After the End

As we are at the end of our project, the conference honoring Prof. Taruskin is just beginning. This weekend at Princeton, “After The End of Music History: An International Conference in Honor of Richard Taruskin,” is underway. There look to be many exciting things going on there this weekend, including the world premieres of the Prokofiev/KrzhizhanovskyContinue reading “After the End”

Cognitive Constraints?

In the waning years of the Cold War, academic modernism began suffering from a gap in credibility, leading many (including defectors) to question its relevance. (In Susan McClary’s words, it was a victim of “terminal prestige.”) Objections to the handsomely brutal aesthetic of “Ph.D. music” were legion, but one of the most devastating blows cameContinue reading “Cognitive Constraints?”

Notation’s Last Hurrah?

As the opening frame to his final chapter on music in a postliterate society, Taruskin examines what he considers literate music’s last grasp for ultimate authority. The music of two English composers, Brian Ferneyhough and Michael Finnissy, represents this final and—in Taruskin’s estimation—ultimately futile maneuver. Their music is typically incredibly dense on the page, andContinue reading “Notation’s Last Hurrah?”

Turning Back the Clock

Using an innocent language innocently—using tonality “in one’s own way”—is no longer even an option. The choice is bleak: either renounce expression altogether or borrow a voice.  — V, 435 The tumultuous late 20th century presented composers with a number of perhaps irreconcilable aesthetic challenges. Modernists like Carter and Babbitt pressed on with the historicistContinue reading “Turning Back the Clock”

The Taruskin Challenge’s 200th Post

  (click on the image for a bigger scale) Many weeks and pages after beginning our project, The Taruskin Challenge has reached its 200th post. To commemorate, I used a handy tool to create this visual representation of the content of our blog. What you see here is a scaled representation of the words inContinue reading “The Taruskin Challenge’s 200th Post”

orderliness: a precompositional blog post (à la Structures Ia)

Beauty finds find will control and in who anyone it orderliness here, in beauty it find will control orderliness finds who here and anyone (find will beauty finds who anyone it control and in here orderliness) it find in beauty finds who here will control orderliness anyone and—here it orderliness in beauty finds anyone findContinue reading “orderliness: a precompositional blog post (à la Structures Ia)”