Oh No! (An Administrative Note)

from Saturday, February7th of the year2009.

Oh My God. So, I tried to clean up a post I made last night and ended up deleting it! I was sassy in it! I offended some readers, even! And now it seems to be totally gone. I have the second half, below, but, I’m sad.

Let me direct your attention to a very interesting post by Mark Adamo over on his blog about Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer. It is worth a read in its entirety, mainly because this opera is one of the first contemporary ones that I really connected with (at age 14).

Adamo’s arguments are interesting for a variety of reasons, but mainly, because his interest in opera is about the Vital Drama of the thing. For Adamo, the ostinato-driven chorus/recit pattern of Adams’s operas is fundamentally off-putting. Why is it, then, that for me, as a teenager, I found it so appealing, and traditional opera structure so alien? I don’t have any answers to these questions.

The ending of this opera rocks my world still:

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John Adams You Embraced Them from The Death of Klinghoffer

There is so much to love here; what’s difficult, in Adamo’s mind, is how it relates to the overall structure of the opera as well as to the Political umbrella under which the opera hovers. Go know. It’s well worth (a) a listen and (b) a read. Isn’t the point of these things that we all listen more anyway?

And finally, did everybody watch Top Chef where the contestants have to fillet a sardine for Eric Ripert? You all know I am obsessed with Eric Ripert. He made me a vagina out of fish! But there was an amazing exchange:

PADMA LAKSHMI: What happened!? [looking at a really busted sardine fillet]
CARLA: Girl…

Aaaaaah he’s having them butcher eel! So good. He referred to one of the contestants as being more “at ease” with “the timing” which is so French I could pee myself. Also the waiter at the Le Bernardin Private Dining Chamber said “Maiitake” when he meant “Matsutake” or the other way but shh. Also he made them escolar which totally gave my friend anal leakage.

19 Comments

  • Don’ be sad:

    I suppose that when John Adams has my name in his mouth in print, I should respond! In an interview in Newsweek, of all places, the following exchange takes place:

    Interview Dude: Isn’t that changing, to some degree? Aren’t composers who cross streams with “indie” or experimental rock – people like Nico Muhly or Caleb Burhans – bringing non-instrumentalists into the concert hall?

    Adams János: But both of those guys, they’re highly trained musicians.

    ID: Yes, but their fans aren’t, necessarily.

    AJ: Possibly. But there’s another side to that. Some of the music that these composers are producing is so simple that it’s in danger of dumbing-down. Not necessarily Nico and Caleb. But there are a lot of young composers in their 20s and 30s who are very anxious to appeal to the same audience that would listen to indie rock. But they are creating a level of musical discourse that’s just really bland. I don’t think it will have a very long shelf life. The bottom line is art really can’t be made easy and palatable without simply losing its meaning and importance. I had this conversation with the new executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. We all went out to dinner and this fellow said, “I think we should make concerts interactive.” Here I am, someone who’s always been the renegade. “Wait a minute,” I said. “You can’t listen to a really important piece of music and have people banging on their BlackBerrys.”

    Oh, hell no! There are a lot of things to unpack here, so, let’s go in order. First of all, why is there such an obsession with the “crossing-over” discourse? Nobody is crossing shit. I speak only for myself here, but my music is a pretty direct representation of my musical interests, which, in my case, express themselves more like obsessions and tropisms. The fact that anybody likes it is, I hope, the result of the honesty of the project expressing itself through the way it sounds. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, I’m not sure that I buy the notion of “simplicity –> dumb.” A lot of very complicated music is pretty stupid, too. Don’t make me put examples up here. Anyway, the moral of the story here is that if one more interviewer asks me a question using either the word cross-over or something that implies A on one side and B on the other and me, like, estraddling the liminal space, I’m going to cut a bitch.

    The second thing is, nobody needs interactive concerts. I like concerts because I don’t have to interact with anything, and I pay the nice people cash money to sit down and have a non-interactive expurrience.

    Also, let me be catty here for a second. John Adams wrote a musical, like, musical musical a decade ago. This thing, beloveds, is out of control. It’s called I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky and I just want to post a little audio here:

    John Adams Your Honor my client he’s a young black man from I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

    Okay? Okay. So, let’s take it easy with the accusations of a bland musical discourse.

    Wait, one more:

    John Adams Crushed by the Rock I Been Standing On from I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

    Now. John Adams is so 200% my homegirl. I love, like, 88% of his music with all my böðy and if I were to make a desert island list, his music would account for a third of it. Also, the remaining 12% of it always seems appropriately problematic to me, as in, it makes me mull thangs over rather than just discounting the music. I’m thinking specifically about The Dharma at Big Sur, which is kind of hippie this and that, or this musical, above. But as a rule, his music engages with me on a corporeal and mental level basically unparalleled by most other musics of this century; this isn’t a choice as much as a reality.

    And in the spirit of I <3 Adams, let me direct your attention to a very interesting post by Mark Adamo over on his blog about Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer. It is worth a read in its entirety, mainly because this opera is one of the first contemporary ones that I really connected with (at age 14).

    Adamo’s arguments are interesting for a variety of reasons, but mainly, because his interest in opera is about the Vital Drama of the thing. For Adamo, the ostinato-driven chorus/recit pattern of Adams’s operas is fundamentally off-putting. Why is it, then, that for me, as a teenager, I found it so appealing, and traditional opera structure so alien? I don’t have any answers to these questions.

    The ending of this opera rocks my world still:

    John Adams You Embraced Them from The Death of Klinghoffer

    There is so much to love here; what’s difficult, in Adamo’s mind, is how it relates to the overall structure of the opera as well as to the Political umbrella under which the opera hovers. Go know. It’s well worth (a) a listen and (b) a read. Isn’t the point of these things that we all listen more anyway?

    And finally, did everybody watch Top Chef where the people have to fillet a sardine for Eric Ripert? You all know I am obsessed with Eric Ripert. He made me a vagina out of fish! But there was an amazing exchange:

    PADMA LAKSHMI: What happened!? [looking at a really busted sardine fillet]
    CARLA: Girl…

    Aaaaaah he’s having them butcher eel! So good. He referred to one of the contestants as being more “at ease” with “the timing” which is so French I could pee myself. Also the waiter at the Le Bernardin Private Dining Chamber said “Maiitake” when he meant “Matsutake” or the other way but shh. Also he made them escolar which totally gave my friend anal leakage.

  • http://hermenaut.org/2009/02/06/i-suppose/

    google rules!

  • I was reading that sassy post of yours earlier with google reader, but when I came to the website to listen to the embedded music, I saw that it had disappeared. I thought I would let you know that the original post still exists in my in my google reader somehow. In case you’re dying to have it…

  • I’ll cut you

  • Nothing on the internet is ever gone for good. I also have a copy of that original post in my google reader, if you want it.

    I can’t believe you haven’t yet commented on Johanna Sigurdardottir becoming PM.

    Love your blog!

  • it must come back, what’s going on

  • Here it is from my Google Reader sans audio… so good:

    I suppose that when John Adams has my name in his mouth in print, I should respond! In an interview in Newsweek, of all places, the following exchange takes place:

    Interview Dude: Isn’t that changing, to some degree? Aren’t composers who cross streams with “indie” or experimental rock – people like Nico Muhly or Caleb Burhans – bringing non-instrumentalists into the concert hall?

    Adams János: But both of those guys, they’re highly trained musicians.

    ID: Yes, but their fans aren’t, necessarily.

    AJ: Possibly. But there’s another side to that. Some of the music that these composers are producing is so simple that it’s in danger of dumbing-down. Not necessarily Nico and Caleb. But there are a lot of young composers in their 20s and 30s who are very anxious to appeal to the same audience that would listen to indie rock. But they are creating a level of musical discourse that’s just really bland. I don’t think it will have a very long shelf life. The bottom line is art really can’t be made easy and palatable without simply losing its meaning and importance. I had this conversation with the new executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. We all went out to dinner and this fellow said, “I think we should make concerts interactive.” Here I am, someone who’s always been the renegade. “Wait a minute,” I said. “You can’t listen to a really important piece of music and have people banging on their BlackBerrys.”

    Oh, hell no! There are a lot of things to unpack here, so, let’s go in order. First of all, why is there such an obsession with the “crossing-over” discourse? Nobody is crossing shit. I speak only for myself here, but my music is a pretty direct representation of my musical interests, which, in my case, express themselves more like obsessions and tropisms. The fact that anybody likes it is, I hope, the result of the honesty of the project expressing itself through the way it sounds. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, I’m not sure that I buy the notion of “simplicity –> dumb.” A lot of very complicated music is pretty stupid, too. Don’t make me put examples up here. Anyway, the moral of the story here is that if one more interviewer asks me a question using either the word cross-over or something that implies A on one side and B on the other and me, like, estraddling the liminal space, I’m going to cut a bitch.

    The second thing is, nobody needs interactive concerts. I like concerts because I don’t have to interact with anything, and I pay the nice people cash money to sit down and have a non-interactive expurrience.

    Also, let me be catty here for a second. John Adams wrote a musical, like, musical musical a decade ago. This thing, beloveds, is out of control. It’s called I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky and I just want to post a little audio here:

    John Adams Your Honor my client he’s a young black man from I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

    Okay? Okay. So, let’s take it easy with the accusations of a bland musical discourse.

    Wait, one more:

    John Adams Crushed by the Rock I Been Standing On from I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

    Now. John Adams is so 200% my homegirl. I love, like, 88% of his music with all my böðy and if I were to make a desert island list, his music would account for a third of it. Also, the remaining 12% of it always seems appropriately problematic to me, as in, it makes me mull thangs over rather than just discounting the music. I’m thinking specifically about The Dharma at Big Sur, which is kind of hippie this and that, or this musical, above. But as a rule, his music engages with me on a corporeal and mental level basically unparalleled by most other musics of this century; this isn’t a choice as much as a reality.

    And in the spirit of I <3 Adams, let me direct your attention to a very interesting post by Mark Adamo over on his blog about Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer. It is worth a read in its entirety, mainly because this opera is one of the first contemporary ones that I really connected with (at age 14).

    Adamo’s arguments are interesting for a variety of reasons, but mainly, because his interest in opera is about the Vital Drama of the thing. For Adamo, the ostinato-driven chorus/recit pattern of Adams’s operas is fundamentally off-putting. Why is it, then, that for me, as a teenager, I found it so appealing, and traditional opera structure so alien? I don’t have any answers to these questions.

    The ending of this opera rocks my world still:

    John Adams You Embraced Them from The Death of Klinghoffer

    There is so much to love here; what’s difficult, in Adamo’s mind, is how it relates to the overall structure of the opera as well as to the Political umbrella under which the opera hovers. Go know. It’s well worth (a) a listen and (b) a read. Isn’t the point of these things that we all listen more anyway?

    And finally, did everybody watch Top Chef where the people have to fillet a sardine for Eric Ripert? You all know I am obsessed with Eric Ripert. He made me a vagina out of fish! But there was an amazing exchange:

    PADMA LAKSHMI: What happened!? [looking at a really busted sardine fillet]
    CARLA: Girl…

    Aaaaaah he’s having them butcher eel! So good. He referred to one of the contestants as being more “at ease” with “the timing” which is so French I could pee myself. Also the waiter at the Le Bernardin Private Dining Chamber said “Maiitake” when he meant “Matsutake” or the other way but shh. Also he made them escolar which totally gave my friend anal leakage.

  • Dude,
    I will second Chris’s comment. U r now censoring yourself? I thought that DOJ had been reformed and that u were, as always, informed. Somehow I’m thinkin’ that Lou Reed wasn’t too concerned with offending his audience when he made “Metal Machine Music.”

  • “I suppose that when John Adams has my name in his mouth in print, I should respond! In an interview in Newsweek, of all places, the following exchange takes place:

    Interview Dude: Isn’t that changing, to some degree? Aren’t composers who cross streams with “indie” or experimental rock – people like Nico Muhly or Caleb Burhans – bringing non-instrumentalists into the concert hall?

    Adams János: But both of those guys, they’re highly trained musicians.

    ID: Yes, but their fans aren’t, necessarily.

    AJ: Possibly. But there’s another side to that. Some of the music that these composers are producing is so simple that it’s in danger of dumbing-down. Not necessarily Nico and Caleb. But there are a lot of young composers in their 20s and 30s who are very anxious to appeal to the same audience that would listen to indie rock. But they are creating a level of musical discourse that’s just really bland. I don’t think it will have a very long shelf life. The bottom line is art really can’t be made easy and palatable without simply losing its meaning and importance. I had this conversation with the new executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. We all went out to dinner and this fellow said, “I think we should make concerts interactive.” Here I am, someone who’s always been the renegade. “Wait a minute,” I said. “You can’t listen to a really important piece of music and have people banging on their BlackBerrys.”

    Oh, hell no! There are a lot of things to unpack here, so, let’s go in order. First of all, why is there such an obsession with the “crossing-over” discourse? Nobody is crossing shit. I speak only for myself here, but my music is a pretty direct representation of my musical interests, which, in my case, express themselves more like obsessions and tropisms. The fact that anybody likes it is, I hope, the result of the honesty of the project expressing itself through the way it sounds. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, I’m not sure that I buy the notion of “simplicity –> dumb.” A lot of very complicated music is pretty stupid, too. Don’t make me put examples up here. Anyway, the moral of the story here is that if one more interviewer asks me a question using either the word cross-over or something that implies A on one side and B on the other and me, like, estraddling the liminal space, I’m going to cut a bitch.

    The second thing is, nobody needs interactive concerts. I like concerts because I don’t have to interact with anything, and I pay the nice people cash money to sit down and have a non-interactive expurrience.

    Also, let me be catty here for a second. John Adams wrote a musical, like, musical musical a decade ago. This thing, beloveds, is out of control. It’s called I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky and I just want to post a little audio here:

    John Adams Your Honor my client he’s a young black man from I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

    Okay? Okay. So, let’s take it easy with the accusations of a bland musical discourse.

    Wait, one more:

    John Adams Crushed by the Rock I Been Standing On from I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

    Now. John Adams is so 200% my homegirl. I love, like, 88% of his music with all my böðy and if I were to make a desert island list, his music would account for a third of it. Also, the remaining 12% of it always seems appropriately problematic to me, as in, it makes me mull thangs over rather than just discounting the music. I’m thinking specifically about The Dharma at Big Sur, which is kind of hippie this and that, or this musical, above. But as a rule, his music engages with me on a corporeal and mental level basically unparalleled by most other musics of this century; this isn’t a choice as much as a reality.

    And in the spirit of I <3 Adams, let me direct your attention to a very interesting post by Mark Adamo over on his blog about Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer. It is worth a read in its entirety, mainly because this opera is one of the first contemporary ones that I really connected with (at age 14).

    Adamo’s arguments are interesting for a variety of reasons, but mainly, because his interest in opera is about the Vital Drama of the thing. For Adamo, the ostinato-driven chorus/recit pattern of Adams’s operas is fundamentally off-putting. Why is it, then, that for me, as a teenager, I found it so appealing, and traditional opera structure so alien? I don’t have any answers to these questions.

    The ending of this opera rocks my world still:

    John Adams You Embraced Them from The Death of Klinghoffer

    There is so much to love here; what’s difficult, in Adamo’s mind, is how it relates to the overall structure of the opera as well as to the Political umbrella under which the opera hovers. Go know. It’s well worth (a) a listen and (b) a read. Isn’t the point of these things that we all listen more anyway?

    And finally, did everybody watch Top Chef where the people have to fillet a sardine for Eric Ripert? You all know I am obsessed with Eric Ripert. He made me a vagina out of fish! But there was an amazing exchange:

    PADMA LAKSHMI: What happened!? [looking at a really busted sardine fillet]
    CARLA: Girl…

    Aaaaaah he’s having them butcher eel! So good. He referred to one of the contestants as being more “at ease” with “the timing” which is so French I could pee myself. Also the waiter at the Le Bernardin Private Dining Chamber said “Maiitake” when he meant “Matsutake” or the other way but shh. Also he made them escolar which totally gave my friend anal leakage. “

  • If anyone wants to hear the missing John Adams sound clips, call me up and I will sing them for you, and ALSO I will sing you the song about how you gotta use condoms.

  • Good point, Nico, that simplicity does not necessarily equal dumbing down. For instance, the Shakers’ music is simple, profound, and beautiful, while most modern “praise” music is simple and….[shudder]

    There is some Notre Dame organum stuff on my mp3 player at the moment, which pops up at odd moments in the rotation, i.e. after a David Johansen number, and THAT stuff is simple in a complex sort of way, and I love singing it AND listening to it. Too bad few churches agree on that anymore, and in any case, one is perpetually at the whim of some Herr Direktor, “und you vill like vat I program because I said so, achtung!”

    I quit before Christmas, by the way, as did my girls. We sort of left/were expelled from the choir in the weeks before the holiday, one after the other, hence my ability to post comments here on a Sunday morning. In my PJs. with a second cup of coffee. Hahahahaha! I’m rather enjoying being an unchurched heathen. 😉 Now, where has that Mingus CD gotten to?

    Escolar sounds like one of those foods the Russians would call “useful.” When my sister was over there for a semester years ago, she learned very quickly that if a native offered her a food and said, “Try some of this, it’s useful,” that chances were good for having a “moving experience” upon the porcelain Honda the next morning.

    I suspect that a lot of the culinary delights you describe in this blog are not exactly weight watchers friendly, so I will have to enjoy them vicariously here.

    Sorry about your grandmother. So, who gets to keep that immense copper salmon, and what, pray tell, does one make in it?

  • ohnooo Mr. Bill. . . . luckily I was able to read the whole thing yesterday, and came back to post about it today. . .[at the time was completely sidetracked–in a good way–with all the hotlinked/hot asides] BLESS you, J. Te Quan and Marcus for the re-creation.

    the ability to admire AND critique–both/and–hold close to your heart AND call it as you see it.

    thank you.

  • im not going to comment on anything musical. im obsessed with eric as well! everything about him. hows your toaster oven sitch at home nico?

    thats all.

  • Hah, came to post about having the full article in my Greader also, but I’ve been pre-empted three times already.
    Never fear mrs. muhly, technology is here.

  • Speaking of posts lost and found: Nico, when you’re blogging, do you ever think that you’re writing for posterity, that all this will be grist someday for a biographer’s mill?

  • When you call up Dan to hear him sing the role of the condom-endorsing community clinic worker, we need to organize some sort of conference call in which I can join in, singing the role of the sassy (yet noble!) Latina immigrant woman who wants to make babies with her deadbeat (but with potential!) black boyfriend.

    Or, y’know, you could just repost the clips.

    And Hoodoo Zephyr totally sounds like The Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade! And John’s Book of Alleged Dances is SLIGHTLY IRRITATING AND TWEE!

  • I thought maybe the controversy was just too much.

    And, god, don’t remind me of the alleged book. uggguguguggggg

  • Oh no I love the Allegèd Dances!

  • @Dan Johnson: So do I. And Hoodoo Zephyr. And Dharma at Big Sur. But I’m born and raised in California so maybe that’s why it doesn’t sound irritating and twee.

    I got to be a supernumerary as a hostage on the Achille Lauro at the San Francisco Opera during “Klinghoffer”‘s initial run. That final chorus, with Sheila Nadler wailing away as Marilyn Klinghoffer, and the San Francisco Opera Chorus trying desperately to keep their places during the “Noah” chorus, and the Mark Morris dance troupe tearing around the stage, and the orchestra trying to keep up with conductor John Adams: well, let’s just say it was a seriously wonderful time. Glad to hear it was a 14-year-old touchstone for you too.