Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Music Fantasy Baseball

So the discussion of that there John Williams piece in my last post, and in a directly opposite post over at Johnson's wonderful Rambler has me playing a silly parlor game in my head, and you're all invited to join me. The challenge: What composer do you think would have been a better pick for the Inaugural commission? Leave your answer in the comments section. It can be as pragmatic or fanciful as you like, just explain why you think your pick would have been more appropriate than that ol' vanilla John Williams. For example: Terry Riley! Terry Riley isn't going to win a Pulitzer anytime soon, let alone an Oscar, so it would be a nice thing to do to hand him a big huge occasional commission like this, but he still has just enough prestige to make the White House look good too. The conventional wisdom is he's not serious enough for the academic crowd, not easy enough for the populist crowd; he's pigeonholed as a minimalist composer. Well, the conventional wisdom is wrong, of course. Riley's music is affable and sophisticated, both. What's more, its respectful borrowings from African, Asian, Native American, etc etc etc cultures is a lot more reflective of actual American musical traditions than the stuff composed on the Copland/Williams axis. That was fun, right?? Now you try. Who should have been picked this year or, alternatively, who should get the big commission in 2013?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seeing as the surviving Tuskegee Airmen were in attendance, I think Don Byron would have been a good choice -- he could have written a coda to his earlier Tuskegee-inspired pieces. Also, this would have caused Juan Williams to completely lose his shit a few days earlier than he did.

January 28, 2009 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Dan Johnson said...

Ohmygosh, brilliant. That's gonna be hard to top.

January 28, 2009 at 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he's still around, I'd like to see what Elliot Carter could come up with in 2013. He'd be a hundred and five which is a feat in itself but also means he's seen pretty much everything the 20th century had to offer and therefore uniquely placed to look forward.

Failing that, my second choice would be Nico Muhly for the simple reason that I can't begin to imagine what he would come up with and that is exciting.

January 28, 2009 at 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Reich. He seems like he's one push away from the national treasure status he deserves.

January 28, 2009 at 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well someone picked Steve Reich but what about Alvin Singleton? He's a composer that should be better known and besides, Kyle Gann probably is too busy to be bothered.

January 28, 2009 at 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Adams. Because it would confuse the crap out of just about everyone!

January 28, 2009 at 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Adams? Why not John Luther Adams? or have them both collaborate on a piece with John Adams forcing the audience to read his program notes.

@DJA Yes, that was a brilliant suggestion.

January 28, 2009 at 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can think of one person to provide the necessary sincerity and warmth for the occasion:

Meredith Monk

January 29, 2009 at 1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony Braxton.

Alternatively, I'd love to have seen how Alvin Curran might have used the whole space of the National Mall ...

February 20, 2009 at 8:19 AM  

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