Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Times Does it Right

I love the new Blogs in The Times. Of the four articles, the one lighting me especially up is Michael Gordon's moving piece about his string quartet that he wrote in commemoration of 9-11, and more specifically about the bedfellows of art and politics. When it comes to the Big Terrible (and his subsequent musical homage), Gordon especially careful to mention--appropriately, I think--that the event affected him directly. He is, after all, a (dreaded label coming) "Downtown Composer," and that was a downtown happening if there ever was one. Through this lens, he raises the unanswerable question of politics crossing art, and wonders--effectively--whether or not it is an especially good idea. Refreshingly, he comes to no specific conclusion.

As a person who had a very direct experience with 9-11 (I was two blocks away, saw everything including the first plane; it still continues to hurt) I read with a prejudiced perspective, anticipating I'd be upset or offended. Thankfully, I was not, and came away more anxious than ever to hear his piece in reaction.

(Incidentally, I remain bruised by an experience I had once when, in the comfort of the MacDowell Colony, a composer who I believed was my friend accused me of "cashing in" on 9-11 because I wrote a song cycle called The Bridge that made oblique reference. My then-friend seemed to think that the experience was everyone's, and that I had no real right to comment, even though he was in Texas while I was 100 yards away. I still shake when I think about it. Michael's article at long last put me at my ease.)

The other blogs--equally interesting--are by Glen Branca, Alvin Curran and Annie Gossfield. I could grumble about the fact that the composers represented do not hail from the multiple sides of the musical fence (or that they have to be labelled "innovative" rather than, say, "good"), but I will not quarrel. Instead, here's hoping that this is not the only occurrence of this, but a beginning. So thanks New York Times, you've given me a spot of hope. And thanks so much Michael, you made a difficult issue for me a little clearer and easier.


Anonymous Monica said...

Danny! I'm sure I speak not only for myself, but anonymous lurkers, including mysterious and famous composers (not to be confused with mysteriously famous composers), when I say: Welcome back to blogging - we've missed you...

8:38 PM  
Blogger Ivy said...

Hi Daniel, it's Ivy! It's been a couple of years now since MacDowell. I wanna go back!

I hope you're well. :-)

2:16 AM  

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