Cliff Crego's blog, whitebark—
Notes scratched into a stonepine snag, open to the light, clear air . . .

November 2012
« Oct   Dec »
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 9:02 am

We shape the world and the world shapes us.

MOZART? The prancing white stallion of classical
music, full of Apollo’s dazzling, bright stars. But
where is the song of the Earth? Where is the dirt,
the raw polyphony of the rhythms of uncooked
wild nature? Too much cultivation leads to the
imbalance of the pallid polite smiles of the
perfumed Sunday salon, and too little of the
throwing open of November windows to embrace
the minor key of dead, rotting leaves and fierce
winds filled with fall rain.

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:36 am

We shape the world and the world shapes us.

When the deeper, underlying metaphysics of a classic
work no longer seem acceptable to us, all we are left
with then is but its brilliance of surface execution. And
even this surface brilliance necessarily begins to lose
its shine, for we, as we read or perform, must collude
with ourselves and each other, playing false by growing
a kind of hardened scar tissue around the open wounds
of contradiction. Even the purely metaphorical descent
into the torture of a sinner’s hell, or the metaphorical
crucifixion of a savior, may no longer, as the telling
expression has it, ring true. As the anachronistic, ugly,
images accrue, the cracks in the bell lead to a loss
of resonance that even true believers can no longer

comments (0)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 8:42 am

Coyote said to Crow, “Obama won Ohio! It’s over”
And Crow said, “He’s still a Hawk! Flies any direction
the money blows” #NoKXL #Iran #nukes

comments (0)
A THOUGHT on Creative Tradition
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 8:23 am

Has anyone else noticed that OLD MUSIC has become
by far the dominant formative force in Classical Music
performance practice? More energy, more talent, and
more money goes there than anywhere else…In a way,
even though I love and listen to the fruits of this great
collective labor every day, it IS like a kind of once-off
strip mining of the past. Why? Because it creates
nothing new, no new repertoire.

From the broadest possible perspective, I really don’t
care what you record. Your new Bach, or your new Handel,
or even new Berio or Xenakis recording. Why should I?

History will only remember the new works you have
helped give birth to, brought into being from the soil
under your feet. This is necessarily so, because listening
itself, if it is truly creative, is never 2nd-hand. The works
of the past, it seems to me, can only be discovered afresh
by ears made vigorous and young by the challenge—and
the wonder—of the New and Unknown. “In wildness is the
preservation of the world,” also in the Arts.

comments (0)
WHY I intensely dislike Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No. 1
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 9:18 am

THOUGHTS about WHY I intensely dislike Schnittke’s
Concerto Grosso No. 1. (In the spirit of,

“TO PROTECT THE BEAUTIFUL….study the ugly.”)

Now, I certainly do not dislike this particular performance,
which is here excellent and played not only w/o conductor,
but with fine technique and conviction…

No, I dislike it as a musical language.

Why? I find it thoroughly and utterly repulsive 2nd-hand
music, a kind of inauthentic, self-conscious, uninspired,
fake modernism.

It assaults me with what I can only call a kind of cheap
bag-of-tricks, kitsch continuity, full of gratuitous interruptions
and interpolations. An attempt is made to cover up this
inherent weakness with largely arbitrary and unbearably
mechanical repetitions, including trite little canonic triplet
figures, as well as the return insertion of whole blocks of
sound. All and all, Schnittke’s music seems informed by
an inorganic conceptual approach which, in my view, does
great violence to the richness of natural acoustic sound.
This in turn lends itself to a thick, heavy string timbre,
both individually and as an ensemble, with an equally
questionable, heavy, constant vibrato.

I can only say that it leaves me, even when played quite
well, with an indifferent “so what.” This naturally results
from the uncomfortable contradiction we sense when
we hear a VERY GOOD performance of VERY BAD music.

What makes music, in my view, really sound alive and new
is the inimitable clear sparkling energy of intelligence of
discovery. Despite the epithets, “thrilling,” “brilliant,”
intrepid,” for me, there’s no discovery, here.

♫ A Far Cry - Schnittke: Concerto Grosso no.1 (1977),
V. Rondo: Agitato

comments (0)