More readers' letters
If you'd like to write to M&V about any of the issues expressed
here, write back to any of the people whose letters are shown below, or
comment on any other musical subject, please
complete our contact form and tick the box asking
Basil Ramsey to consider your comments for publication.
From: Henry Luo, Shanghai
I was educated by the newly published triptych of Jennifer Paull out of my limited knowledge of, among other things, John Cage who is known as only a musician -- that's how I annotated this 'American multiartist, philosopher, visionary' in my translation of a book, and I'm afraid many still label him inappropriately.
As is always the case with writings by Paull, it is the grains more than the brains that appeals to me in particular, and in this case, her affinity with those obscure talents which beget negation in a world where 'the narrowest of specialisation being de rigueur' because of their diversity.
Also noteworthy is the very form of the composition, not only the more intricate musical form of a double rondo, but also those gemlike quotes from wide-ranging writings interweaving and interwinding throughout in a rather organic way, which is itself sure evidence of the writer's untrammeled roaming to and from many 'pivot points' at her fingertips. I remember it was the tragic but eminently polyhistoric Walter Benjamin who dreamed of writing a book composed of quotes.
From: Bob Jordahl, USA
your latest, Patric.
My one attempt at opera was a 'trial by fire' for me. I ended up writing an operetta -- a collection
of songs separated by recitatives. (I totally dislike recitative.) It was a very humbling
From: Patrick Handscombe, Chairman, Player Piano Group, UK
I've just encountered Ates Orga's interesting article
Pianola to Reproducing Piano.
Lest anyone denigrate the amazing systems of the past through lack of facts, it's important to note
that the much misunderstood Duo-Art gives 87 repeatable dynamic levels, not 16 as is commonly and
erroneously stated. See the explanation in my MMD article.
One further point about the foot-operated Pianola (as opposed to other cheap players) which, as some
of us pianists know, should not be lightly dismissed: it was regarded -- here in the UK especially -- as
capable of legitimate, interpretative, musical performances by Elgar, Howels, GB Shaw, Grainger and
many others. They owned, played and kept their Pianolas. It quickly ceased to be a substitute for hand
playing: at least 29 well-known composers wrote piano music for the Pianola which cannot be played by
any number of hands. To ignore this is to fail to comprehend this important and curiously influential
part of early 20th century music.
From: Andy Varga, Opus1Classical.com
I'm an editor for
a classical music concert listings site, covering Europe and North America. We went on-line last
October with the aim of providing programme and artist information on interesting classical music
events around the world -- at a quality that we think is not otherwise available on the web. We also
feature music festivals; an area that we'll be expanding as summer approaches, and there is a magazine
section featuring music related articles from around the english speaking world.
I'd like to ask if you could take a look at the site, and if you like it, whether you would
consider offering us a link on your site.
From: John Perry, USA
I have read your magazine throughout various colleges, recording studios
and radio stations where I have worked as Program Director and General Manager. Now, as Executive Producer of
Modern Jazz Classics
and other internationally syndicated radio programming, I would like to offer your magazine to our listening audience. Please advise of your policies and the proper procedures to offer your magazine on our sites.
From: Keith Bramich, M&V
You are welcome to link to Music & Vision from any of your sites, either to our
home page, or directly to any of our articles, reviews or features. You're also welcome to draw
your listeners' attention to M&V by reading out our URL www.mvdaily.com on-air.
From: Walter Harp, USA
Jenna Orkin's memoir of Rosalyn Tureck was superb:
as a writer she brings
us deeply into the life of an important artist, and into her own life as well.
Thank you for running the piece, and please relay my thanks to the author.
From: Oscar Music Store, Armenia
We are a group of people whose aim is to bring pleasure and beauty to those who love music.
We not only acknowledge but also predict the desires and wishes of our customers.
The crew of 'Oscar' not only consists of people that are skilled in their jobs, but also people
who are good at communicating with the customers, some of them even having real talents as a psychic.
'Oscar' is not only a shop that sells music and accessories but also a place where anybody
interested can get the desired information about the world of music, get advice, offers
and be acquainted with new arrivials in the international market as well as remember the
old and the valuable. For these reasons 'Oscar' has earned acknowledgement and respect
in Armenia and abroad.
Lately it has also became a place where our best musicians, singers, composers and performers
frequently visit to meet each other, communicate, exchange opinions and discuss the latest news.
Here ideas are born and cooperations settled, which later return to 'Oscar' as new and
interesting tapes and cds.
We are especially interested in spreading the word about the Armenian music all over the world.
There are Armenian communities in many countries all over the world -- USA, Canada, France, Syria,
Lebanan and others, where compact discs by local musicians are being published. We are in constant
contact with major music companies, and frequently receive new items from many countries. Thus, the
Oscar Music Store has
become the centre for all the Armenian CDs in the world.
From: Anne Ku, editor of 'Le Bon Journal'
I searched for 'uprooting' and found your entry
inviting readers to write to you about this. Music is now a daily part of my life, after I had 'uprooted'
from London this year. In many ways, music is 'the' international language -- and wherever you go, you will be
able to communicate through music. Even as I struggle to learn the language of this country, I am amazed how
easily I can communicate through music. This huge upheaval -- the decision to uproot and change my life, going
through the decluttering process, and moving to another country -- inspired me to seek other people who have
uprooted to write about their experiences and provide some guidelines about uprooting in the issue I compiled
called Uprooters on uprooting -- a six page PDF file linked from
Le Bon Journal e-zine.
From: Paul Barker, Mexico
Robert Hugill's article Writing new opera raises many
important questions and also demonstrates a crisis in today's musical culture. While
new theatre companies have resiliently gone on to incorporate Grotovsky's Poor Theatre,
Boal's Theatre of the Opressed and Brook's Empty space, and Living Theatre has
led to a spectrum of narrative and non-narrative work, while artists such as Francis Alys and Christo have
invaded theatre itself, and multi-media and installations incorporate theatre as a part of their language,
opera is still laboriously wedded to 19th century ideals. Not just of internal structure but also the
framework itself, as opera houses still have to pay orchestras and choruses and incorporate them into any
Chamber opera has provided some outlet for a more creative and investigative approach to
artistic collaboration and for some years the
Opera and Music Theatre Forum
, of which I had the privilege to be Founder Chair, represents many UK companies who are active in different
ways. As Joint Artistic Director of the Modern Music Theatre Troupe (1986-1999), we tried to place opera
in many new surroundings: shopping malls, the circus, a Thames barge and the Internet, for example, always
collaborating with artists from other disciplines. I am presently continuing the exploration with
OpTeMus, an Anglo-Mexican company based in Mexico
where I presently live. Our current project places 4 award-winning Mexican theatre writers with 4 award-winning
Mexican composers, to present a cycle of 4 short operas at a major festival here this year. It has never been
done before here, and I suspect opportunities for such collaborations are rare in most countries. Composers
generally know very little about the voice in comparison with instruments and technology, and my book
Composing for Voice (Routledge, 2003) is one of very few in the field. Composers also have little
recourse in their training to the other arts, and the musical institutional world seems often hermetically sealed
to inter-disciplinary studies. My next book, Composing for Theatre starts with the premise that
composition is by its very nature theatrical, implicitly or explicitly, and explores composition in all genres
from that perspective.
I have had the good fortune to experience some extraordinary collaborations with directors,
writers, designers and actors as well as in technology, and I for one am sure that for many composers,
opera and music-theatre long ago left the restrictive practices of large opera companies, and has moved
both into the concert hall and beyond into almost all imaginable public spaces. I have written eleven
chamber operas which have been performed, recorded and televised internationally, and some have won prizes,
but not one has been nurtured or presented by any such company. It seems that if composers really wish to
pursue their imagination and enter the world of collaboration, the big institutions are not the place to
start, since their premise is primarily of compromise with antiquated ideals. I wonder if my experience
might be reflected in that of others?
From: (name not supplied)
A useful and informative web site. It's also the world's ugliest -- I presume this is
From: Keith Bramich, M&V
Interesting that yours is one of the few anonymous comments we've received. It feels
a bit like you've insulted us and then run away! To be fair to you, though, I think our
daily shifting colour schemes and background images did come up with something less
appealing than usual on the day that you wrote this!
From: Brian Collins, UK
I was very interested to read the information about the Anglo-French George(s) Onslow. I have long regarded him as one of the great lost talents of early romantic music, a fine and sensitive composer of music that is both expressive and structurally credible but one eclipsed by better known names. I am particularly fascinated by the non-French spelling of his forename. I've always assumed the final 's' but this would appear to be not so. Perhaps when the English translation arrives I shall be able to undestand this detail but, meanwhile, I would encourage anybody who doesn't know his music to seek it out. I have played recordings of it to my students and they have immediately assumed Beethoven, Mendelssohn etc.
From: Tony Flynn
I was extremely interested to read
Bill Newman's personal take on Antal Dorati.
Dorati's contribution to 20th century musical life was formidable: encouragement to new composers, countless premieres, orchestras rebuilt, enterprising recordings etc. Bill was very fortunate to have been invited to spend time with Mrs Dorati, the accomplished pianist, Ilse von Alpenheim in the comfort of the great man's residence. As a keen devotee of Dorati myself, I would enjoy the opportunity to exchange views with Bill Newman on a number of issues relating to Dorati's life and career, some of which I have already aired with Richard Chlupaty in private correspondence. If you could either pass on this message to Bill or, privacy allowing, let me have his email address, I would be most grateful.
From: Alistair Hinton, UK
'Jazz is arguably the most argumentative form of music (even has diminished and argumented chords!).'
So we read. This reminds me of my excellent aural training teacher at the Royal College of Music who used, de temps en temps (and his background especially in such matters, was indeed very French), to despair of those among his students who failed, de temps en rather more frequent temps, to distinguish -- as he saw it -- between 'intervals which are augminished and those which are demented' ...