Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 against 4

5 against 4 is the name of a blog by composer Simon Cummings. He has recently released a collection of electronic compositions titled Simulated Music. Generally I find myself uninterested in electronic music, but these pieces seem, well, listenable. Here is the 11th Simulation. Give it a listen! But what really attracts me to his blog is his music criticism. It is well-written, intelligent and above all, critical! You would be surprised how rare real music criticism is these days. He describes a new piece by Peter Maxwell Davies, premiered at the 2011 Proms as having "a shudderingly cringeworthy epicentre in which a flat litany of vacuous platitudes is chanted, with all the solemnity of psalms recited by mental patients". He describes a piece by John Taverner as "one of the most fantastically horrific demonstrations of pseudo-composition ever to be heard at the Proms, or indeed any concert". His praise is equally direct. Of an orchestral arrangement, or better to say perhaps "re-composition" of Purcell's Chacony in G minor by Joby Talbot, Simon refers to its "staggeringly beautiful conclusion to an unforgettable arrangement".

Now I haven't taken the time to listen to most of the performances he mentions so I don't know if I agree with the estimations. With one exception: I did listen to the Talbot 'arrangment' and it is very beautiful indeed. If you go to this post, you will find a downloadable version at the bottom. Have a listen!

But what I like about the blog is that he expresses his views clearly and describes why he thinks so. You would think this would be common...

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