Beyond Duality: Stasis, Silence, and Vertical Listening

Thompson, Daniel N.

Composers and other artists are sometimes hesitant to comment on their own work. Sometimes this reticence has been due to a belief that the art should "stand by itself'; sometimes the artist feels that it is the job of others to critique his work; at still other times the artist may feel that he is simply unable to verbally articulate anything of importance-even if he feels strongly that there are things he would like to say about the artwork. Nonetheless, innumerable composers and other artists have written about their work, so it seemed especially appropriate, in an issue of Current Musicology in which the articles have been written solely by composers, to review a couple of books that composers have authored. In this issue I am therefore pleased to review two books that I enjoyed reading, and which consist of writings by composers whose music I like very much. In fact, Jonathan Harvey's In Quest of Spirit: Thoughts on Music describes, better than any other book that I have ever read, how I hear music. It is an equally great pleasure to review Give My Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman, a compilation of writings by a man who was for many years my favorite composer of contemporary Western cultivated music.



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Current Musicology

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Columbia University
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April 14, 2015