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Re: [microsound] article on music and politics

I think the Luigi Nono section was somewhat insightful, where the
author states, "By changing a title, one becomes a political
composer... For Cardew, I suspect that would have meant doing
precisely what Nono's apologists fear: allowing the bourgeois to
'simulate horror but keep their distance.'

The changing title applies to Penderecki's Threnody, not Nono. Nono's work is inextricably linked with political and social ideas. Even if the text is changed beyond recognition, the message is remarkably clear from the music itself. It is not simply a matter of title. Furthermore, Nono's music needs to be heard live; the sheer drama and emotion are positively overwhelming.

It is unfortunate that the article has some blatant inaccuracies,
perhaps in the name of accessibility and generality. The conflation of
Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono is typical of a "transatlantic outsider",
especially when their music is characterized as gratuitously dense,
opaque and (to commit the ultimate capital sin) serial. "Invites
explanation"? Does everything need to be explained? Just listen and
let it move you--but you have to leave your baggage at the door.

I would have expected more from Kyle Gann, but then he has that
insurmountable handicap: He's american and unfortunately no Elliot


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