Did you enjoy History of Photography?
It reminds me of Finnegan's Wake or Pound's Cantos. The title of this thread was chosen by a genius. You know, you can't just read Finnegan's Wake, you have to decode it. With History of Photography, to get at the meaning, you have to identify each intertextual reference and see what Finnissy's done with it. A lot of work, and I'm not sure how rewarding it would be. Naive listening - without knowing the sources being photographed in the music, and their cultutal meanings, isn't a good way to approach the music.
This is a very distinctive aspect to Finnissy's music, the prominence of transforming existing music. Of course Joyce did the same with language.
Do you think that's right? I really should spend more time with it.
Sometimes Finnissy's not like that at all. Snowdrift sounds like a straightforward piece of impressionist music like Night Fantasies.
Again I have looked into MF's Piano Music, and, mm, there's just something too "dirty"- I don't know how to describe the pseudo-improv style that HAS all the notes, written, but sounds like Busoni improvising on LSD. Busoni is another one who sounds to me in this "filthy" way. Is it all the notes, the sense that there are notes "to be cleaned up"? There is certainly a superfluous amount of notes, which does have a "hazy" effect-
I like what I consider his "Original" Compositions, like 'Snowdrift', which comes off like any cool slice of High Modernism, and I liked the twinkling 'Etched Bright With Sunlight'. But, so many of his pieces clock in right around 26 minutes, and, sorry,you can't write THAT many half hour pieces and there not be longeurs(?). But then, on the flip side, he writes a bunch of "minute trifles",- and- maybe here's where I protest,- there's so much of this American Nostalgia, and maudlin - hooow many times have I heard jazzy lounge avant nutz?-
It's like I want to say, "OK, I GET it. But can you play something I WANT to here?"
And what is it we want to hear? Probably 'Snowdrift'...
Like the Liszt vs. Paganini (I forget the title) 'History of Photography'- aye- haven't I heard this before?- maybe we haven't, but, for me, the stench of "old timey" is what I have a problem with this sentimentalizing that's going on with cheeky-meets-avant. Maybe I have the same problem with Rzewski(?)?
I've only had one piece, the 'Photography- Grieg' piece, quite long, and I listened to it sternly recently, and, oy, yes, it makes it's point, but, arf, whyWhyWHY? does it have to SOUND SO BORING? Minutes go by in the pattern, and then a blizzard of notes suggests what we have just heard flick by in 1/1000 speed. But then it's back to this slow "click, click, click", like tediously putting the act of stop-motion-animation to music. That's literally what it sounds like, and, after 25 minutes of this I feel like someone very talented has wasted my time.
However, others like all this, and maybe its different 'live'? At this point I don't think it matters who plays Finnissy. Everyone involved knows to 'swing' it, so, they all come off as the "perfect" jazz pianist- maybe that's Finnissy's legacy- being the first "good" Jazz Pianist? So that Pianists of High Modernism can play the jazz game and beat it?
Sounds great on paper...
I just don't care for how it sounds.
To me, there's that element of pretense. I don't particularly care for Gershwin, or Opera, Broadway, Negro Spirituals, so I don't really care for them all "souped up". I mean, there's a way to do a Spiritual, and then not.
So then I just got the 'North American Spirituals' (for the Babbitt) by Nonkin, and, I haven't made it far in, but I'm having the "oh noes, is it going to happen again?" feeling.Maybe the single best CD is 'Etched Bright With Sunlight'? Pure and simple?
And then maybe the String Quartets 2-3?
(cause I wasn't to keen on the othe SQ disc)
I feel a little the same way about Jonathan Harvey, though I've enjoyed him more.