An article in the Financial Times Deutschland argues that most of what we call ‘avant garde’ art is actually behind the times, not leading them: Après-garde, not avant.
An interview with Charles Rosen on his receipt of the Musical America Annual Directory’s “instrumentalist of the year” award: A Reputation in Music Built As Much on Writing as Playing. Kaija Saariaho was selected as “composer of the year“.
The Boston Globe interviews Kurtág: The Purist. (Small correction – before heading to Paris in 1957, Kurtág wrote a fair bit of bombastic socialist realism of his own; see Beckles Willson, ‘Culture is a vast weapon, its artistic force is also strong’, Contemporary Music Review, xx/2–3 (2001), 3–37 for a survey of this period of Kurtág’s output.)
And although their hectoring tone is really irritating, I rather like the Howard Stern/Zs clips that Alex posted: Horse of a different color. You see, even as they’re throwing brickbats and insults at the Zs, Stern and crew unwittingly end up exposing some of the compositional steps that the band themselves will have worked through (with, of course, greater intelligence, inspiration, musicality, etc). Witness how long it takes to nail down who’s going to play what; what exactly it means to ‘play whatever you want’; should you be aiming for dissonance or consonance; and what about rhythm?; and who should start anyway? And isn’t playing something (easy) different from recreating it (hard)?