Music Composers Unite!
This discussion of MARK ANDRE has been posted in Honor of Lara Poe, Kristofer E., Bob Porter, Ingo Lee, Dave Dexter, Joseph Harry, H.S. Teoh, Greg B. Fredrick z, Rodney M and Ray. I wanted to thank all those who have participated in the discussion of Helmut Lachenmann. The recently posted composition, Divergence Quartet, by Lara Poe, helped me learn about several new aspects of modern string composition and contemporary classical music. Among other things, the Quartet inspired me to listen to and acquire more knowledge about Lachenmann, and now, Mark Andre, whom she mentioned. Mark Andre studied under Lachenmann (who was himself a student of Stockhausen), and the "spectralist," Gérard Grisey. The work linked to below may exemplify the developments we have been talking about in contemporary classical music. I think it may be highly significant, given that Mark Andre is said to be "one of the most sought after composers" during the current period. It's a composition for String Trio, with the score provided on the screen of the youtube video.
During the discussion of Lachenmann, some participants appeared to be detractors of his work, and others were either neutral or supportive. My questions here, about Mark Andre would be these: do people think this string trio represents some continuation of tendencies that have been developing because of, or since the time of, Bela Bartok? Which tendencies? Does Mark Andre's Trio "go beyond" the Quartets mentioned in the Lachenmann thread in some ways? Overall, does Mark Andre's Trio suggest something positive, negative, or neutral in the evolution of contemporary classical music? I am interested in all opinions. Judged purely on its own merits, what can be said about this String Trio, either critically or in its favor? Those are some of the questions that interest me. But people should feel free to comment on this thread about all aspects of Mark Andre's work, and about modern work in general.
Fredrick z said,
I hesitate to put words in Kristofer's mouth, since his are always more eloquent than mine. Therefore I will only ask what I would like to see; What is it that draws you to this composer or that? Do you think your attraction to this composer or that is somehow on a higher aesthetic plain than the attraction that another person may feel to a composer you do not esteem?
I want to thank you, Fredrick for that last question, which concisely, and with laser like precision, focuses on what may be the most crucial issue. What draws me to this or that composer is a complex matter, so I will not try to explain what has attracted to such a wide variety of composers as Scarlatti, Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Spohr, Dohnany, Janacek, Poulenc and Mark Andre. The arguments in their favor may be too numerous to list here.
But on the second question, I will say this much. It's not simply about attraction or a lack of attraction. Nor is it a simple matter of any one individual operating from the foundation of being on "a higher aesthetic plain" than this or that person. I don't think it is merely about the esteem that any individual might feel towards another composer, either. Honestly, I am not even sure how highly I "esteem" Lachenmann or Andre Mark. I am in the process of making my own determination, which will not be fixed in stone. That's why this thread is posed as a question. As it is, I esteem them at least highly enough, based on circumstantial, social, and musicological evidence, to entertain the idea that they very well may have some merit. It's not relevant to me that most musicologists will say a Bach partita is vastly superior to Lachenmann's String Quartet No. 1 or Mark Andre's Trio. It probably is. But that's not an argument against Lachenmann or Andre Mark. (If it were, then on that basis all music other than compositions written by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven might be thrown forever unto the trash heap, and dubbed 'garbage,' by those who favor such dismissals). Frankly, I am not sure if someone with Bach's genome, motivation, aesthetic education, and roughly the same musical training would produce "better music" today than Lachenmann and Mark Andre are.
In short, this what I am saying, or trying to do in this thread. I want to steer a course between (A) those who reserve only the very highest praise for works written in the tonality that reigned until 1900 or so in the West, and (B) those who assert there is no difference between the aesthetic value of the Bach partita and the sound of a truck load of string instruments dropped from a thousand feet, hitting the ground in front of Carnegie Hall. I think there is a mean between those two extremes. Such a view may not be demonstrable objectively, with the precision one uses in measuring sound frequencies. But it's not simply a "shot in the dark," either, or similar to an assertion that "chocolate is a better flavor than vanilla." [I might add, that I think that the judgment of most Composer Forum Members is better than that of a concussed bee, or a person with no musical training who could not tell the difference between a Haydn Symphony and a Greogorian Chant. If it were otherwise, I would be discussing this on the "Concussed Bee Forum."]