Or, The Rambler has a Second Mini-gripe at an American Composer in the Same Day.
Michael Gordon’s latest post on The Score, ‘What if I like your politics but don’t like your art?’, seems rather too simplistic to me. Gordon falls into the trap of equating the political with the explicitly political; he then, in a somewhat circular argument, accuses those who make explicitly political music of a dubious anti-intellectualism (“I am suspicious of music that wears its political message on its sleeve. I know in advance that the composer has chosen this idea of immediate acceptance over a more thoughtful and metaphysically deeper experience.”), while at the same time claiming that “There is no way to attach an intellectual meaning to a D-sharp.” Well there is, you just have to think a bit harder about it. Not D-sharps in general, but this particular one, played like this, right here, can be – some would in fact argue always is – politically charged. And as one commentor notes, Gordon’s avoidance of political responsibility in music, “I for one am not convinced that politics and music should mix”, is itself a political stance. It’s not, necessarily, spelt out in his notes (although to some extent it will be) but music, like politics, does live in a “world of tangible ideas and actions” (I mean, how is ‘sonata form’ a less tangible idea than ‘freedom’?).