but a disease.

Ok, ok. He wasn’t talking about Beethoven.

Another One Bites the Dust

From The Philly Inquirer:

The board of the 111-year-old Philadelphia Orchestra voted Saturday in favor of a Chapter 11 reorganization. The claim was expected to be filed this weekend in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the orchestra was expected to list assets at several times liabilities – an equation unusual for businesses […]

Putting Words in Stravinsky’s Mouth, V. Moar Rochberg

More from The Aesthetics of Survival, from “My Dear Igor (An Imaginary Dialogue)”:

Strav: It seems to me, Herr Schoenberg, you make everything so complicated. You are psychologizing and I have no taste for psychology. To me, the world is ordered according to the immutable laws of the Supreme Creator, laws that are absolute. Absolute […]