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THE EDIFICE AND THE FLIES, OR, THE CONTINUING ADVENTURES OF THE WORST COMPOSERS IN THE WORLD

  • Max Erwin

Abstract

This short article draws on, without mentioning, a very large body of works written over a very long period of time which share a common critique of the musical canon of great works as traditionally conceived. Chief among the musicologists drawn from are Georgina Born and Lydia Goehr (especially The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works). Readers familiar with these criticisms can safely skip to the final two sections, which explain why I am reinventing this particular musicological wheel at this moment in time. While I believe my framing is reasonably novel, I am under no illusions that the argument being made here is a new one. Nevertheless, the emphasis on community and practice feels urgent and perhaps merits retelling a story that is by now very old indeed.

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1 Adams, John, Hallelujah Junction: Composing a Musical Life (London: Faber and Faber, 2008), p. 313 .

2 Adams, Hallelujah Junction, p. 317.

3 See also the essay by Ilkka Oramo which translates this and other portions of the review, found here: https://relatedrocks.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/the-sibelius-problem/.

4 Quoted in Mäkelä, Tomi, ‘Sibelius and Germany: Wahrhaftigkeit beyond Allnatur ’, in The Cambridge Companion to Sibelius, ed. Grimley, Daniel M. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 178 .

5 See Gann, Kyle, ‘That Which is Fundamental: Julius Eastman 1940–1990’ (22 January 1991), in Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

THE EDIFICE AND THE FLIES, OR, THE CONTINUING ADVENTURES OF THE WORST COMPOSERS IN THE WORLD

  • Max Erwin

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