BLOGLINER NOTES ARTIST BIOS BOOK REVIEWS CV SHOP

Sunday, October 26, 2008

NO, David Hajdu, NO. BAD David Hajdu.

First sentence of David Hajdu's review of Hallelujah Junction, John Adams' memoirs, in the New York Times Book Review:

John Adams is the Care Bear of the American avant-garde.
Wait, what? I—no. No, sh. Don't speak.

11 comments:

DJA said...

David Hadju, you are now officially forgiven for your terrible John Zorn piece in TNR last year.

Dan Johnson said...

Hahaha, noooo, this is not a good sentence! We cannot permit this! First the Care Bears, what's next? "Giya Kancheli is the My Little Pony of the post-Soviet avant-garde"? "The Labecque sisters are the Tomax and Xamot of the piano"? The line must be drawn HERE.

In other news, I completely forgot that he wrote that terrible Zorn piece, which I hated so much that I have waiting all this time for someone to bring it up so that I can point to my least favorite moment:

'Zorn, following up on the Bacharach CD, approached Dave Brubeck with the proposition of honoring his work in the "Great Jewish Music" series, and Brubeck had to tell Zorn that he is not Jewish. Thinking of "Blue Rondo à la Turk" and "Pick Up Sticks," I wonder why Zorn presumed that Brubeck is a Jew. Was it the cantorial part that Brubeck once included in a religious oratorio about social justice?'

UNCHARITABLE. Hajdu must be referring to Brubeck's The Gates of Justice, which was recently issued by—ahem—Naxos' Milken Archive series of Jewish music. I'll quote their PR copy:

'Dave Brubeck has always maintained that he wrote his second large-scale sacred composition THE GATES OF JUSTICE (1969) to bring together--and back together--the Jewish people and American blacks. ... The Gates of Justice is a cantata based on biblical and Hebrew liturgical texts--together with quotations from Martin Luther King's speeches, as well as from Negro spirituals and from the Jewish sage Hillel....'

That is, it is an oratorio written for and about Black and Jewish people, commissioned by the American Union of Hebrew Congregations. It's not just a piece of music with a cantorial part, it's a piece of Jewish music. Not such a stretch to assume it was by a Jewish composer.

Hajdu, since he brings this piece up, obviously knows something about it. Did he choose to misrepresent it in order to make Zorn look more foolish? Boo to that.

m. croche said...

I'd like to revise and extend DSJ's comments.

Alfred Schnittke is the Cheburashka of the post-Soviet avant-garde. Giya Kancheli is Krokodil Gena. And Sofia Gubaidulina, well ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KouvdnY01bQ

Straussmonster said...

Thanks to the internet, you say "Care Bears" and this is what I think of first.

Dan Johnson said...

Croche, I love that song! Hooray.

Straussmonster, WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.

David said...

I hereby vow to make no more connections between contemporary American music and stuffed animals of the Eighties, though my point about Adams was true to his philosophy, I think.
I appreciate the intelligent, careful reading.
All best,
David (Hajdu)

Marcus said...

Nico Muhly is the Rainbow Bright of the millenial generation.

Thomas Ades is the Tinky Winky of English composers.

Bernard Holland is the Alf of music critics (retired and missed!!)

And someone should sign up mega MILF Sarah Palin to narrate Lincoln Portrait just so we can read David Hadju's review.

anon said...

What, John Adams? Thought that sort of accolade went to John Cage....

Straussmonster said...

I don't miss Bernard Holland's opera reviews.

Maury D'annato said...

Oh I just knew it was going to be The Slave Bear of Carealot. I just knew it.

DSJ is the Grouchy Smurf of new music blogging.

I had to google up a list of smurves to come up with a good one. In case you're wondering, "pottoki" is Basque for Smurf.

Straussmonster said...

Oh lieber Maury, have I gotten predictable, or is that one just so great that it sticks in the mind and/or craw of everyone who's exposed to it?

I don't think there's anything quite comparable for Smurfs, but, well...