Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Articles tagged variations on a theme

Thursday, April 26 2007

Classical Radio Communities: Thoughts on Mediation

Classical music radio gives rise to a prophylactic form of community: we are somehow participating with other listeners without having to engage directly with those others. The music becomes a pretense for communal participation.


Thursday, March 22 2007

Why Don’t the Planets Speak?: An Inquiry Into Music and Language

Speech involves saying something individual in a rigid system of conformity. Music seems to attempt something similar -- or, more appropriately, people attempt something similar through music.


Monday, January 22 2007

The Sounds of Now, Part Three: Anthony Braxton and the Ethics of Improvisation

Jenkins's latest installment in a series of contemporary composer profiles discusses Anthony Braxton, who seems to have looked to music as a means not to erase or ignore cultural dissonance but rather to confront it directly.


Sunday, September 10 2006

An Overheard Conversation Concerning Musical Taste

'But who determines the criteria by which one determines if something is well formed?' A debate of taste rages in a small field outside Maryland.


Thursday, August 10 2006

The Sounds of Now, Part Two: Meredith Monk

For the second installment in an ongoing series profiling contemporary composers, Jenkins reports on Meredith Monk, whose compositions and performances integrate the personal aspects of the body in a manner wholly removed from the majority of current musical production.


Thursday, June 29 2006

Melodic Patriotism: A Look at Some Lesser-Known Pieces for the Fourth of July

In observance of Independence Day, Jenkins examines some overlooked classical manifestations of American patriotism that may be more appropriate than Tchaikovsky's US-adopted 1812 Overture.


Thursday, June 8 2006

The Devil’s Music: Franz Liszt’s Musical Representation of Mephistopheles

Liszt's Faust symphony offers a solution to the conundrum that faced so many Romantic and post-Romantic composers: how does one create a musical form that continually and progressively unfolds and yet manages to hold together, to be all 'of a piece'?


Thursday, May 18 2006

Judging a Bach By Its Cover

If people are no longer as interested in classical music as a cerebral escape from the banalities of the everyday, then certain producers of classical recordings are willing to embrace this cultural condition by selling Bach not as an alternative to popular image culture, but as a part of it.


Wednesday, April 19 2006

On the Necessity of Listening As Confrontation

How can you possibly know why you 'like' something you assume you like unless you confront that which you have dismissed? Jenkins discusses the importance of spending time with the music that immediately displeases us.


Wednesday, March 1 2006

The Sounds of Now: Brian Ferneyhough

In the first of a series of contemporary composer profiles, Jenkins discusses Brian Ferneyhough, whose complex scores force performers to confront the boundaries of the possible.


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