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Well, just for the record, Manhattan is built on one huge solid rock! (So I read...)

I always hated to hear people praising 'difficult' stuff, because to really understand anything at all is really quite difficult! Everything in the world exists within, and interacts with, a frame of reference.

Even when I was a little kid, I was absolutely aware that serious social entropy was building up around here since the end of WW II. I knew that we were experiencing things that would not exist in the future. For America, "future" has become synonymous with "ghetto". Now they test the kids to death, and make them do insane amounts of "homework", but that's just like a guarantee that doesn't really guarantee anything.

There is a huge difference between having a ton of facts and having an understanding of things. In fact, to whatever extent people do manage to understand their world, they each must do so in their own way. If we fail to understand that the person sitting next to us may live in an entirely different world, we fail to know much at all.

This drives me nuts when I try to explain things to kids on some blogs. The universe is not built on some obvious axiom or other. To insist that it must be, is to be deluded.

Big Al

Bah! Mozart for beauty, Bach for vigor, LVB was at his best when trying to outdo Mozart.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Mozart for fun, Bach for intellectual pleasure and Beethoven for running around like Isadora Duncan. Heh.


"Mary's biography is similar to my own in some rather frightening ways."

Ths kid bears watching. I wonder if she'll go off the political deep end and become a radical.

Stucky: "It sounds pretentious, I know, but the fact is that a composer’s duty is not to any particular listener or any particular imagined audience; a composer’s duty is to the work itself."

Ornette Coleman is like that. Ornette plays what Ornette happens to be into, and if the audience is into it too, fine. If not... that's also fine.

"In college, years ago, I had big fights with young composers over this issue: write me music I can love!"

Aye, that's the rub! Stucky, and Coleman, and Schoenberg, etc., aren't writing for you. Or me. Or anyone except themselves. If you can find something to like, great, but that's not what they're about. Writing for audiences is what pop composers do.

"And I blame Schoenberg for all this."

Well... SOMEONE had to move past the 19th century!


Great Schoenberg quote: "I hope you weren't stupid enough to be offended by what I said."

Elaine Meinel Supkis

I love the 19th Century. And the 13th century, for that matter, Smith. You should have seen me fighting in steel armor. Fun!


Sorry - in the 13th century I wasn't born yet.

Which reminds me of something. When you talk to people who claim to remember past lives, they always remember things like being one of Cleopatra's ladies-in-waiting, or a knight, or an adventurer, or something. But no one ever remembers when they were were serfs and prostututes. It's puzzling.


I was a prostie in a former life. Bet ya didn't know that you could buy five gallon cans of Vaseline in Romania 470 year ago!


"I love the 19th Century. And the 13th century, for that matter..."

I noticed that. 19th century music and 13th century economics.

Patti M.

I'm very interested in the painting you have posted at the top of the page, the one that has the title "Music and Art in Northern Italy", with the interesting music stands and all the gambas. I've never seen it before. Where did you get the image? Do you know who the artist is?

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