Tuesday, January 18, 2011

old posts 6

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NMB stuff
By: Philip Fried Date: Aug 23, 2008 - 09:56 AM


Colin has information, what is the effect on artists?

well maybe...
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

The history of ideas, including critical ideas, run parallel to the history of art as all histories must.

They may intersect, be in conflict, or even be at one at various times.

Yet the trajectory of a artist and the critic are not the same. Nor is the relationship of artists to the prevalent ideas of the time the same either. Every composer, for example, has a different and unique relationship to the ideas of their time. They love them or hate them or ignore them or may even be ignorant of them.

Its also true that the next new idea and critical outlook is just around the corner.

Times do change. Then again the more they change the more they stay the same.

Phil Fried

Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 4:15:01 PM

By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

Mathew, I don't understand your problem with Colin, as he, as you both represent different relationships to ideas stated.

As for this:

"..He stands unprotected before the winds of change. He stands only on what he has come to love. He is what he loves..."

Besides the "He" problem it could be pointed out that tenured Professors are hardly unprotected from "winds of change." In fact they are deeply insulated-thats the point isn't it?

As for composers and what they "love" I know several composers who are just as motivated by what they, well, dislike. Nothing wrong with that either.

One of the ironies of those who proclaim a hatred of Schoenberg for example is that they tend to indulge in what was his worst "alleged" quality -the intolerance for other musical styles and ideas and a belief that different musical styles are in mortal opposition.

Phil Fried



By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

"..I've known over the years who a priori reject something if it is such different things as: based on a twelve-tone row; totally improvised; or created exclusively with pre-recorded sound samples.."

Dear me, I work in first two of three of the above! Ouch!

What was I thinking?

Well Frank I wish most people had a open mind like you do.

Phil Fried

Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 7:07:14 PM



A new Blogger!! billy is at it again!-also "Lisa" who with a false name and a false e-mail, offers opinions that are just as, lets say, speculative. I have to agree with Corey on this topic. which quickly gets out of hand. Corey then goes for the jugular hr seems to feel so empowered that no one is allowed to question him. It is odd that Corey has no sense of humor since he writes "funny" songs. odd also to that everyone who disagrees with him is a troll. It's always about him.

welcome !
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

Actually, I can't be sure that I hear what you hear.

But, I'm glad your here.

Phil Fried

Monday, August 18, 2008, 8:26:50 PM

self knowledge can be painful
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

"..After all, what could be more patriarchal than our idealizations of the genius composer with HIS divine inspiration, or the relationships between conductors and musicians..."

Oh, I don't know. Perhaps omnipotent alpha males who pretend to opinions they neither keep nor understand. Or worse perhaps alpha males who pretend that they don't want to be the "boss" of all, that is- patriarchs them selfs.

"..It’s not so much about listening as being the dominate rooster ..."

".. it becomes singular, exclusive, and unable to adapt or accommodate differences..."

That reminds me of some folks blogging styles exactly.

Phil Fried

Grace nails it!!!

By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

Grace and Leos!

I'll third that.

Phil Fried,

Thursday, August 21, 2008, 11:24:47 AM

I will stick to it
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

"Lisa," a nom de plume, and a fake e-mail address hardly inspires faith in any "alleged" opinions even if I happened to agreed with you.

Also the fact that the Walden school is constantly referenced on this page and advertised on many other music pages would seem to imply that it is surely part of the dominant institutions of learning and music-making. Whats is wrong with that anyway?

Phil Fried

Which witch is which ?
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

"Isn't that fair?"

Gee, I don't know "Lisa."

Perhaps you might ask Milli Vanilli?

Phil Fried

Thursday, August 28, 2008, 9:07:13 AM

must I restate?
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

Um Corey-"Which witch is which"-is a book by Pat Hutchins--have you read it?

Yes I am male as you are, but we have no way of knowing what gender "Lisa" is. Sorry. "Lisa" might be you or anyone. If I am wrong I apologize.

It seems odd that you want to argue over the supposed politics of the Walden school since neither of us has attended it. Anyway, it seems that a whole lot of mainstream people are connected with it. So we disagree.

I'm sure that the folks at Walden are wringing their hands with despair over this.

Phil Fried

Saturday, August 30, 2008, 4:33:46 PM

final comment here
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

Its too easy to cherry pick phrases from a text and twist it to mean the opposite of what was intended. [besides the false info the fake opinions and claiming to have witnessed concerts that they did not attend]

If that is the benchmark for blogging discourse point taken.

Phil Fried

Sunday, August 31, 2008, 12:30:44 AM

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ok NMB again-with an exception!
By: Philip Fried Date: Aug 15, 2008 - 11:03 AM

OK folks I decided not to interfere with the Wagner nonsense here:


I don't care for the respondents at all and when I warned ACD privately about the school yard bullies billy and ryan -he was patronizing.

The problem for me is that, besides the obvious ignorance and matchbook cover research, the avatars known as WO and RT do not care about nor act upon the opinions they pretend to hold -rather they just want attention and further, and I can only speculate perhaps because of their own personal bitterness, they want to kill all reasonable conversation.



What else?
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

Why Blitzstein's Airborne Symphony of course!

Phil Fried

Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 5:58:45 PM



Kyle replies-more about his personal vision--yet his reply is a reminder that even downtown --there is a pecking order. Guess who is on top!

I agree
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

"..the "simple-complex" continuum is a very tidy way to understand developments in contemporary music:.."

Art, like life, is never tidy.

Phil Fried

Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 3:20:23 PM

 nota bene

For a number of years now cultural "critics" have taken aim at famous classical composers, and music types, making many extravagant claims about them and their music. Due to their academic positions outside  music departments or the music industry these "opinions" (no matter how controversial) are always risk free. They are also "headline grabbing" in a way esoteric scholarship can never be.

The question remains whether this type of "imaginative" scholarship adds any lasting insight.

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this weeks nmb-plus a poem
By: Philip Fried Date: Aug 1, 2008 - 05:08 PM


odd topic odd replies -my attempts to be "real" are subverted by everyone! By the way Kyle will not answer Ryan after the his last "invented opinion." Nor did I realise just how hatefull Billy is. My thought on uptown/down thing are in my review of Mr. Argue way below.

Confessions of a curmudgeon composer
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

Frank, I know that anything is possible in music-anything. Also, I reject a sonic prejudice based merely on style alone. That said I do reserve the right to like and dislike as I please. Then again its never a style but perhaps particular practitioners of that style.

I know myself and some of the reasons I like and dislike some ones music are not necessarily rational.

In fact my opinions are informed by many unmusical factors including: personal interactions, snubs, high handedness, fair dealing, helpfulness or not, and sometimes (to my own disadvantage) just to prove my own independence.

Finally I understand one important point-

I can be wrong.

Phil Fried, plunk'in the bass again

Tuesday, July 29, 2008, 8:45:27 PM

ok-foreced to listen? I mean really!

my apologies in advance
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

I was forced to love Boulez

I had to do what Mama says

Or she made me wear a Fez

I had to listen to Boulez

I tried to make my big escape

I had a boat out by the cape

But Mom was in much better shape

I had to listen bound with tape!

The records snapped and popped

This was no teen-age record hop!

I couldn't make the music stop

Mom was a "new music cop"

Why did I ever move to France?

Was it coincidence by chance?

That I should take it on the lam

from the agents of IRCAM!

Now I've learned to handle Mom

and I do it with aplomb.

So I take a different tack

and complain behind her back!

Phil Fried--sorry

Wednesday, July 30, 2008, 10:10:18 AM

I ignore billy this time but Kyle by way of-- "lisa" who I think is....CD?

now that you mention it...
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

"..that as the amount of complex, opaque music in the world grows, the time available for the dramatic needs of his own contribution shrink in proportion..."


There is always room at the top!

Phil Fried

Wednesday, July 30, 2008, 2:10:40 PM

life after school
By philmusic - philmusic@aol.com

I'm not sure I'm getting this new thread right but,

America is a country (and I think the only one) where a career as a composer is not dependent on either academic standing or position.

Its true that many of my performances involve the academy indirectly; some of my best friends are professors and independent/non college performance spaces are comparatively few.

I won't tell tails out of school about tails within it. My own experience there was singular, but much of academic life at that time seemed to be about personal ambition and the luck of choosing or being chosen by the "right" team.

As a composer outside the academy the only pressure I feel is artistic.

Phil Fried

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NMB replies an I get a cudo
By: Philip Fried Date: Oct 22, 2009 - 06:43 PM


Did I leave someone out?
By philmusic

"we'd finally recover from the masterpiece syndrome... "

Frank I'm not sure about this idea--in this way. For example, Beethoven wasn't trying to corner the market, just doing the best he could--we all are.

Rather it's the; associates, the hangers on, the followers, the invested, the self interested, the power hungry, the gate keepers, the axe grinders, the know nothings, the smug, the self proclaimed, the Ad men, the Ad women, the profiteers, the teachers, the college professors, and the publicists, who draw a line in the sand and say art stops here.

Phil Fried, already included, but thanks for asking.

One of Phil's many pages

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nmb--Phil talks tough again...
By: Philip Fried Date: Oct 10, 2009 - 05:28 PM


I'll Say..
By philmusic

"The Biggest Disaster in the History of Art"

...Is the tendency of small minded people to aggressively assert their stupidity. Sad to say that includes musicians and gate keepers too.

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com no sonic prejudice

more than a flash of anger
By philmusic

Ah, I remember the days when in interviews pop bands related (probably on their publicist's orders) that if Mozart was alive to day he would be a member of "Hermans Hermits" etc etc... It seems now that a lot of folks believe it.

Music with intellectual content has been discarded in favor of the catchy tune as the social necessity of all music has changed, for example, the popularity of dance music over listening music, and the ubiquity of radio and popular music. Classical Radio follows suit in their programing of easy listening.

Its the cheapest form of hindsight to speculate on what Mozart's career would be today. I think a number of folks have commented on the failure of his career in his lifetime. I would assume that his experience today would be no different because oddly enough he was the cutting edge in his time.

Phil Fried, not so angry, PhilFried.com

PS to say that popular music ic based on Mozart leaves a whole lot of African Americans out of the loop.

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bloging on NMB again
By: Philip Fried Date: Oct 2, 2009 - 09:38 PM


truly said, and not just in church..
By philmusic

"..where mediocrity is actually something people are trying to achieve—and it is not being led necessarily by musicians, but by the politics..."

Music composition is an area where mediocrity is not only tolerated; its demanded.

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com


now that you mention it...
By philmusic

It is unfortunate that so much of our musical world is defined by marketers with products to sell. Statistics and polls are so easy to “color” for political purposes. A “box” is presented to us and we are forced to work within it no matter how uncongenial.

Sometimes one has to refuse.

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com



no sonic prejudice
By philmusic

Well if you believe that music can make you smarter, it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to believe that music can make you all sorts of things.

For others it’s not the music at all but the total package. In this case music becomes a fashion accessory for a look or an attitude. As the old “outlaw” attitude gets domesticated a new one comes along. This creates anxiety. Meanness has always been the other side of being “hip.” Anyway these looks and ideas are mostly created by corporate marketers to sell product. For most it’s a pose.

In any case every profession has its nuts and weirdoes.

Phil Fried, no sonic prejudice

an odd paradigm
By philmusic

Well you see folks have no problem with erotic music, as long there is no profanity, but folks have a big problem with erotic images.

On the other hand folks have no problem with violent images, yet seem have a big problem with violent music, profanity or not.

Combine them? Look out!

The thing is we are not really taking about music at all but about text. That is the words to songs, stories, scenarios etc.

Violence in words is another kettle of fish altogether.

Phil Fried, Phil Fried.com

Well sometimes...
By philmusic--Ralph is talking about something else here  " Music has everything to do with the interpretation of text." but sometimes its the other way around. He doesn't get I'm talking about a particular kind of music...

Ralph, you have a point especially with the examples you give. That said the relationship of text to music is, where there is a relationship, quite variable.

In the context of some popular (and other) music the exact same accompaniment can be used to set many many different texts. In that case, and there are quite a few, the only difference is the text, and perhaps the scansion to make it fit.

In those cases the music being generic is not crucial, the text being different is.

Perhaps you overlooked the fact that the music videos and their scenarios are text objects. In that case music can underscore a purely visual image (of course someone was needed to write the scene even if there is no dialog).

Anyway, the text/title/music relationship is a subject of infinite discussion which I doubt we will all agree.

Phil Fried PhilFried.com

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NMB well comments ya know
By: Philip Fried Date: Sep 24, 2009 - 04:16 PM


 I'm starting to feel that though they like my posts--they must think I'm a road hog

--it seems that it takes days before my posts are posted?

It is typical of language to reinvent itself every generation more so for
academic language.   It has been my observation that behind the jargon and
hair splitting is the very simple concepts of like and dislike.   There is
something else too.

Consider Hugo Leichtentritt defense of Schoenberg's music:  Its good
therefore tonal.
In response to Schenker, and his students, who said this about Schoenberg:
Its bad therefore not tonal.  Both schools of thought share the same
underlying tenant (paradigm) that tonality is the basis of a successful
composition.   So, it doesn't occur to either of them that they might both
be right as in; Its good therefore not tonal.

Many still maintain that "consonant" music is tonal and good and that
"dissonance" music is non tonal and bad.

The paradigm shift that non-tonal music is an marvelous entity all its own
and isn't really tonal is still not universally accepted.

Untill these details are hashed out expect imprecision.

Phil Fried, Phil Fried.com

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censored? by NMB?
By: Philip Fried Date: Sep 19, 2009 - 11:49 PM


I can't contact these folks any more--what is it?  my e-mails are returned???

 anyway Dan is starting to get on my nerves--thought its true I can be a hot head!!

"..I can't recommend youth and school orchestras enough as potential
collaborators for less-established composers hungry for experience."

I like your posts.  Really I do.  Its just that here I think your tone
seems directed at a classroom of the select few rather than the many
thousands who might read these posts. The fact you have been commissioned 4
times in this area is a marvelous thing but I wonder how many of us can
duplicate it. 

Yes I know that visualization can be the key to success, but
there are many different kinds of success aren't there?

Of course you have to tell the truth. Its just a matter of tone.
Actually if I have a bone to pick about this it has mostly been with the
posts of the performers, whom seem blithely unaware that, most likely, they will
never perform our music.

The assumption that we are all fans and not supplicants.  

Stymied at that.

 Phil Fried, philfried.com,who swears hes not bitter

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NMB replies
By: Philip Fried Date: Sep 2, 2009 - 05:09 PM


The difference between "people" and "objects" seems pretty obvious doesn't it?  Yet when you have an axe to grind such niceties hardly matter....mclaren is one of those people, also I get boored with the one monolithic answer to everything ie the dissertation approach...

Good for the goose
By philmusic

"..Contemporary composers ...can write rhythms for small ensembles which are impossible for large orchestras to play, due to "the lack of rehearsal time available" for the large orchestras and their "lack of familiarity" with the musical style involved.... "Classically trained symphony performers are completely unable to play such rhythms."

My experience with orchestral players might be different then yours but Mclaren, which is it? Are you saying that orchestral players can't do it or they could do it if they had the time, or that they have no interest in learning to perform it? Even if what you are implying is so, and its not, this wouldn't be a problem of the performers but rather a problem of performing institutions and entrepreneurship.

Three things on orchestration, which I kind of like doing.

1)on Broadway professional orchestrators are needed for the many issues that swamp a composer leaving them with no time to do anything but make changes in the master score; rehearsals, new songs intros etc.

Note: Just a short time working with Opera Bob, for only a 50 minuet program, showed me this was true. Even on the small scale the amount of time needed to cover all the artistic bases is just not there.

2) Many pop recordings do adhere to strict sonic profiles-which of course that can be the producers and engineers job. Some of these sonic profiles rightly have become famous and are widely imitated.

3) as too blame it on the Beatles, Jazz performers and the"signature song and sound" also operate as un-imatatable authentic sources and long before the Beatles too.

Phil Fried PhilFried.com, OperaBob.org

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NMB replies
By: Philip Fried Date: Jul 29, 2009 - 10:56 AM


 Mr A C D just doesn't get it.

right to the point
By philmusic

Understanding musical nomenclature is not the same as understanding musical art.

Phil Fried, Philfried.com. Operabob.org

By philmusic

You don't have to have perfect pitch to be able to identify a chord progression by sound alone.

You can play by ear and not have perfect pitch either.

In some cases its in fact easier to play by ear than to read the charts.

Phil Fried philfried.com,operabob.org

not really
By philmusic

"...But you do need perfect pitch to be able to notate the actual heard notes that make up that heard progression..."

I must disagree here.

In fact with a handy piano to refer to, and a handy playback on the recording, not to mention a means to notate, it is possible to find all the notes the keys etc.

I believe its called pitch matching and it only takes time.

Phil Fried Philfried.com, operaBob.org

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Phil blogging about RW's new opera in 3 sentances
By: Philip Fried Date: Jul 14, 2009 - 05:44 PM


 Oh my. Why does it take “bravery” to commission “classical music” from yet another unskilled glamorous pop star? Beside the fact that Mr. Wainwright is completely unknown to the “person in the street” the bigger question is; why do opera companies avoid commissioning trained composers?

Re: Jealousy, thy name is PhilMusic1000
[info]philmusic1000 wrote:
Wednesday, 15 July 2009 at 04:39 pm (UTC)
You misunderstand. I have no disregard for Mr. Wainwright only for the process by which he was commissioned. As for "back up" Manchester is welcome to commission me any time. Perhaps they would commission David Walliams, that's more likely, and I could appear as his stunt double?

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com OperaBob.org

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yet another 2 nmb replies
By: Philip Fried Date: Jul 1, 2009 - 05:50 PM


I always find the wrong questions asked here.  Anyway to make my point more plain if you don't take the gig they don't ever call you again It seems that folks hem and haw when it comes to K.G. Go figure.

on professionalism
By philmusic

Applying for grants awards etc, are part of a composers professional activities. There is an expectation that composers or any musician wanting to be professional will take part. This is tradition. So, it could be said that many musical folks, including composition teachers, expect their students to apply and some to win - greater the reflective glory for them, their school, and their institution.

What happens if you turn down an opportunity? What happens if you refuse awards? What happens to folks or students who are "unprofessional?" For whatever reason? It may be good. May be not.

The world goes on doesn't it?

Oh, there is one thing that bugs me about competitions--the style police and misleading advertising.

Many times I have applied for "music composition" grants that were judged by "sound artists." Since, oddly enough, I can apply in both categories but can only chose one this can be perplexing to say the least.

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com OperaBob.org


the enemy is us
By philmusic

Entry fees are not a global red flag. Where is this myth coming from?

Well June the American Composer Forum tells its members not to apply for such opportunities and I agree.

Kyle, I know a number of composers grants that are judged by panels that include folks other than composers, performers for example. Many times panels include administrators and gatekeepers. The NEA grants for example included professional types who were not even musicians.

Some panels may be made up of composers, but I would use that term loosely as I, nor anyone else, has ever heard of them. Nor will. Sorry June. Of course that doesn't mean anything.

[Of course there is a difference between being known and being qualified isn't there?]

Kyle the panel you described would be a nightmare for me. I would have had to resign.

Phil Fried, who talks big. Philfried.com operabob.org

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this week's NMB -short and sweet
By: Philip Fried Date: Jun 12, 2009 - 11:19 AM


Location, Location, Location
By philmusic

"..American Idol may be the most significant locus of study in the field of performance practice..."

Well, there goes the neighborhood.

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com



I go too far here but I must say that counterpoint is not a feature of a lot of recent American music--at least counterpoint that has real independence -for that reason the piano/solo instrument thought from Ms. Higdon has no resonace fo me.

empty toolchest?
By philmusic

"American music is vertical; European music is more linear/horizontal."

Generalizations tend to be wrong, but if this "is" so then its a training issue.

A linear approach to my mind means a mastery of counterpoint. Mastery of this technique is created by extensive study and use not by taking just a semester or two in college. The experience of the teacher also counts. How may American music composition programs require counterpoint as a core subject? I would think that the ones that do would show the results.

On the other hand, counterpoint as a musical technique is an intellectual approach to musical problems and as such is out of favor these days at least in the USA.

Am I suggesting that an inadequately trained composer could be successful even have their works demanded over better trained ones? Actually no. Talent will trump training.  We do tend to forget just how well trained folks like John Cage and Eric Satie were.

Rather I find that many American composers over-compose and add too much spoiling the beauty.

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com, Operabob.org

a shot in the dark
By philmusic

"..But you know Phil, the first thing that came to mind for me when I read that is free improvisation (very broad term there) which often relies heavily upon and generates some stunning results from a "vertical" approach to playing very much in the moment..."

My experience with free improvisation has lead me to believe that it is more linear than vertical, but point taken. It is easy to misunderstand when we all have a slightly or completely different view of what our terms mean.

Anyway I was referring specifically style-wise to music like British composer Bob Chilcott who's music sounds completely vertical to me.

Phil Fried,PhilFried.com, operabob.org

a small rewrite
By philmusic

"..On the other hand, counterpoint as a musical technique is an intellectual approach to musical problems and as such is out of favor these days."

When I first responded here I admit that I did not know who Mr. Chilcott was or what he composed and so I took his comments at face value. Now that I know I find his remarks bizarre.

To use my own case in a "popular style"

A Children's garden of Peace

Oh I am a string instrument player by the way.

Phil Fried, PhilFRied.com, operabob.org

final point
By philmusic

Its not easy to remember that though some of us live in music it is a world much larger than ourselves.

Phil Fried, hoping to avoid an international indecent.


Candor by Philmusic


Let's all stop blaming academia for our personal problems.

I would like to comment here I really would, but I'm afraid I have nothing nice to say.  Pthoege, I feel your pain but Academic insiders are Academic insiders no matter what style of music they offer.   Period.

Whatever my academic career was or was suppose to be I say this: There is not a single person I went to school with that I would have as a colleague. 

 So I don't.

 Phil Fried, PhilFried.com Operabob.org

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nmb review Eric Saltzman
By: Philip Fried Date: May 30, 2009 - 08:33 AM


This seems misnamed for me because the conversation here is not about audiences at all but about performance rituals. These rituals include the listeners as well as the performers, staging, etc. into its totality. Mr. Saltzman is an experienced musician/creator an I wonder whether he is staking out a position rather than providing insight.

For example though an audience will take part in, lets say, the performance rituals of grand opera, it is quite common for those same folks to take part in many other rituals connected to many other different kinds of entertainments. The "audience" is not a discrete entity. Also performance rituals for grand opera can vary from place to place, country to country, and even to a particular performance space.

Performance art may have rituals distinct from grand opera but rituals they are. Further the audience does not create these rituals rather the gate keepers do so by their expectations. One of the badges of membership into certain "crowds" (hipness for example) is the ability to know these differing expectations and to act accordingly.

One doesn't want to be a tourist.

The whole issue of "what an audience is" is not answered at all. This question can be explosive as it would reveal a secret--that audiences are made up of interested and disinterested folks.  This would also include professional and captive contingents. This includes those who attend from obligation and the quid pro quo. The captive audience is something not much mentioned and this is not just referring to papering the house either. Students are many times required to attended performances, as are grad students, colleges, frenemies you name it. more later


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nmb roundup
By: Philip Fried Date: May 29, 2009 - 11:00 AM


thought or action?
By philmusic

"..Thinking and worrying...worrying and thinking,..It's a vicious circle.." Victor/Victoria

Just grab the Tiger by the tail. It will be one wild ride.

Phil Fried, http://Philfried.com Worry free since...well who am I kidding?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 2:06:11 PM



 there is a sub text here-- one that has to do with power-you know how that bugs me.

presto chango
By philmusic

I've composed that way as well. Mostly I have composed directly into score-no changes. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I compose opera and vocal music - and also solo improvisation.

I know what your thinking --those changes at least in theatrical music will be forth coming!

Anyway, I have also composed by multi preliminary sketches that end up bearing no resemblance to the final composition at all.

Personal misdirection. -go figure!

Phil Fried, Skid Roe University, Free Beer!

Friday, May 22, 2009, 2:59:17 PM

Comments: 0   Edit
NMB less is more
By: Philip Fried Date: May 22, 2009 - 01:41 PM


 Well not too much--here again the the big fish eat the little fish--speaking of the nonbobs of negativity!

On the other hand...
By philmusic

"Nobody is in the repertoire."

Well. Then nobody's out of it either.

Even us nobodies.

Phil Fried, PhilFried.com.

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school stuff
By: Philip Fried Date: May 2, 2009 - 02:48 PM

OK folks if you don't know by now my employer SPPS has decided to cut 10 band positions in the elementary area.  So I have this site:  http://keepinstrumentalmusicinsaintpaul.blogspot.com/

 I have also been dealing with various problems about being an activist. Needless to say that cutting jobs can bring out the best and the worst in people.

Everyone has worked hard to get the word out --this hard work got our cuts reduced by about half.  This means a single teacher will work 5 programs in 5 schools in 5 days 1 school per day. We offered to consult on any restructuring of the instrumental programs and the district agreed.

 We are now at phase 2 -- what to do next?

   1. Do we work with the district, or not?  We offered too.
   2. How do we continue to press job reinstatements?

The biggest difficulty is this that those with the least to lose, that is the oldest veterans with complete job security, do nothing, or stir the pot of fear, grandstand, and bad mouth,    Yet when the time comes for tough decisions --disappear.  Venting anger does not move a process forward.   

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thi9s week NMB
By: Philip Fried Date: Apr 16, 2009 - 09:43 PM


Me being bad

a old story
By philmusic

Oh, is there not one maiden breast

Which does not feel the moral beauty

Of making worldly interest

Subordinate to sense of duty?

W.S. Gilbert

Sometimes the way of the gossip is paved with good intentions?

What of Loyalty?


What of the good ole Quid pro quo?

Being a member of a particular team may also mean towing the party line, at least in public. Perhaps in America, being a larger country, this is less intense. Well perhaps. Anyway there is a price to pay when you join a team, and an even higher one if you don't.

Phil Fried Phil's composition page

the best of all possible worlds
By philmusic

"...Personally, I think we American composers have to remain as independent and apolitical as possible. Our forefathers are Ives and Nancarrow (et al)..."

Matt, Mr. Nacarrow fought in the Spanish Civil War as a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and lived in Mexico because of his dedication to communism.

I'm afraid some political and life choices have to be made and these do have consequences even for Americans.

Phil Fried

Thursday, April 09, 2009, 11:03:41 PM

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keep elementary instrumental music in the saint paul public schools
By: Philip Fried Date: Apr 3, 2009 - 11:03 AM

 If my posts seem thin its because most of my time is now spent on this:



 These links do work just click the title when you get there!

Wish me luck folks--as I am one of the teachers who might get cut.

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nmb-not too much check my other blog
By: Philip Fried Date: Mar 27, 2009 - 06:37 PM


 I'm starting to notice synergy in the topics and posts hmmmm? stay tuned

reverse engineering
By philmusic

Frank I read this post twice to see if I could add anything of interest. Perhaps its this:

  A solo work might have all the gestural elements that any work might have. Bach used polyphonic melody to great effect and thats a difficult technique to master in any (or at any) age. We can now use visual/theatrical techniques in solo works the possibilities are daunting if you think about it.

As an improviser/composer I create solo works by the bag full.

It's just that I don't think about it.

Phil Fried

check my philfried.blogspot.com blog for more pressing matters


now that you mention it.
By philmusic

The biggest thing I felt I had to keep in mind was that the players have to be won over in order for the audience to be won over.

Good point Colin--the players are the audience.

Phil Fried, Philfried.com

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not much here from NMB check my web page for Vida!!!
By: Philip Fried Date: Mar 13, 2009 - 06:26 PM


I shouldn't have done it you know its just that MP is sooooo smug about his lack of experiance, as if its a good thing.  Lets just hope he never has health issues, personal issues, financial issues, or work issues, that might interfear with composing every day.  Oh and did he mention his teacher again?

 as for cherry picking please-- I could have picked Duparc, Varese, Webern, and many others.

Behind door number one...
By philmusic

"...Therefore, young composers should be encouraged to learn how to write as much as possible..."

Well you've got Sri Chimnoy, on one hand and Mahler, who mostly composed in the summers, on the other.

Tough choice huh?

Phil Fried, check his blog on blogspot for a related topic.

you can cherry pick your friends
By philmusic

Its interesting that you did not chose Telemann, or Gretry as your example.

The point is quantity does not guarantee quality.

Phil Fried

Check out my Vids! on youtube and at


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even less NMB this week-check my other blog
By: Philip Fried Date: Mar 7, 2009 - 06:26 PM

 I suppose I thought myself above the fray this week what with the SPPS wanting to elimiate 19.5 band positions, mine included, I did not care to speak of a self serving wish list--number one keep my job teaching music to children etc etc etc.


not everywhere
By philmusic

Its interesting that in Opera mostly you can applaud after every aria, duet etc. There are some exceptions of course, later Wagner for example, and certain theaters.

Phil Fried

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nota loita NMB this week
By: Philip Fried Date: Feb 20, 2009 - 02:03 PM


 the alleged lisa is being bad again...

 now that you mention it...

By philmusic

".. the fact that our government wastes tons of money on foolish and evil projects is not a strong argument to throw crumbs around to anyone who asks. .."

Or throw stones either.

Phil Fried



By philmusic

"..Last time I checked, being "weird" is a pretty important thing when it comes to art. .."

Style is a great thing. Content is better.

Phil Fried, no sonic prejudice.

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more NMB
By: Philip Fried Date: Feb 13, 2009 - 04:31 PM


"...and it's true that sitting one out on the bench doesn't tank your
carreer...writing some lame, half-assed sketch of a piece does..."

I'm not so sure about that.  Among the many composers I know - getting the "job"  and
keeping it comes before all other considerations.

This is the professional mindset and not to be confused with artistic judgements.

This does not imply that successful composers are making artistic compromises for that commercial
success.  We have had these discussions before its just that some composers
have a knack for the pulse of now.  More power to them. <br><br>
Yet, if one allows for the many opinions composers have for each others
work, not just their own,  the very opposite is true.  To paraphrase a well
know composer -

Not only is 3rd rate composition tolerated-its demanded.

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Back from NY more NMB roundups.
By: Philip Fried Date: Feb 6, 2009 - 07:23 PM

It seems that its the same converstaions again and again folks pretending to have opinions being "bad" saying dumb and dunber thnngs so I get w-ell you'll see:


By philmusic

"...A charge that was raised herein, and one which frequently gets raised by folks who are anti-modernist, is that modernism engages in a willful obfuscation with the audience..."










credit swap

Am I getting warm?

Phil Fried

Monday, February 02, 2009, 7:50:59 PM

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NYC performances!! not much NMB
By: Philip Fried Date: Jan 16, 2009 - 05:29 PM

 Phil's NY performances

Music on MacDougal
Music/Arts - Concert
Time and PlaceDate:   
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
8:00pm - 10:00pm
Players Theatre
115 MacDougal St.
Contact InfoPhone:   


Event InfoHost:   
Music/Arts - Concert
Time and PlaceDate:   
Friday, January 30, 2009
8:30pm - 9:30pm
roulette intermedia
20 Greene Street (between Canal and Grand Streets).
East New York, NY
View Map
Contact InfoPhone:   



Phil's term for newly composed short term disposable opera:




 A little levity:

On the other hand...
By philmusic

"..What if my treble dial has fallen off for good?.."

As some of us know Colin, Its all about the bass!

Phil Fried Phil Fried

Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 10:58:29 AM



a thought or 2
By philmusic

Frank, you cover a lot of ground on this one so I will give my answers in reverse.

As a listener I believe in no sonic prejudice, that does not mean that I like everything I hear. Rather I try to experience each work on its own and as openly as I can. Easy for me as I have no team to support. (For me its not serial composers right or wrong.)


Most composers I know have a positive attitude in spite of the many rejections prevalent in our business.

It must be remembered that Pollyanna was not a "ninni" but a survivor. Yes a positive attitude is a good thing, then again, so is talent.

Phil Fried

Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 7:09:29 PM



Phil's patented operatic resume stuffer
By philmusic
Colin: I composed an opera titled:

Leading Opera houses in the United States and Europe.

This work has two singing parts:

Major Roles and Prima Donna

So If you perform my work you can add to your resume:

Performed Major Roles in Leading Opera houses in the United States and Europe.

Or the Prima Donna in Leading Opera houses in the United States and Europe.

Phil Fried

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reply to Edward Ortiz
By: Philip Fried Date: Jan 8, 2009 - 11:41 AM


Something about this article rubbed me the wrong way. Not the ideas because clearly grand opera and chamber opera are different genres that need different approaches.

The subject of New Music Theatre, though not mentioned, is fair to avoid in this context.

 Its not the facts eaither.  It is reasonable to assume that recent music might be more expensive than warhorses.  Though with all the variables of an opera production the figure of 4 times the cost for a new work (verses a new production of an old one for example )seems a little, well, suspect. One is reminded of the Vinyl shortage of the 1970 as a reason for the lack of new album releases.

What bugs me is this; the implicit acceptance of the operatic institutions and gate keepers as the nexus of the operatic art.  Composers at best come in as a poor third place and thats only when they create works that are an "easy sell."

Well include me out.

Phil Fried



a thought or 2
By philmusic

Frank, you cover a lot of ground on this one so I will give my answers in reverse.

As a listener I believe in no sonic prejudice, that does not mean that I like everything I hear. Rather I try to experience each work on its own and as openly as I can. Easy for me as I have no team to support. (For me its not serial composers right or wrong.)


Most composers I know have a positive attitude in spite of the many rejections prevalent in our business.

It must be remembered that Pollyanna was not a "ninni" but a survivor. Yes a positive attitude is a good thing, then again, so is talent.

Phil Fried

Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 7:09:29 PM



Phil's patented operatic resume stuffer
By philmusic

Colin: I composed an opera titled:

Leading Opera houses in the United States and Europe.

This work has two singing parts:

Major Roles and Prima Donna

So If you perform my work you can add to your resume:

Performed Major Roles in Leading Opera houses in the United States and Europe.

Or the Prima Donna in Leading Opera houses in the United States and Europe.

Phil Fried

Comments: 0   Edit
Doctor Atomic on TV
By: Philip Fried Date: Dec 29, 2008 - 10:09 PM

I suppose that I was disappointed in this work, yet not in the way that I expected--simply put I was bored.  In this work the music, character, and voice were subsidiary to the visual concept.

First --thank god for the pan and scan cameras and those close ups or this work is dead in the water. Also without the supertitles most text would not be understood.


   1. Unmotivated activity:

The elements of theater do not align-

Music does not reflect the text, the text avoids the story

--unmotivated stage business and staging, unmotivated text, unmotivated music.
Scene 2 almost works but why do the two Oppenheimer's suddenly start fighting?

there are no text or musical clues for this or any other dramatic occurrence.

The music gets intense-yet the text is placid -the text gets intense-the music ignores it.

   1. Orchestrally no obbligatos only accompaniments
   2. All the accompaniments are ostinotos
   3. constant syllabic text settings except for 2 notes at the end of every phrase, the women provide some relief, but not much as the melizmas are not on text but open vowel
   4. the vocal lines have the effect of a typewriter
   5. many vocal parts don't seem composed just improvised over the changes and in a hurry.
   6. -text high points are not also musical ones
   7.  odd text choices for musical high points at that.
   8. colorless meandering vocal lines, very similar, that all the characters use
   9. no duets, no real ensembles. 
  10. Though I appreciate the use of the concept I call "context" in -batter my heart -this almost works, like Les Miz works, because of the text and music repetitions -yet again this goes on way too long. Also the success could be due to the excellent performance (a la Les Miz) in spite of the composition. Also Batter my heart is a real poem. This helps.
  11. The chorus was impossible to understand
  12. Inexperienced text writers, who look to Rock Opera, rather then grand opera, for its models.
  13. instrumental composer composing theatrical vocal music again
  14. the vocal music is never reflected or imitated in the orchestra

   1. every story detail is expressed the same emotional level

   1. the seams of the work's construction are very visible

The instrumental segues are interesting but seem made up of modernistic "effects" and though they sonically provide contrast and underscoring they frame scenes that they are also divorced from.  Even here they the music is subservient to the set changes.

All this guilt about an event that according to many folks saved 500,000 American lives.  This work also avoids many interesting side issues such as racism, or the Japanese experience within the work. The tack on at the end, with no emotion (irony), suggests that this is opera for the art crowd not for musicians.

The most important theatrical moment, the end,  is not musical.

Other important theatrical musical moments are instrumental and not sung.

When there is music it does not explain the characters and the characters do not interact except as a staging device. 

I think we have to look at what it takes to get a new opera done at the Met, or anywhere else for that matter. I wish I could say that the standard is high.  This seems like an opera it just has no core. Perhaps the use of the term avant garde is just an excuse to sweep the dramatic failings under the rug-or perphaps this work is the true representation of its generations feelings.  No feelings at all.

I'm afraid that only those who have a knack for getting high profile performances are the ones who can get an opera performed these days. Believing that skill as a vocal composers would be a factor in this is naive. Sigh. The Met was willing to use a director that had no opera experience.  So why not a composer? Repeating the same mistakes each time does not equal experience.

One doesn't have to wonder at the critics positive reviews to this work-- its their schadenfreude at the impotence of the Modernist composers to get anything like this on board themselves.--still Berg and Schoenberg are in the opera repertory.This is spite of Mr. Adams positioned himself as the antidote to modernism. Actually there is much in common with this work and Mr. Carter's recent opera. Still, in Carter the music comes first.

The styles have changed and new gods are worshiped.

Oddly this work takes the musical delicatessen approach.

One is perhaps a little shocked that since the "met" has traditionally performed 3rd rate new music in its time, that this and other recent works are not included in this category.  Why?  Snob appeal perhaps? Fear of missing the boat?  Professionalism is a given at the Met in all production areas but composition is something else again. Composers are not in house.

Why do so many folks who claim to be "outsiders" need to look up to an obvious insider as a "leader?"  Outsiders can't get performed at the Met.  It was bad enough when Boulez pretended to be the inside outsider.  I still like his music. I can't say the same thing for Mr. Adams.

Music- D+

Character -F

Voice (vocal writing -- not the singing) - F

Extra Credit: direction, performances, costumes, sets, A+

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MN Orchestra blog reply
By: Philip Fried Date: Mar 5, 2010 - 06:55 PM


    I remember when "they," the experts, said that rock music caused juvenile delinquency. Further, I also remember Deep Purple being mentioned by the Guinness book of records as "the worlds loudest band."

    I suppose going deaf is a small price to pay to for clarity.

    Phil Fried, No Sonic Prejudice!
    March 3, 2010 10:02 PM

    Pessimistic? My foot!
    By philmusic

    Well as a Serial Composer nothing brightens my day like the fresh natural taste of squirrel.

    My Fav's

    Phil Fried, relatively happy since 1988!

    Phil's not very Vegan Page

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 12:18:13 AM

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