Friday, March 23, 2012
WIT: on CONTEMPORARY COMPOSERS
For many years, the Hartt School sponsored the Institute for Contemporary American Music (ICAM), bringing to campus legendary, great and near great composers. Among the many who shared their gifts with students were Aaron Copland, William Schuman, George Crumb, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter and Carlisle Floyd.
Marijosius, who championed the works of some of these modern masters (and many others) had choice words when faced with new music that looked better on the page than it sounded to the ear:
"This is not so much contemporary music as just temporary..."
or this about a celebrated guest who could answer questions in perfectly formed paragraphs, but whose music was, well...
"He is a composer more brilliant like talented."
or this, when examining a new score by a composer more interested in complexity than communication:
"He writes music with a rhythmical ruler."
And when a Hartt graduate composition major, within earshot of the Maestro, dared to deride Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols for being so popular, VM turned, smiled and said, but with the sweetest sarcasm:
"In your whole life may you write even one such a "popular" piece."