from Saturday, June7th of the year2008.
I took a quick run yesterday, during which time I formulated a series of really pithy and excellent things to say about the Bang on a Can Marathon, Hot Chip, Glenn Gould, and Health Insurance. I think I’m going to have to wait, because when I’m not sprinting around in the heat, it all makes less sense. So, while I wait to organize that, some thoughts:
– Daniel Mendelsohn wrote a great piece about Satyagraha at the Met. Check it out here.
– I went to the Bang on a Can Marathon for a few hours. I love the feeling in that space, not particularly the acoustics, but the relaxed, everybody piled onto the steps of the Wintergarden, listening to music, not listening to music, eating nachos, whatever. I am engaging in a new social experiment with all Bang on a Can Events. I have this theory that they, as an institution, know from awesome but to not know from fabulous. I use both terms in their King James Bible sense: the music they present is powerful, muscly, athletic. The music is not otherworldly, mysterious, mystical; its primary gesture is the rut, the frot, the iron fist of socialized thought. It does not concern itself with the insinuation, the unfinished seam, the pining.
That having been said, I was particularly struck by Michael Gordon’s piece, “Every Stop on the F Train,” which, as promised, is a list of all the stops on the F-train repeated in order, repeated and chanted, in canons at the 8th note. All of this was deftly executed by the Young People’s Chorus of New York, but while I was listening to it, I thought to myself: my God, it is entirely possible that Michael Gordon is operating outside of the influence of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols! I had two sudden thoughts which are: my music, which has very many surface stylistic similarities to the Bang on a Crowd, has a completely different emotional genetic makeup. I would never write music in a canon at the 8th note without fully reverencing Britten; it would feel like serving pÃ¢té in my grandmother’s rabbit-shaped terrine without thinking about her.
My second thought was, maybe that’s why I always feel so other at these BOAC things; I’m meant to feel part of the community, which is technically true, but my itinerary is completely different; we are in different parts of the airport, heading to different continents “” friends only in the transfers lounge. To a certain extent, their community is one that de facto couldn’t include somebody with my history, tropisms, or musico-erotic itineraries; theirs is rugged, weather-beaten, and Old Testament-seismic, whereas to them, I probably read as effete, ornamental, and most likely more suited for work in the kitchen or nursery than in the fields. I used to feel this acutely as a sort of rejection; now I think I’ve come to terms with it through, strangely, a series of sartorial decisions.
My final thought was that maybe Michael Gordon needs some animal therapy; Autistic children are often softened by their relationship with animals; I wonder if I can secretly bridge the gap by always turning up at these BOAC events wearing only the softest fabric and the most unfinished seam? With this in mind, I dressed myself in a satiny pant, and what basically amounted to a white kurta pyjama (albeit a belgian kurta pyjama) on top. We’ll see what happens if I keep this up for a few years! Also, here is the canon from the Ceremony of Carols:
[audio:13 A Ceremony Of Carols_ VII. This Little Babe.mp3]
This Little Babe from A Ceremony of Carols
The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
– I may need to buy shorts if I’m going to really stay here all summer. Stay tuned.