Tome Tweets 1.

Ethelbert Nevin

[September 2009.]

The pile on my nightstand nearly obscures the aft porthole. Inspired by WM (or perhaps Oulipo?), I engage with some recently received tomes.

Cover of ISBN 978-0-88864-474-9

Paul STEENHUISEN: Sonic Mosaics: Conversations with Composers (2009). University of Alberta Press (http://www.uap.ualberta.ca/). ISBN 978-0-88864-474-9. Composers interviewed: R. Murray Schafer, Robert Normandeau, Chris Paul Harman, Linda Catlin Smith, Alexina Louie, Omar Daniel, Michael Finnissy, John Weinzweig, Udo Kasemets, Pierre Boulez, Barbara Croall, James Rolfe, John Beckwith, Yannick Plamondon and Marc Couroux, George Crumb, Peter Hatch, John Oswald, Francis Dhomont, Martin Arnold, Helmut Lachenmann, Juliet Palmer, Christian Wolff, Mauricio Kagel, John Rea, Gary Kulesha, Howard Bashaw, Christopher Butterfield, Hildegard Westerkamp, Keith Hamel, Jean Piché, and James Harley.

An articulate composer coaxes revealing shop talk from diverse peers. Glimpses of the nearly eclipsed Canadian scene will provoke curiosity.

Cover of ISBN 978-0-312-42771-9

Alex ROSS: The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007). Farrar, Straus and Giroux (http://us.macmillan.com/fsg.aspx). ISBN 978-0-312-42771-9.

An ambitious geo-political survey for naïfs. Snobs (like me) are likely to question Ross’s favoritism. Go to Alex’s blog for audio examples.

Cover of 978-0-520-24755-0

Amy C. BEAL: New Music, New Allies: American Experimental Music in West Germany from the Zero Hour to Reunification (2006). University of California Press (http://www.ucpress.edu/). ISBN 978-0-520-24755-0.

Big Brother was listening. Essential for appreciating the strange symbiosis between the American avant-garde and Germany’s post-WWII trends.

Cover of ISBN 978-0-520-24550-1

Robert FINK: Repeating Ourselves: American Minimal Music as Cultural Practice (2005). University of California Press (http://www.ucpress.edu/). ISBN 978-0-520-24550-1.

In ardent though navigable prose, aesthete Fink explains how musical minimalism is advertising and commercialization’s mimeographed progeny.

Cover of ISBN 978-0-691-08966-9

Milton BABBITT: The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt (2003). Edited by Stephen Peles, with Stephen Dembski, Andrew Mead, and Joseph N. Straus. Princeton University Press (http://press.princeton.edu/). ISBN 978-0-691-08966-9.

“Who Cares if You Read?” Relive bygone days when Tonkünstlers were schooled in Rhetoric. Uncle Miltie’s scathing humor rewards perseverance.