Saturday, December 6, 2008

Taking a stand

And lo, the centenary of two major composers didst approacheth, and the music bloggers were deeply divided among themselves. And Alex Ross didst lead the peoples towards those holy places where the music of Messiaen can be heard, but Matthew Guerrieri didst absent himself from the courts of Messiaen, and didst blog about Elliott Carter instead. Then did the other bloggers begin slowly to fall into line, with some of them enthusing about the Messiaen centenary, and others about the Carter centenary. For some reason - and the following is a totally unsubstantiated, anecdotal observation - there doesn't seem to be anyone who's celebrating both events. It's either Messiaen, or Carter.

I obviously fall into the Messiaen camp, and am a proud member of Bloggers fOr Olivier Messiaen (BOOM), but I rather like Carter's music, and am sorry I won't be able to do anything interesting for the centenary. The problem, I suppose, is that he hasn't written any organ or sacred choral music (stock reaction: WHAT A JERK) and so there's nothing he's written that I'm likely ever to perform. Even Milton Babbitt has written for organ, so I ought to know at least something about his music, but Elliott Carter is Someone Else's Problem. And so although I like the scores I've heard (the Double Concerto is brilliant), I can't claim any familiarity with the music and so don't have anything particularly interesting to say about it. That's my excuse.

As I reel at the realization that I have just emerged from another week-long blogging interruption only to announce that I have nothing to say about Elliott Carter, you can watch the weather forecast set to Anglican chant:
A thousand thanks to Nico Muhly for posting this - I've been trying to find this for years.


shogart said...

Um... uncannily, Esther A showed me that very same video last night......

Osbert Parsley said...

They also perform the Traffic Act - which is also on Youtube.

I'm hoping to get a group together around April and chant the income tax instruction guide.

Sinden said...

I too lament the dearth of organ/sacred choral music by Elliot Carter, but I still find his music brilliant.

After studying his Canaries (from Eight Pieces for Four Timpani), I was caught up with the idea of metric modulation.

My piece, for organ pedals, was entitled "Albatross".