Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dancing About Architecture

On Monday, Jonathan Gold became the first food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, but fellow LA Timesman Mark Swed, the venerable music critic, was one of the three finalists.

Swed is a huge fan of the Ojai Music Festival, as well he should be. He writes adoring reviews of the performances, while also making witty observations about the quirky community of Ojai. Congratulations on coming so close, and here's hoping next year is your year.

As a big fan of music, I am also a big fan of those who write about music, and who do it well. To say that it can't be done is a lazy cop-out that I do not accept. Here's one of my favorite bloggers, Neddie Jingo, dealing with that very subject:

"I loathe the often-cited maxim "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." It is absolute f---ing balderdash -- and a cowardly surrender. With the proper vocabulary, a great deal of careful thought, and a refusal to resort to distracting metaphor, music can be described and criticized accurately and well.

"I think there is such a thing as good music and bad music, and that these values exist outside my subjectivity. I believe that the more you know about the technical aspects of music, the more likely you are to possess the language to express criticism -- that is, describe exactly why a piece of music is good or bad. Quite a few -- indeed, probably all -- "my-band-rocks-your-band-sucks" arguments arise from pure inarticulacy and nothing more."

Here are some festival favorites, including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, this year's music director for the Ojai Music Festival, and Pierre Boulez, the great maestro himself, performing a piece by Olivier Messiaen, one of the world's greatest avant-garde composers:


Blogger Laurinda93023 said...

On this subject I agree with you completely. Writing about music can be as beautiful as the lyrics of a well written song. Music on many levels is the heart and breath of life. In the rhythm and pace of the world there is the background music of memories. plus if you've ever seen the Architecture of Gaudi (SP?)in Barcelona (for an example) it Dances!!!

4/30/2007 10:37 AM  

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