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IN MEMORIAM IRNA PRIORE FAUX-AMIS: COMMUNICATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS CHRISTOPHER SHULTIS Old favorites one heartbeat ago. Look! Now they are leeches! —Herbert Brün, from composer’s note to Touch and Go.1 * * * The following essay began its life in 2009, thanks to an invitation by Dr. Irna Priore (to whom it is dedicated) as a replacement paper on a Society of Music Theory panel she organized on the topic of serialism. It was presented in much shorter form at the 2009 meeting in Montreal. Robert Morris was the moderator of that panel, and though it was presented at the conference without comment (it didn’t have much to do with serialism, instead it is about a rift between composers—some of whom wrote serially), Professor Morris, through email correspondence and a lengthy discussion after the panel, indicated his preference for the longer version. So when I was chosen to deliver UNM’s Annual Research 162 Perspectives of New Music Lecture the following spring, it was the longer version, titled “The Dialectics of Experimentalism,” that I presented. And when I was asked to give lectures during Cage’s Centennial year in 2012, having always preferred the comparison of one thing with another, dating all the way back to my earliest published work on John Cage, this essay (returning to the original title of “faux-amis” to distinguish between it and the research I am completing presently that will be published as a book titled The Dialectics of Experimentalism ) is what I used both at a Cage conference in Lublin, Poland and as part of the Cage Centennial Lecture Series at the Eastman School of Music. I’ve shared the essay with several colleagues, besides Morris already mentioned, and these include composers Konrad Boehmer, Thomas DeLio, and Stephanie Schweiger; musicologists and theorists Virginia Anderson, Amy Beal, Richard Hermann, David Bernstein, and Martin Iddon (whose excellent book New Music at Darmstadt, published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press, provides much detail on the history I discuss); and literary critics Jerzy Kutnik and Marjorie Perloff. Art critic and poet Jonathan Goodman provided much appreciated editorial assistance and thanks also to ethnomusicologist Steven Feld for his comments following my delivery of this in lecture form. None of them should be faulted for what I present here but all of them provided comments that were helpful as this essay took final shape. In fact, so much has been learned in the time since I first began writing that I’ve made a decision to keep the essay in its original form, as a piece of evidence, along with other essays I’ve published to be used as the material I will use to finish my book. These include my essay on John Cage and Norman O. Brown (“‘A Living Oxymoron ’: Norman O. Brown’s Criticism of John Cage,” Perspectives of New Music 44/2: 66–87), an essay also titled “The Dialectics of Experimentalism” where I first pair Cage and Boulez and extend that contrast to Brian Ferneyhough and Thomas DeLio (Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Contemporary Composer. Thomas Licata, ed. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2008, pp. 129–164), my chapter “Cage and Europe” as found in The Cambridge Companion to John Cage (David Nicholls, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 20–40), and finally a short essay, “Robert Morris and the Missing Middle,” recently published by Perspectives of New Music (52/2: 316–324) to honor Professor Morris and his work on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. This last essay is a beginning of what will complete the task at hand, where I look at Faux-Amis: Communication and its Discontents 163 composers whom I still regard as experimental but not fitting so neatly in the “control/co-existence” binary I use to distinguish between kinds of experimental work. This will be presented at the end of the book in a chapter titled “The Missing Middle.” Much like how I composed my first book, where I created a context of Ives/Emerson, Cage/Thoreau, Projectivists/Objectivists, in which I then placed my criticism of John Cage’s poetry and music, the context being what...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2325-7180
Print ISSN
0031-6016
Pages
pp. 161-183
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-01
Open Access
No
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