Bit by bit I’ve dissected Obama’s self-read autobiography into thousands of very short phrases, usually one to ten words or so, and have used these snippets to tell a completely different story from the original. I’ve then set the story to music. The story is called Son Of Strelka, Son Of God. Broadly speaking, it tells the story of an ugly dog-faced demigod who recreates the world after it is destroyed. It’s about thirty minutes long, and lies in some weird grey area between audiobook and electronic music.
Wow. More in Slate.
Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music” performed by Lee Marvin and Angela Dickinson. (via) A scene from Point Blank, I believe. Here’s the score.
The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space. We are in the epoch of simultaneity: we are in the epoch of juxtaposition, the epoch of the near and far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed. We are at a moment, I believe, when our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than that of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein.
Igor Stravinsky (↑, one of my favorite composers) is probably best known for his collaboration with Serge Diaghilev on the The Rite of Spring ballet and its scandalous premiere. But a few years after that, with Diaghilev’s prodding, he brought out another ballet score with older, more conservative roots, Pulcinella.
What made Pulcinella different was that Stravinsky took most of the music from lesser-known classical-era composers like Pergolesi, Gallo, Monza, et al. “It was a backward glance, of course, but it was a look in the mirror, too.” Stravinsky took whole melodies and bass lines from the old stuff, and within that framework he rejiggered the harmonies, rhythms, and orchestration.
I began by composing on the Pergolesi manuscripts themselves, as though I were correcting an old work of my own. I knew that I could not produce a ‘forgery’ of Pergolesi because my motor habits are so different; at best, I could repeat him in my own accent.
The reception of the new work wasn’t all positive…
I was… attacked for being a pasticheur, chided for composing ‘simple’ music, blamed for deserting ‘modernism,’ accused of renouncing my ‘true Russian heritage.’ People who had never heard of, or cared about, the originals cried ‘sacrilege’: “The classics are ours. Leave the classics alone.”
… but he had his reasons…
To them all my answer was and is the same: You “respect,” but I love.