Monthly Archives: May 2011

Kushner, Communism, Serialism, and Obsolescence

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Tony Kushner is not and has never been a member of the serialist party.

Tony Kushner’s epic play The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures (currently playing at the Public Theater) is a hyper intellectualized allegory disguised as a family drama about a clan of hyper-intellectuals. The action centers around the patriarch, Gus, a lifetime communist who has lived long enough to see his very ideology, the key tenets of his existence, the very fiber of his being fall squarely on the wrong side of history. What does one do when the system you’ve dedicated your life’s work to has been utterly repudiated? For Gus, unwilling to concede his beliefs as flawed, and uninterested in continuing a futile struggle, the answer appears to be an honorable suicide.

At first blush, this is a scenario that few audience members are likely to find applicable to their lives. In this post cold war era, the notion of a staunch communist is a quaint anachronism. For the modern audience, it’s just too easy to dismiss Gus’s ideals as wrongheaded. But what if it wasn’t so clear? What if Gus’s passions weren’t for an idea that was unpopular but not (yet) universally disregarded. Something likeā€¦ contemporary chamber music?Continue Reading

2 Responses to Kushner, Communism, Serialism, and Obsolescence

  1. I too feel more alienated from popular culture with each passing day. Maybe I’m getting old. In any case, there’s plenty of unpopular culture out there. More of it every day, in fact. I already have enough CDs to last a lifetime, and new ones are being released faster than anybody could listen to them. As the world changes, some people lose out. I mostly think, though, that people who really like classical music aren’t among them.

    • Brian Rosen says:

      Agreed. But people who like to compose serial music and then have their pieces performed by large ensembles may be. Maybe.

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Brilliant? According to whom?

Early on in the week, based upon a few tweets from chambermusiciantoday and Sequenza21, I checked out Elodie Lauten’s ‘new’ opera The Death of Don Juan (apparently it originated in the 80s, but this is the first staging and it was radically overhauled). The timing was right, I was going to be in the neighborhood,Continue ReadingContinue Reading

One Response to Brilliant? According to whom?

  1. I couldn’t agree more and since I cannot express it any better than you have, I’ll leave it at that. Just taking this opportunity to tell you how much I admire and enjoy your writing style Brian! Keep the posts coming!

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String Quartet video is up

The last bit of video from the concert has been posted. Liana, Stephanie, Evan, and Lucas did a great job with the quartet and I’ll be forever grateful to Mark Casey for finding them last year. The quartet got a great response at the concert and is consistently the piece that people have singled outContinue Reading

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Video from Alice is now available

The video excerpts from Alice are finally up. We’ve got the Chamber of Doors, Lullaby, and The Mad Tea Party (complete with me in mouse ears and whiskers.) This is more showtune-y than more recent stuff, but sometimes that’s just how I roll.

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Videos are coming in

After more wrestling with iMovie than I expected (why are video codecs so ridiculously convoluted. What year is this?) I’m starting to post video from last month’s concert on the webs. I’m starting out with the big premiere of poems set to music, or at least the poems that are in the public domain, sinceContinue Reading

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TONIGHT! Cypress String Quartet Calls. Jeffery Cotton Responds

Those of you who went to my recital last month (and also read the program notes) know that one of the primary inspirations for composing my string quartet came from my friendship with Cecily Ward from the Cypress String Quartet. The Cypress is unique in their commitment to the existing repertoire while providing a steadyContinue Reading

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Composer, emerge thyself!

Now that the smoke has cleared after last weekend’s ginormous recital/premiere extravaganza, it’s time to pop out of the foxhole and see what the past five months of preparation has wrought. It was a big project. Self produce an evening long concert of new music, all written by myself. It seemed like the entrepreneurial thingContinue ReadingContinue Reading

2 Responses to Composer, emerge thyself!

  1. Becky says:

    Wish I could have been there to see and hear your work Brian. I would have loved to hear what you have been working on. It sounds to me like it was a spectacular success! Your out of pocket was tiny and as for the hours…that’s what it takes to do what you want to do…it is all part of the package.

    Do you have any of the recordings and or video you could post online? Certainly not as good as being in the room and filling all of the senses but a good second.

    Glad you are playing out your dream. It takes guts. But of course you live with a woman who is smart and has a lot of guts.

    Becky

    • Brian Rosen says:

      Thanks Becky. If you go to the “Listen” section of the blog, there are a series of videos from the concert. You can also find them on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/user/brianmrosen

      Hmm… if you’re interested in hearing the music and didn’t know where to look, I clearly need to do some redesigning of this website…

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