Sunday, December 03, 2006


"[But] as any composer (well, any honest composer) will tell you, to be difficult is the easiest thing in the world, and to be impossible takes no more than insouciance."
-Richard Taruskin

I've always instinctively felt this and it the more I think about it, the more it seems true. I'm no hater of "difficult" music; I have a real love (if that term can be used) for much of Birtwistle, Carter, Wuorinen, Boulez et al.
It's no more than a superficial paradox that, for me at least, the music of Fauré (who's great Piano Quartets I'm hearing tonight at Ted Mann Concert Hall) is more "complex" in most meaningful senses than the music of Ferneyhough. Just as that is nothing more than a superficial paradox, the complexity of a Ferneyhough is nearly all surface. I actually saw some of his infamous scores, with each flute note complete with more instructions than one of those NASA unmanned probes , before I heard them. When I read some of the admittedly articulate man's writings and interviews and heard his music, it was quite a let down to discover all that hubbub is standard post-war University philosophical wanking (Benjamin, Deleuze, Saussure, Brecht etc.) with your typical bars of 5/24 fluttertonguing 11ths.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.

3:55 PM  

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