When I feel like being humbled, there's nothing better than playing a little Abecedarian game with the Baron. We simply nominate a category and go through each of the letters of the alphabet finding a word for that category. "Albatross", the Baron will say, beginning an Abecededarian game about birds. "Bah... bah... buh... b.... b... birds?" I will cry helplessly. "Crested warbler," the Baron will put in. "D... duh... der.... dah..." will be my first fumbling attempts at a bird-name, at which point the Baron will helpfully suggest the name of another bird beginning with D. I don't know what it is, obviously, I'm not the Baron.
Fun with another person, the Abecedarian game is dire on its own; I've tried it once or twice and I inevitably end up either forgetting what letter I'm up to, not remembering any word to go with that letter, or getting distracted thinking about gingerbread, sometimes all three at once. It's humbling to realise you can't outwit another person but humiliating to realise you can't even outwit yourself.
However, I flatter myself that I am all right at the Abecedarian game when it comes to composers. Despite - or perhaps because - I studied music at university, I can't do much more than that. I know that there was a composer called something something Gottschalk, but I couldn't actually name a piece that he's written. And (a recent discovery) I have sorely underestimated the number of 'B' composers in the world. But anyway, there's -
and so on the list goes, right down to the little hiccough around Q, and the quibble around Vaughan-Williams (V or W)? But then we get to the X -
Now Xenaxis is a composer that I have a wholly impartial opinion about. I haven't heard a single note that he has ever written, and you can't get more impartial than that. Moreover, even though I have never heard a note that Xenaxis has written, they confuse the hell out of me anyway. Confusion, I have found, is an essential state for the appreciation of modern life, and especially for the understanding of the modern arts, and most especially for the understanding of modern music. (The most important thing for enjoyment of Boulez, I think, might be learning to not enjoy everything anyone else has written ever.)
I realise that my not knowing much about a modern composer who would only end up addling my wits if I did hear him makes me only one of many, but on the other hand, only a critic with such a clear and unbiased opinion of the subject he is writing about will be able to edify his audience. "I never read a book before reviewing it;" proclaims Sydney Smith, "it prejudices a man so."
Born 19___, Iannis Xenaxis quickly became one of the most influential composers of ___, working in a style that can best be described as (abstract impressionism/obtuse expressionism/abject depressionism). By combining ancient Greco-Persian modal rhythms with late-19th century polymetrical developments in instrumentation, Xenaxis was able to break new ground in the theory of practice, or the practice of theory, or two of the above three options. His atonal serials were highly prized amongst musicians, as were his breakfast serials, but it was perhaps in the art of advanced architectonic yoghurt making that he first came to world prominence. Whatever he wrote, and whenever he wrote it, and whyever he did whatever it was that he was supposed, alleged, and possibly even did do, he is rightly celebrated to this day in the home town of his birth, wherever that is.
Next time, I will provide an equally clear, unbiased, and ignorant historo-economical view of regicide as practised by NASA astronauts during the moon landings, 1960- the present.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2016 (68)
- ► 2015 (106)
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- Cooking tip
- CD Review
- The Thing of the Way of Things
- Glass half awful
- Impartial to Mr X: an essay on a composer I have n...
- Yet more proof of the little-known missing link be...
- Twitching in the kitchen
- Palindrome corner
- If only we could have stopped this happening from ...
- It's all my fault
- No finger in, no finger out
- Theme on the catatonic note
- Troublesome difficulty of the day
- So sew
- The joy of text
- The undiscovered world
- You and your hippopotamus
- They were laughing from one corner of the Biblical...
- A quibbling equivalence
- My spot of sensible advice for the day
- We is the what
- The tousle question
- Slogan for a country town
- Where there's a will
- Yt ys an epystle
- WTFF news: Higgs Boson particle thinks you're a ba...
- Science news: at last, the discovery of happy bunn...
- Theological possibility
- Things made today
- ▼ July (31)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- ► 2007 (392)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)