The Rambler :: blog

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Links for the week, Postclassic edition 

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Kyle Gann has written a couple of interesting posts recently (well, more than two, but two of interest to me). They're deserving of a little more comment than a single link, so I'm putting them together here:

The first, on Postclassic Radio's brush with the DMCA, brings up the tricky issue of how the bit of the DMCA being applied (no more than two songs from one album consecutively) legislates against broadcasting all multi-movement classical works. As John Maxwell Hobbs observes in comments to Kyle's post, a pop paradigm is being applied across the board - he asks: why not, then, manufacture classical CDs as one track per work, rather than one track per movement? This might be the easiest solution (and not a bad one), but a better one might be to write a law that can take account of all music that actually exists. The best one would be to scrap the whole thing.

The second is on Paul Griffiths' take on Messiaen's added sixth chords. Like Kyle, I never heard these as problematic - maybe slightly kitschy, but not in a bad way. The odd thing about them, and the equally frequent dominant and minor seventh chords, is that they don't sound like what they are. In context they sound exactly like another part of the great man's harmonic vocabulary (and I think this is the point Griffiths was making in the passage quoted by Gann); I was always suprised by that, even when, sat at the organ on a Sunday afternoon, I had the darned chords in my hands. Context, as so often, was everything. That and a warm and fluffy vox celeste stop.

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