Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bernstein's Young People' Concerts

Terry Teachout's newest post talks about Leonard Bernstein's television shows back in the late 50's through the early 70's that were called "Young People's Concerts". I only saw a few of them, but had the LP of the one he did on the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which I listened to over and over. He went through the sketch books and found earlier versions of what we now hear, orchestrated them and had the orchestra play them, one after the other, and then the final version.

Ever after that, I heard classical music differently, having had a window into the creative process - and never forgot his saying that what Beethoven finally came up with sounds "inevitable", especially after you've heard the ways he tried of doing things that didn't sound "inevitable". In my own occasional compositions I still use that way of listening - does every measure sound as though it were the inevitable outcome of the previous measure.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Modern Architecture / Modern Music

I've been reading Witold Rybczynski's writing on architecture for well over 20 years. He's had a blog starting a while back, and this most recent post makes me realize part of my interest in what he has to say is that he thinks about architecture sort of like I think about music. Here's a big snip from this newest post:

The report is titled “Explanation of Drawings,” and a large part is devoted to a discussion of architectural style, specifically of Classical and Gothic. The authors argue for the latter (the firm more or less invented Collegiate Gothic), on the basis of cost, adaptability, scale, and appropriateness to an educational institution. They also point out the sentimental connection that exists between Gothic and institutions of higher learning, which evolved side by side in the Middle Ages. “If we ignore true sentiment in architecture we shall have little left,” they add. I realized when I read this that this is precisely what disturbs me about the current fashion in architectural design. Buildings have eliminated all sentiment. They may be ingenious and complex, but they are so in a way that is hermetic and self-contained. Instead of “looking like” buildings, that is, establishing a sentimental tie with the long arc of history, they merely look forward into an unknown future. Perhaps that’s why they remind me of giant appliances.