Sunday, April 3, 2011

Modernism, Milton, and Me

I'm currently taking a class entitled "American Composers and the Cold War." It's pretty interesting, but right now I'm not really crazy about it, because I'm having to stay up late to prepare a presentation on "Insular Modernism" as discussed in the book "American Composers and Their Public" by Nicholas Tawa. This particular chapter is largely about twelve-tone music and the development of serialism, which is really not my favorite kind of music. [Also, this particular chapter is about 30 pages long, which is really not my favorite kind of chapter... but I digress.]

When I say that serial music is "not my favorite kind of music," I mean that when I pulled up this YouTube recording of Milton Babbitt's Philomel (a work for soprano, recorded soprano voice, and synthesizer composed in 1964), upon listening to it I first felt slightly nauseous and then, when the recording got to about 3:18 on the video, I started to laugh until tears streamed down my face and Nathan questioned my sanity.

At least I got in a good ab workout with all that laughing. Thank you, Milton Babbitt.

[Warning: you may find yourself listening to the whole thing. It's sort of like stopping to look at a car accident; it's so grotesque, but nonetheless, sometimes people can't tear their eyes away.]

1 comment:

  1. The point where I started laughing hysterically was at 4:25:

    "The trees!"

    I have a really, really hard time taking any of that kind of so-called-music seriously.