Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Did you say bicycles?

The Texas Tech Theory Department waxes rhapsodically about bicycles on the same day that I was telling an acquaintance about the bicycle bands of the Netherlands. I had the joy of seeing one of these bands perform during the International Trumpet Guild conference in Rotterdam, back in 1992. Some photos (not from that conference) are here.

Beware, Synaesthetes of the Interwebs!

That's right, the Fredosphere has been reactivated. I'm so glad that Fred's wife, Julie, is doing well, and send my prayers to his family for continued health and happiness. I understand his decision to suspend blogging during that time, and how priorities have been rearranged. My priorities have also changed recently, resulting in my more infrequent posting habits (and lower quality conference posts at that). I do have two book reviews I will be posting this week, and I am starting to think up some other topics I want to post about.

MTMS in Cincinnati

The Music Theory and Musicology Society of the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music invites you to attend its first conference, to be held Friday and Saturday, 9-10 February 2007.

Special Note!: This conference provides a complimentary breakfast and lunch on Saturday for those who register by February 5.

Friday, January 26, 2007

FriPod: Weddings and Funerals

Lt. Kijé Suite op. 60; Wedding - Prokofiev
Wedding & Troika (from "Lieutenant Kijé") - Empire Brass arrangement
Cantata n 202, Hochzeit / Wedding - Bach
Wedding Chorale/Beggars At The Feast - Les Misérables Original Broadway Cast
Wedding March (Midsummer Night's Dream) - Mendelssohn
The Golden Cockerel - 2. Wedding March - Rimsky-Korsakov
Russian Funeral for brass and percussion - Benjamin Britten
String Quartet No. 3 - Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik's Funeral March - Aulis Sallinen
Maurerische Trauermusik, K.477 (K.479a) "Masonic Funeral Music" - Mozart
Sonata No. 2, Op. 35 ("Funeral March") - Chopin

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Alas, poor Wolfgang, I knew him well...

Institute of Philosophy, University of London
Spring Series 2007
January 31, 2007
Peter Kivy (Rutgers)
'Mozart's Skull: Looking for Genius (in all the wrong places)'

To take place 2-4 pm in Stewart House, Second floor, 32 Russell Square, London WC1.

Peter Kivy is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. He is the author of numerous books and articles in aesthetics and the philosophy of art including The Corded Shell: Reflections on Musical Expression (1980), Authenticities: Philosophical Reflections on Musical Performance (1995), and The Possessor and the Possessed: Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and the Idea of Musical Genius (2001).

Beethoven's "Tempest"

From February 8 to 10, 2007, the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, will host an international symposium devoted to a single composition: Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata (in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2), a work that represents a turning point in music history, raising questions about aesthetics, instrument, performance, and form.

This three-day event will bring together pianists, historians, and theorists from Belgium, Canada, and the United States around this one piece, which lends itself particularly well to different approaches and perspectives. At the core of the project are connections of scholarship and performance.

More workshop in spirit than formal conference, events will consist of seminar-type presentations, performances, and an open discussion forum.

Attendance is free.

Preliminary Schedule of Events

Thursday, February 8, 2007

1:30–1:45 Welcoming Remarks


Daniel Steibelt, L’Orage précédé d’un rondeau pastorale (from his concerto Nr. 3, Op. 33, 1798), Erin Helyard (McGill), fortepiano

Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (“Tempest”), Tom Beghin (McGill), fortepiano

2:45–3:45 Jeroen D’Hoe (Lemmens Institute), ”Playing (with) Harmony in Beethoven's Op. 31, No. 2”

4:00–5:00 Pieter Bergé (Leuven), “To Play or Not to Play: Motivic Connections in Beethoven's ‘Tempest’ Sonata”

Friday, February 9, 2007

9:30–10:30 William Caplin (McGill), “The ‘Tempest’ Exposition: A Springboard for Form-Functional Considerations”

10:45–11:45 Robert Hatten (Indiana), “Interpreting the ‘Tempest’ through Topics, Gestures, and Agency”

1:30–2:30 Tom Beghin (McGill), "Orating the Oracle: The Rhetorical Paradox of Beethoven's Tempest Sonata"

2:45–3: 45 Markus Neuwirth (Leuven), “Listening Forward: What an Expectancy-Based Cognitive Music Analysis Tells Us about Beethoven’s ‘Tempest’ Sonata”

4:00–5:00 Steven Vande Moortele (Leuven), “Hesitant Openings and Tempestuous Transitions: Ways of Organizing Sonata Form Expositions in the Nineteenth Century”


Ludwig van Beethoven, Three Piano Sonatas, Opus 31:

Number 1 in G Major, Sara Laimon (McGill), piano

Number 2 in D Minor, Richard Raymond (McGill), piano

Number 3 in E-flat Major, Kyoko Hashimoto (McGill), piano

Saturday, February 10, 2007

10:00–12:00 Open Forum: Analysis & Performance

Moderator: Robert Hatten, with the participation of Tom Beghin (on the fortepiano) and Richard Raymond (on the modern piano)

American music preservation

The fine folks who brought us Carry a Tune Week are offering to list scholarly projects at their website. The categories are still weird (see my critique at the carry a tune post): Shaker Music, Film Music, New England Music, Classical Composers, and Popular Songs. These categories have one religious topic, ignoring all other religions; one regional topic (which overlaps with the religious category), ignoring all other geographic regions of America; and still no Jazz, which remains the most significant American contribution to music. But if you are interested in having your research listed, or in seeing what research has been listed, go visit American Music

Monday, January 22, 2007

Music and the Written Word

This is the annual symposium of the Indiana University Graduate Theory Symposium. Unfortunately it is the same weekend as my conference in Groningen (Feb. 23-24), otherwise I would definitely go. The subject is interesting, and I feel some ownership due to teaching there in the summers (I just confirmed this coming summer) and with a colleague who is working on her music theory PhD there right now. Plus Bloomington is a kick to visit, with the great restaurants and stores.

Florida State Music Theory Forum

The Music Theory Society at Florida State University will host its 24th Annual Music Theory Forum on January 27, 2007, in Dohnányi Recital Hall. The forum co-chairs cordially invite you to attend. The schedule of events is as follows:

Session 1
Greg Decker, Chair

9:00 Michael Baker (Western Carolina University)--"Mendelssohn's "Allnächtlich im Traume,' Op. 86 no. 4: Music, Text, and Meaning in a Nineteenth-Century Song"
9:30 Danny Arthurs (Indiana University)--"Irony and Illusion in the Second Movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata, Op. 101"
10:00 Richard Randall (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)--"Understanding Hybridity: Comparing Geometric Models of Tonal Hierarchy"

10:30-10:45 Break

Session 2
Sarah Sarver, Chair

10:45 Sean Atkinson (Florida State University)--"Process and Intuition: Narration in Three Tales by Steve Reich"
11:15 Alan Theisen (Florida State University)--"With Pipes, Drums, and French Horns: Pitch (Space) Amid Stylistic Conflict in György Ligeti's Hamburg Concerto"
11:45 Shannon Groskreutz and Crystal Peebles (Florida State University)--"Spiral Form: Reconceptualizing Thematic Returns in Developing Variation"

12:15-2:15 Lunch

Session 3
Chris Endrinal, Chair

2:15 Meghann Wilhoite (Columbia University)--"Getting Close To NARC"
2:45 Bryn Hughes (Florida State University)--"Rock's Compositional Space"
3:15 Rob Bennett (Florida State University)--"Dramatic Formal Dichotomies in Indie Rock of the 1990s"

3:45-4:00 Break

Keynote Address
4:00 L. Poundie Burstein (Hunter College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York)--"Schenkerian Analysis and the Long Range"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

FriPod: Top 10

Last year I wrote a post listing my top 10 iTunes tracks. Here are this year's Top 10. None of them were on last year's list.

1. Ayre: Luna Golijov
2. Suonata a 7 Con due Trombe: 1. Grave Franceschini
3. Creep - Edmund Welles
4. Concerning Hobbits - Howard Shore
5. Sonatas and Interludes #5 - John Cage
6. Down To the River To Pray - Oh Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack
7. Ah! stigie larve / Gia latta Cerbero / Ma la furia / Vaghe pupil - Handel
8. Hope and Memory - Howard Shore
9. Ayre: Sueltate las cintas - Golijov
10. Twilight And Shadow - Howard Shore

Feminist Theory & Music 9: Speaking Out of Place

Montreal, June 6-10, 2007. As a reminder, I post these conferences not so much for my academic peers but rather for the performers and listeners. This one is a good introduction to the interdisciplinary subject of feminist music theory. Note that the plenary session is on rock criticism.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Speaking Out of Place.” This topic was born from discussions of the character of Montreal as a multilingual city with a contradictory sense of itself in terms of local and national identities. It is also meant to evoke new perspectives for understanding gender in the context of transcultural and transnational conversations.

The keynote speaker will be Beverly Diamond (Memorial University of Newfoundland), noted Canadian ethnomusicologist and scholar of Inuit music. The plenary session on feminist rock criticism will feature Ann Powers, Daphne Brooks, Susan Fast, and Ellie Hisama.

Feminist Theory & Music is an international conference which has met biennially at various universities since 1991. The conference was originally the brainchild of members of the American Musicological Society who wished to involve scholars from all musical disciplines (composition, education, ethnomusicology, history, performance, and theory) in the growing field of feminist approaches to music. The conference has always been hosted and operated independently of any specific scholarly association. FTM8 was held in New York City in 2005, hosted jointly by New York University and the City University of New York. FTM9 marks the first time the conference will come to Canada.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Great men

Today the whole family went to a service honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. My daughter sang three songs with a group of school kids, the executive council of the local chapter of the NAACP was sworn in, certificates were awarded to children who had shown courage and conflict skills like MLK, and a clip from the upcoming NOVA special on DePauw's own Percy Julian was shown. Afterwards there were activities for the kids in the church basement, emphasizing peace and black history (a great trivia game was set up to match accomplishments to about six famous black people, including Marian Anderson and Langston Hughes).

Last night I found out that Michael Brecker died. I saw him live in 1989, both in concert and at a masterclass. He was really into the EWI at the time, but even then his sheer technique and musicality shined through the technology. I celebrate the accomplishments of King, Julian, and Brecker, mourn the travails each of them went through, and pray that our world can learn from their examples.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Things that make you go Hmmmmm

Unlike my lame Friday post, Kris Shaffer took the time to review a book I've mentioned before, The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body. (My title post refers to holistic, manipulative, multi-modal, musical, and memetic communication, which Mithen cleverly calls Hmmmmm communication.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

FriPod: God

"He trusted in God" Messiah - Handel, Andrew Davis
"Let all the angels of God worship him" - Handel
"But thanks be to God" - Handel
"Glory to God in the Highest" - Handel
"Behold the Lamb of God" - Handel
"If God be for us" - Handel
"All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" - Bronislaw Kaper/Gus Kahn/Walter Jurmann, Bud Powell
And God Created Great Whales - Hovhaness, Gerard Schwarz
"God Only Knows" - The Beach Boys
"God Only Knows" - Petra Haden
"Godchild" - Wallington, Miles Davis
"My God" - Jethro Tull
"Snarling Wrath of Angry Gods" - Gutbucket
"The Godfather Waltz" - Nino Rota

Update: Interestingly, I have more tracks for "Gott" (27) than "God", plus 2 for "Deus", 1 "Dieu" and 1 "Dio".

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Who knows what lurks in the hearts of blogs?

This is National De-Lurking Week. I'll give you a topic: Music does not have to have any sound. Discuss in comments.



Ole Kühl has created a website devoted to Cognitive Musicology. I'm particularly interested in his paper on semiotics and improvisation. He also has some of his music online, jazz and fusion with groups Natdaperen and Dawn.

Greater New York Chapter of AMS

Saturday, January 20, Marryot Music Building, Douglass Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ.

11:00 Session #1
Heather Laurel (CUNY Grad Center and Oberlin College), "Towards an Understanding of Tonal Design in the Music of Barbara Strozzi"

Maria van Epenhuysen Rose (Brooklyn, NY), "The Tale of the Single-Voice Nocturne: a Transformation of Genre, or How the Piano Found its Voice"

1:30 Session #2
Matthew Reichert (CUNY Grad Center and Brooklyn College), "Carl Bergmann the Pioneer: The Introduction of Zukunftsmusik to the New York Concert Repertory"

Megan Jenkins (CUNY Grad Center and Brooklyn College), "Sex and Reason in Salome"

3:10 Session #3
Ben Piekut (Columbia University), "Gender and the New Thing: The Case of the Jazz Composers Guild"

Maureen Gupta (Princeton University), "'Undressing the Muses' and Stravinsky's Apollo"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blog Awards

While the music blogging community is very active, it has not had much exposure in the various blogging awards. Perhaps this will change, with more awareness of these awards among the music bloggers. One of the real biggies is the Koufax Award. Nominations are now open for a variety of categories: Best Blog, Best Blog Community, Best Group Blog, etc. Go nominate your favorite music (or otherwise) blogs. Think of it as another form of audience outreach.

What did you play?

Dave Munger reports that Jake Mandell has reported the results of his tone deafness study. Dave quotes two significant results of training and race on musical perception, you can read them at his blog. He doesn't comment on the sex effects:
Males performed better than females on the rhythm and adaptive pitch tests, but not on the tonedeaf test, where there was no significant difference between the sexes.

However, looking at the number of participants I wonder if this result can be taken with confidence. The Adaptive Pitch test (being able to tell whether the second pitch is higher or lower than the first pitch) had 20,665 males and 8,523 females. The Rhythm Test (identifying same or different rhythms) had 3,552 males and 1,486 females. The knowledge I have of statistics tells me that this disparity in numbers is problematic, though I will accept a correction by experts. With the Adaptive Pitch test, it moves quickly into the nonmusical realm, with intervals smaller than even a quarter-step. The average pitch sensitivity of males was 16.62 cents, whereas females' average limit of pitch sensitivity was 18.33 cents. To put these numbers in perspective, 12 cents is how much the third of a major chord should be lowered from equal temperament to be in just temperament, 50 cents is a quarter-step, 100 cents is a semitone or half-step. At best you could suggest that men have a slightly better sense of tuning than women. I also wonder why Jake reported his results in Cents, when the test I took was all based around 500 Hz. Thus he should have reported in Hz, since he didn't test at different pitch ranges. And his results conflict with other more robust studies of pitch discrimination which average at about 1% frequency differences across ranges, timbres, durations, etc.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Lost histories

Jonathan Bellman has a very interesting post about musical knowledge that has been lost.
For me, one of the most pleasurably unearthly sensations is that of hearing or witnessing something that one would never have imagined to have survived—something, in a sense, one has no business hearing. This is one of the real attractions of the study of historical performance practices, for me at least; one seeks to recapture sounds, techniques, approaches, and even ways of hearing that disappeared long ago. Ultimately, perhaps, it is nothing more than the basic historian’s impulse: There Was Something Worth Knowing Back Then, And We Are Diminished For Having Forgotten It. And here we find ourselves fellow-traveling with, for example, ethnobotanists: we share the simple humanities-based impulse that what was previously known or thought or experienced was of value and is worth preserving, even if the value is now understood differently. It is also where we part company with narrow orthodoxies of whatever kind: religious, political, scientific, which tell us what we do and do not EVER need to know.
I do find a pleasure when playing my cornetto, knowing that I'm recreating timbres that were around in the Renaissance. But I'm also just attracted to the sound in itself, which is the "Worth Knowing" part of the equation.

Sight and Sound: The Visual Imagination in Music

The Graduate Association of Music and Musicians at the University of Texas (Austin). Saturday, March 24.

Graduate students from the areas of music theory, composition, musicology, and ethnomusicology will meet to share their research and composers will present their works in a concert to be held that evening.

This year's keynote speaker is Richard Leppert, Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor from the University of Minnesota. Among his numerous
publications is The Sight of Sound: Music, Representation and the History of the Body (University of California Press, 1993). Leppert received his Ph.D. from Indiana University in Musicology with a secondary focus in Art History. His primary interest revolves around the relations of music and imagery to social
and cultural formation. His work is informed by the critical theories of the Frankfurt School and the work of Theodor Adorno in particular. He has held
fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

McGill Music Graduate Symposium

Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal, March 9 to 11, 2007
The keynote speaker will be Pierre Daniel Rheault, President of the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) and Guest Professor at the Schulich School of Music.
McGill’s symposium is dedicated to fostering research in all areas of music. We encourage presentations on topics from the fields of musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, music education, composition, music technology, sound recording, music cognition, and performance (in the form of lecture-recitals).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Irrational logic

In graduate school I learned about fuzzy logic, and also developed a sense of musical logic derived from Schenker and set theory. I was always pleased to apply logic in its various rational forms to all matters in my life. Today I had an epiphany, realizing that I had cut myself off from another form of reasoning that is completely irrational. Emotions and beliefs do not follow a rational course, at least not one that can be modeled with current rational systems. When I pointed out the ability of artistic discourse to encompass paradoxical viewpoints, I was getting close to this idea. Artistic logic doesn't have to be rational, just as emotional logic is not rational, nor are religious beliefs. The big epiphany for me was realizing that these forms of irrationality are not crazy or wrong, but ways that we can see into something larger than ourselves, something beyond rational thought. These larger truths may be different for each person, which can make discourse in this realm frustrating. But such discourse can also be incredibly edifying when it is treated as a learning experience rather than a contest.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Conferences as Outreach

I get lots of announcements for academic music conferences, which I decided to start listing here. I think many of my readers are not music theorists or musicologists, but are interested in learning about music scholarship. I think performers should attend to get new ideas of programming or performance. Educators should attend to get new interesting facts with which to wow their students. Listeners should attend to learn about new ways to think about or listen to music and new genres of music.

First up is not a conference, but rather a debate. The topic is whether Toscanini was a force for good or ill. Joe Horowitz will be arguing with Mortimer Frank, with Henry Fogel as referee. The debate is January 8 at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in the Lincoln Center library in New York. It will be from 6-8 pm, including film and audio clips and sponsored by the New York Philharmonic. ($10 tickets)

The first real conference is the International Symposium on Latin American Choral Music: Contemporary Performance and the Colonial Legacy. It is held January 19-20 at the University of Arizona.
This symposium brings together scholars and musicians interested in the contemporary performance of Latin American music composed in the colonial
period, with special emphasis on choral music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The symposium will be convened as one of several inaugural events launching the new Institute for Music in the Americas at the University of Arizona School of Music and its research center for Colonial Latin American Music. We expect to publish the best of the proceedings from this symposium.
The symposium focuses primarily upon the following issues:

1.Publication of performance scores - including consideration of major resources, the processes of identifying, evaluating, accessing, and editing manuscripts; as well as the mechanics of contemporary publication and distribution.
2. Matters of performance practice - including consideration of interpretation, instrumentation, and vocal distribution, as well as decisions balancing authenticity with the demands of contemporary expectations, and values.
3.Recording - including matters of production, evaluation of existing releases, plans for new releases, and strategies appropriate in the age of digital distribution.
4.Engagement- including consideration of representation of Latin American
choral music (or related repertoire) in educational programs, curriculum development, and civic events.
5.Aesthetics and style studies - including discussions of genre, style, and reception in regional and international contexts.

Moving across the pond, a Study Day on Haydn's Creation will be held at the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford. This is on February 20. Cost for nonmembers of the Society for Music Analysis or the University of Oxford is £10 for students, £20 for non-students.

The Forum on Music & Christian Scholarship will be held March 9 and 10 at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music. There are many papers on a wide variety of musical genres. The keynote address is by Thomas H. Troeger, Lantz Professor of Christian Communication at Yale.

Next is a multidisplinary conference, the American Hungarian Educators' Association. They will be meeting at St. John's University (Manhattan Campus) in New York City on April 19-21. The musical feature is a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Zoltan Kodaly's birth (and 40th anniversary of his death, but that's a downer). For those interested in presenting something on Kodaly, the deadline for submission is January 20th.

Musical Meaning and Human Values: A Colloquium with Lawrence Kramer is a 2-day international conference held at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus on May 4 and 5. This one is free, so a great opportunity for interested bystanders.

Featured speakers include Walter Bernhart (University of Graz), Marshall Brown (University of Washington), Keith Chapin (Fordham University), Peter Franklin (Oxford University), Walter Frisch (Columbia University), Lawrence Kramer (Fordham University), Richard Leppert (University of Minnesota), and Susan McClary (UCLA).

Finally, the International Computer Music Conference, held in Copenhagen from August 27-31. The theme is "Immersed music." Submissions of papers, videos, compositions, etc are due by April 30th.

I will post more conference announcements as I receive them

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This is your brain on Levitin

Mind Hacks has a nice description of the big NYT article on music neuroscientist Daniel Levitin. I saw Dr. Levitin's papers on Williams' Syndrome and Absolute Pitch back in 1997, and have been impressed with his work ever since. The article does a fair job at describing his research.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I've been tagged by a new (to me) blogger, Bodie Pfost. (A warning to Patty, he is a trombonist.)

Find the nearest book.
Turn to page 123.
Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
Name the book and the author, and tag three more folks.

Soon afterwards Leonardo Vinci (c. 1696-1730) and other young composers, trained in the conservatories of Naples, began gaining an ascent over opera in Italy, introducing a style that, again, resembled popular melody in its short phrases and tunefulness. In this new world Bach was too learned and Handel too sophisticated. The younger generation's music favoured lightness, simplicity and immediate pleasure, qualities that characterize the rococo style in the arts, though with reference to music the term galant is sometimes used, with its allusion to a civilized gaiety of French Bearing.
A Concise History of Western Music by Paul Griffiths.

I will be reviewing this book on the blog in about a week. I had to cheat slightly, as Griffiths writes rather long sentences. The second and third sentences above are on the next page of the book. Like Jessica, I won't tag anyone, leaving it open to any interested parties.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Artistic Discourse

I just found this weeks-old post by Fernando Téson through Chris Bertram. Fernando objects to political art because it doesn't allow for rational disagreement.
However, political art is a special form of discourse failure. Art is a type of concrete imagery, and as such it evokes a “fact” that may activate default theories in the audience. Those willing to challenge the political stances represented by the artifact have to overcome the suggestive power of beauty.

Thus art isn't playing fair by being emotional and beautiful. (Or funny, as he complains about satire.) Yet what effort at political discourse doesn't appeal to our emotions? Many of the commenters to Fernando's post point out the rhetorical efforts as old as Cicero. But what I think Fernando is really missing is the fact that most political art doesn't evoke concrete facts. The point of art is that it doesn't have the same type of logic as rational dialog. Thus, it can evince contradictory positions at the same time, forcing the audience to see things from two or more perspectives. The audience will not agree with all those perspectives, but may have more understanding and more nuance regarding their own positions. John Scalzi made another point about this, the approach that the political artist makes:
To the extent that one decides to get into politics in one's science fictional work -- and the question of whether this is a good idea at all is a discussion so immense and knotty and exhausting that I'm not even going to bother with it at the moment -- there are primarily two ways to go about it: You can build a monument or you can build a room (yes, these are metaphors. Work with me). If you build a monument, what you're doing is putting your politics and polemics in the center of your reader's attention and basically making him or her deal with them on your terms. The politics aren't accessible and aren't debatable; as a reader you deal with them or you don't.

If you build a room, what you're doing is inviting people in -- with all their baggage, political or otherwise -- and inviting them to unpack and stay awhile. And they unpack, putting all their stuff on the shelves and tables and walls and floors, all of which (to stretch the metaphor to its absolute breaking point) are your underlying political and social views. As a writer, you make the points you want to make, and because you've let your readers bring something into the book as well, I think you've got a better chance of them being receptive to your points.
Fernando seems to think that all political artists are monument builders, when I can think of many room builders. Even an incredibly political work like Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated is a room in which one can confront Marxism rather than an unyielding monument. The music is lovely, and convoluted, and simple in various spots of the 36 variations, none of which explicitly perform the words of the Chilean song. The title gets across the idea that "The People" should unite together. But who are the people, how should they unite, and what is defeat? The lyrics are more explicit, yet still open to interpretation. And Rzewski did decide to not include any text, unlike other works he wrote for speaking pianist (such as De Profundis). This decision opens up more options for close reading. Is Rzewski rehabilitating a political artwork into a work of absolute art? Or is the political effect meant to be subliminal?

Finally, Fernando completely disregards any potential for discourse between different artworks. Woody Guthrie composed "This Land is My Land" as a protest against Irving Berlin's "God Bless America." In this kind of discourse, the audience gets the option to pay attention to the art, the politics, or both. Either way some kind of enlightenment will be gained.

Happy New Year!

This year I resolve to teach less (sabbatical), exercise more, lose my temper less often, write more, watch less television, read more, judge less, listen more, hide less, go out more.

Or I could just make some Cheesy Poof.