Monday, 2 July 2012

Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen by David Stubbs

Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get StockhausenFear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen by David Stubbs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, but the proof-reader was asleep I think when he nodded it through, which is a wee bit frustrating getting pulled up by strange punctuation and split sentences.
He acknowledges at the outset that the book doesn't purport to be a comprehensive catalogue of modern/ experimental music. The chapter on early 20th century modern classical music got me tracking down some music I hadn't come across before, eg Xenakis, but the later chapters used far weaker examples, going on a bit about some fairly run of the mill music whilst overlooking some more obvious examples. There was an interesting discussion on how the visual arts achieved success by putting a price on things, which musicians find harder to do. This also is discussed later on in the hypocrisy tied up in the corporate sponsorship of the arts. The conclusion briefly mentions the strong position of women in modern electronic music and brief mention is given to some Japanese musicians, two areas which could have been explored more at the expense of other stuff.

At the end of the day I prefer it when there is overlap and cross-pollenation in the arts and people aren't pigeon-holed as a 'type'. I can only illustrate that by saying that whilst writing this I am listening to Max Richter's "infra", which I first heard as incidental music at the theatre last week, the National Theatre of Scotland doing Macbeth, and the cd cover is a picture by Julian Opie, as it was initially commisioned for a ballet he was involved in. It works for me.

Max Richter, infra

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment