Wednesday, February 05, 2003


While you have to register to see Lou Harrison's obituary in the 'New York Times' (below, 70.2), the ones by Bret Johnson and Neil Sorrell in today's 'Guardian' are there for all to read. It rightly acknowledges that Harrison was a man whose musical passions were immensely respectful of different influences - from Cage to Eastern -- but were beholden to no rigid ideology; indeed they were marked by a sense of responsible play, as well as by idiosyncratic inventiveness. His compositions came in many forms: modal, dedacaphonic, conceptual, 'American gamelan', and so on. Thanks to Harrison many more learned of Ives, Ruggles and Xenaxis. I predict that in the near future he will be a far larger figure in the history of artful twentieth century music than he seems now.

On a different note and a different passing, the pungent Rod Liddle writes: [Maurice Gibb's] .. death has diminished me big time each day for the past couple of weeks. Whenerver you turn on the radio, or the television, or walk into a pub, some castrato valedictory disco hymn by the eponymous brothers will be blaring out at you... I have nothing personal against Maurice .. I just hate his music. That insipid falsetto jabbering and the vapid white-boy beat and the inane words and the great lumpen tunes [are] as saccharine and clying as a family-sized bar of cheap English chocolate.

Many of us have thought this; few have dared to articulate it.

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