It snowed today. Not a lot. Just enough for me to look out the window and wonder what we were in for - would it be a drab, wet weekend, or would we find ourselves stuck in a few feet of the white stuff? Six hours later, it looks like it's the drab, wet option. And there's not even anything decent on TV.
Researching my recent post about Charles Ives, I made what was, for me, a new discovery. Ives was perhaps the first of many highly individualistic American composers who were not in the least afraid to do things "their way": John Cage and Harry Partch spring to mind as examples, and I'm sure there are many others. They have always intrigued me. The gay African-American composer Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was one I wasn't familiar with.
Eastman was both a composer and a singer. He also played the piano and turned his hand to choreography. He pursued what seemed to be developing into successful career (he sang the title part on on the 1973 Grammy-nominated Nonesuch recording of Peter Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King). However, after 1983 his life began to fall apart. He became dependent on alcohol. By the time he died of a heart attack in 1990 he'd faded into obscurity. It was eight months before anyone wrote an obituary and what was left of his music has been difficult to piece together (but not impossible, thanks to the hard work of his admirers). This piece, Evil Nigger(1979), with its minimalist texture and provocative title, is one of his better-known works.
I've recently started a new blog -well, sort of a blog- which I've called The Mousehole.
I say sort of a blog, as it's just a "no frills" list of things I've come across on the internet that I feel are worth noting. It's a sort of online bookmarks, a place for things I probably won't get round to writing longer posts about. So far it's mostly music - but I doubt it'll stay that way. I'm almost not bothered if nobody visits it but me - but it's there, if anybody wants to delve into it.
5 years ago