Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Care If You Listen releases new sampler album

The I Care If You Listen blog/web site has released "Spring 2012 Mixtape," a free album of sample pieces from various albums. "Some wonderful artists agreed to be featured: Crash Ensemble, Brooklyn Rider, Loney Dear, Thad Anderson, Lawton Hall, Young Magic, Ben Russell, and David Crowell," Thomas Deneuville writes.

I downloaded it and gave it a listen. For some of the poppier items, one listen seemed enough, but I liked several pieces, particularly Crash Ensemble's "Streetwalker," written by composer Donnacha Dennehy.

The title of the Web site obviously is a reference to the famous (or infamous) Milton Babbitt essay. Deneuville explains, "The title of this blog is not directed at Mr. Babbitt, but more at the creative forces out there that tend to look down on their audience… "

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Higdon in the L.A. Times

Jennifer Higdon is interviewed for a piece in the Los Angeles Times. The piece by Kevin Berger is a nice look at her approach to composing, and kudos to the Times for being honest and admitting that the paper's regular critic, Mark Swed, is a dedicated Higdon-hater.

One nitpick though. The piece says that "Today Higdon is the rare composer whose livelihood flows entirely from royalties and commissions" then says a few words later, "She teaches composition at the Curtis Institute of Music." Don't these two statements contradict each other? Which raises a question -- how many composers actually do live off of their composing, without having to take a faculty job somewhere?

I like  Higdon rather better than Swed does. My old interview with Jennifer Higdon is here.