Books Music

Bird Songs in “Oiseaux Exotiques”

Ashgate publishing is releasing a series of single-work musical analyses, and a 2007 volume showed up at the school library recently. It’s an analysis of Olivier Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques, and it’s full of really well-done and well thought-out musical examples. In particular I like the attached CD, which gives sample’s of Messiaen’s source material — […]


Happy Birthday

To Elliott Carter. The great composer turns 100 today. Yesterday was also the 100th birthday of the late Olivier Messiaen. Two great composers born in different parts of the world just one day apart. By another strange coincidence, I have autographed scores by both of them — the only two autographed scores I own. Here’s […]



Thanks to the Analog Arts Ensemble for pointing to this outstanding example of the sheer wiggyness that was the ’60s avant garde. Stockhausen’s two-hour “mixtape” of national anthems, shortwave radio noise, morse code, electronic modulations and more is available in the form of a Stockhausen jukebox (one of the most ambitious Flash movies I’ve ever […]


Stockhausen Is Dead

The Times had a respectful if distant obituary this morning. They wrote about how he’d become distant and isolated in his later years, narrowing down his circle to his chosen set of musicians — who were by and large also family members. He’d been out there for a while though. Back in the ’70s I […]


Mahler Second at NJPAC

This afternoon I took The Daughter out to see the New Jersey Symphony and Westminster Symphonic Choir perform the tremendous “Resurrection” Symphony. I’ll tell you what, there are very few better ways to spend an hour and half than listening to this piece live. Number three on my “top 10 loudest symphonic works” countdown, no […]


Brahms’ Fifth?

Shameless concert plug: This Sunday, October 21 at 3 pm, at St. Anne’s Church on Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights, the Brooklyn Symphony performs its first concert of the year.
This orchestra’s programs are almost always interesting, featuring a lot of the kind of works that we “volunteer” musicians don’t get to do very often, and this one’s no exception.

Schoenberg Self-Portrait