Sunday, September 30, 2007

B-sides and album filler: a path to musical taste

The vigilant Robert Gable at aworks pointed to a Tyler Cowen posting with a self-citation:

In the past most people didn't much like or listen to most of the music they bought, or in any case most of the value came from their very favorites. A relatively small percentage of our music purchases accounted for most of our listening pleasure. So if people can sample music in advance, and know in advance what they will like, music sales will plummet. This will be a sign of market efficiency, not market failure.

A neat observation -- in the age of singles and albums, a lot of b-sides and fillers were bought for their a-sides and favorite tracks, and a lot of this music was heard once and never again, if at all. But I think that Cowen is underestimating the benefits of this system. For one, while I think there is something to be said aesthetically for one-sided singles and an artist not being compelled to fill all the space on a disk, a number of consumers probably loathe buying empty space, so the filler created the illusion of purchasing more rather than less contributed to some sales. In all probability there were also cases in which opinions on which track was padding and which was the desired product differed, even canceling each other out, yet the sum of the two smaller pools may have yielded a net boost in sales (i.e. a Lennon and MacCartney joint album might have had a larger audience than a single author album). But more importantly, those -- for the listener -- capricious discoveries on b-sides and in album-filling tracks exposed the consumer to unfamiliar repertoire and were often were more important to the development of listening (and consumption) tastes than the track which drew the consumer to the disk in the first place. But here's my caveat: the capriciousness here (which I think was a really good thing in principle) was constrained by the control of the packaging and marketing people. I'm deeply suspicious of that, just as I'm deeply suspicious of those expert program scripts online that let you know "if you bought this, then you might like this". In fact, having "bought this", I might just not be inclined to buy more of the same.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I can't top that

Sometimes a bit of news comes by that is either a superb insiders' joke or just more unnecessary evidence of the unique capacity for cruelty possessed by our species.

The latest example came this morning with the news that Charles Wuorinen plans to make an opera from Annie Proulx's short story, Brokeback Mountain. I haven't read Proulx's story and haven't seen the film based upon it, but the idea of a romance between a couple of shepherds set to a Wuorinen score is one of those really bad ideas that you have to either learn to laugh off or accept in total despair.

This is, after all, the man who managed to take a lyrical, at times gentle, Salmon Rushdie text and all but club it -- like a defenseless baby harp seal -- to death with his insensitive and irrelevant score. Please, let it be a joke.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Contest time again

Yes, It's once again time to play Name the Next New Music Box Cover Person, our monthly feature competition. Each month -- as you know far too well -- the New Music Box, the internet organ of the American Music Cartel Center features a video interview with a new music personality (and sometimes a small gaggle of them). My guesses have had a bad track record and my wishes are even further off. Of late, there have been a conductor, members of a new music ensemble, and three composers, one prodigal junior composer, one great big senior composer, and one other composer cosily nestled in-between. Once again, I predict that the next interviewee will be a critic; by all rights, it ought to be our most senior active critic, Alan Rich (someone: do a serious video interview with Rich now -- the man's been places, heard music, including the first performance of the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra!) but -- it's the AMC, after all -- it's much more likely to be a New Yorker, so I'll guess Alex Ross, with a spanking brand new book out. What's your best guess -- no NMB insiders allowed -- the winner gets a gift certificate for a Buñueloni at the Cedar Tavern, should it ever reopen, and I'll throw in $4.48 into the unclaimed pot, carried over from last month's contest which had no winner, making it a grand total this month of $5.28. Once again, staff members and relations of the AMC are excluded from the competition. Entries must be received before midnight, GMT, on September 30th.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Letters to Renewable Music

Yes, we get letters, lots and lots of letters. Here are some answers to a few in this week's mailbag:

What do you make of the huge online controversy surround theorist "James Cook's" advocacy for the tonal theories of Peter Westergaard?

Sometimes epiphenomena are the better part of art.

Is Renewable Music just another typically male response to one of those mid-life crises?

No. My male mid-life crisis involves a Morgan motorcar (but I'd settle for a 'vette), becoming a licensed dirigible pilot, and spending too many Sundays at the race track. And a good deal of chiropractic work.

I'm a grad student in composition at _____ University. Do you advise applying for teaching jobs or moving to Europe and freelancing?

I most certainly do not advise. But call if you find work.

What's the next big thing in new music?

Mapping tonal lattices onto the surface of a hypertorus. New music for English brass bands, American drum corps, and Weissenborn koa wood lap steel guitars. Dance music so quiet you have to step on the off-beats. Spatial choral music for shopping malls.

Send your letters to djwolf(AT)snafu(DOT)de. All letters are published anonymously. In-kind and cash contributions to the D.J.Wolf midlife crisis fund are always welcome, but the car has really got to be maroon and silver.

Trees falling in vacant forests

If I'm not mistaken, there was a period of time -- in my university years -- in which the works of Webern fell off the face of the planet.

While Webern's pieces had never been played in concert with great frequency, in the post-war era there was an aura of excitement and importance about their performances, and this aura all but faded away in the late seventies. This was the late vinyl era (a time marked by the physical decline of the vinyl disk which often warped or separated into layers and quality control over pressings was absent) and the two recorded complete sets of the Webern Opera were allowed to go out of print, with return in cd format saved for a generation later. Moreover, the explosion of composerly and musicological interest in Webern had ended (save, of course, for some curious activity east of the Iron Curtain -- I'd give an eye tooth for a copy of the one volume Soviet (read: "pirated") edition of Webern's scores, and the Cholopowa/Cholopow 1984 study of Webern's life and works remains a superb book, even the small dose of obligatory marxist-leninist commentary has aquired its own aura of irrelevance: as soon as Webern became unfashionable in the west, it was safe to play -- or at least write about -- his music in the east).

But the era of radio silence around Webern passed soon enough. I think that it might have been the publication of Peter Staedlen's edition of the piano Variationen, Op. 27, in which Webern's penciled-in articulations, dynamics, and tempos appeared to superimpose a radical expressive rubato in all parameters, that caused the renewed interest. Or it could have been the recording of Webern's own Frankfurt performance of Schubert dance arrangements -- again in Wiener espressivo style - that encouraged a second glance. In any case, Webern was back, but a different Webern to the dry, pointillist Webern of the landmark Robert Craft recordings in the 1950's, a style -- however "authentic" it might have been -- which had inspired a generation of composers to go on to do interesting work of their own. The more current Webern style has already registered an impact on younger composers (and some rethinking by older composers) of its own.

Composers reputations inevitably ebb and peak, and -- especially in the case of notated scores which must be interpreted to be made into sounds -- ebbing is not always a loss but an opportunity for rediscovery. Without a doubt it can be personally difficult when a reputation fades during an artists lifetime, but I am certain that learning to move with the tides of fashion -- like Philip Johnson in architecture, to name a name outside of the music biz -- is ultimately a worse strategy than the consequent pursuit of ones own ideas, wherever they may lead.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From Prout to Grout

Scott Spiegelberg recently posted an obituary for a music theorist whose name I'd never encountered. The item caught my interest because Scott described the deceased as "the most wealthy music theorist in the United States", a description I'd never before seen attached to a music theorist. It turns out that this gent, Benward by name, was the co-author (with Marilyn Saker) of the best selling university level music textbook in the US, Music in Theory and Practice, the first volume of which, packaged with its companion CD, lists for $66.56 (which is still a goodly sum when exchanged for a hard currency) and is currently ranked #15,841 on the Amazon charts. Although volume 2 suffers a considerable drop in the Amazon rankings (down to #191,142), there was definitely some compensation for Benward in that another add-on product, a workbook for the first volume, for which he claims sole author credits, ranks #31,271, and lists at $34.38.

I am completely unfamiliar with the contents of these books, but the idea of expensive and widely used textbooks does invite some reflection. Textbooks in the states, even for a subject area as marginalized as music, can be big business, and I can't begrudge that. But I can begrudge the pricing system and can question the over-presence of best-sellers in the field. For introductory courses of mathematics and the natural sciences, there are usually a number of competing titles with subtle and not-so-subtle differences of approach. In music theory there is probably the greatest diversity of approach, although that diversity is probably connected more to the intended student audience (students in schools oriented towards more vernacular repertoire probably won't encounter Aldwell & Schachter's #34,944, $129.95 Schenkerian Harmony and Voice Leading) and within the directly competitive markets, books often adapt to trends (even Walter Piston's Boulangerie-style Harmony -- an academic standard in the past, but now reduced to #244,860 -- aquired some obligatory Shenkeriana of its own under the re-editing of Mark DeVoto) . In orchestration, there is probably the hottest competition, with titles by Adler (#23,566), Berlioz/Strauss (#94,929), Piston (#111,280), Rimsky-Kosakoff (#117,041), Blatter (#131,788), Kennan (#167,286) among those in contention, but, with perhaps the exception of the Piston, it's hard to detect any real diversity of approach. And in music appreciation (Machlis, in various editions) and western music history (Grout et al, #33,472) there are apparently unbeatable first placers. With the exception of the inexpensive reprints of the classic Berlioz and Rimsky texts, all of these are expensive textbooks.

(Let me put this in one bit of perspective: the most widely used harmony and counterpoint textbooks in German higher education are those of Diether de la Motte. They are sold in pocketbook-sized paperback editions, and cost about $20 each. (If you can read German, I highly recommend de la Motte's Kontrapunkt, a very practical book with a conversational tone, which never gets far away from what really happens in really great music.))

More critical than pricing and market position is, of course, the contents of these textbooks. There is a pronounced tendency of textbooks to become committee or even corporate efforts, and over time to bend to general and specific pressures and demands of the forces that decide to "adopt" one text over another. These corporate efforts tend to shy away from strong creative statements about their subject matters by individual artists or scholars. It's a real shame, methinks, because I do find myself turning back, time and again, to precisely those books which were written from the individual experience and voice of the author rather than a consensus opinion. The reluctance of institutions and teachers to let their students work with source materials in favor of such textbooks is a sad thing.

One last thing -- and this will date me, but who cares? -- I would really like to read a thorough deconstruction of Aldwell & Schachter or Grout et al -- to reveal the underlying music-theoretical/historical-ideological program underlying the text. What repertoire or techniques are being convertly pushed or denigrated by these texts?

Here's an old post listing some of my favorite books on composition & such.

I should have said something here about the advantages of having local traditions in music theory to go along with local traditions of music making; it is indeed a really cool thing that theories of harmony in Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna are so different from one another, with alternative terminologies and classifications and concerns. While individual traditions do often rigidify when they gain official status, I do think it's on the large healthy that at least there is this implicit competition between traditions. But that'd be another item, another day.

Missteps from a misspent youth

Just for fun, here's a pdf file of Old Baldy, the first of three marches written -- and never played -- during my first year in High School, a year in which it became clear that marching band and I could get along just fine without one another; my subsequent martial experiences have been negligible (my days as an ROTC instructor excepted, but that's another very strange story for another day). The piano reduction was made from the set of parts, without any further editing. Old Baldy, in case you're curious, is the familiar name for Southern California's Mt. San Antonio.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A mellow niche

I love learning about all the communities of like-minded musicians that spring up online, each sharing passions for an instrument or ensemble or repertoire outside of my own experience. The amount of expert knowledge in these areas is often very useful to a composer, and the excursions into unknown music -- of whatever quality or character -- is alway rewarding. Whether it's irish flutes or alto trombones, the q'in or the ryuteki, or the whole garden of contrabass instruments, there's some resource out there. For example, last night, while collating too many pieces of paper, I spent two hours listening to archived podcasts of the "Mellocast" -- just about everything you never knew about the mellophone & its relations. The mellophone's origins are a bit obscure, but it seem initially to have been an experiment in creating an alto range instrument (= about 6 1/2 feet of tubing, in Eb or F) to replace the French horn in marching bands (the Euphonium-like tenor horn plays the same role in many European brass band traditions). After many starts, restarts, steps and misteps (for example, the ill-fated "mellophonium" section in the Kenton band of the early 1960's) , the mellophone seems to have come into its own as the alto voice (and sometimes as a soloist) in Drum Corps (what used to be called Drum and Bugle Corps, a culture and aesthetic world unto itself) and, sometimes, as a solo instrument in jazz. The mellophone was initially cursed by bad intonation and uncertainty over the proper mouthpiece for the horn, which led to a great disparity in playing quality and the character of the instrument -- was it more horn-like or trumpet/cornet/flugelhorn-like? or more like a tiny euphonium? But for all that, the shape of the horn remains one of the most charming ever designed, and when the player, mouthpiece, and horn matchup, it has a distinctive and charming voice.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Was it good for you, too?

The prodigious Nico Muhly writes:

Anybody who has participated – no matter how minimally – in the anglican choral tradition will know the visceral delight of singing a descant or having a descant sung over one.

Mr. Muhly's blog is one of the rich handful written by colleagues which I really enjoy reading just as soon as a new item turns up in my Bloglines feed (other new music blogs I read are listed in the sidebar). These folks really enjoy making music and have such easy ways using words to convey that enjoyment that I suffer near-daily bouts of envy. Renewable Music will turn three in December, which is about 94 in blog years. With so much fine activity out there, if this blog then starts to slow down, or even expires, there will be plenty of places out there to get your daily fix of eccentric compositorial bloggage. But for the moment, I'm still in posession of a veritable cornucopia of topics for this blog, and even if it sometimes turns into sesquipadelian excess, never mind, you don't have to read the whole damn thing, just the juicy parts.

A Role Model

From the German Wikipedia article on the musicologist Hugo Riemann:

"Until 1905 [when, at the age of 56 he was finally appointed to a professorship], in order to support his family, Riemann, in addition to the small income from his lecturing, had to work as a private piano, voice, and theory teacher. [Earlier passages also refer to his activities as a conductor and composer]. In addition, there were countless and wide-reaching publications in the form of reviews, brief articles, glossaries, lexicon articles, music guides, arrangements, translations of the musicological works of other authors, and musical editions. It is impossible today to reconstruct the full extent of this quantitative enormous and unprecedented productivity. This was made possible by an 18-hour working day that began mornings at 4:00 and demanded a high amount of self-discipline from Riemann, forcing him into the role of an outsider with a distance from the everyday life which had denied him an academic career. Riemann compensated for this though an exacting historical study of his subject and, moreover, through his humorous sarcastic commentary and idiosyncrasies. For example, in 1898, Riemann published a fictitious medieval treatise complete with psesudo-scholarly commentary."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Landmarks (29)

Robert Schumann: Dichterliebe Op. 48 (1840) for voice and piano, texts from the Lyrisches Intermezzo of Heinrich Heine.

Dichter is poet and Dichtung is making poetry, but, at root, Dichtung means thickening, and Schumann does not simply set and accompany the poems gathered here but makes music which also comments and expands upon the poems, thickening the experience field around the poems, thickening the plot, as they say. In Dichterliebe, Schumann introduces into music the possibility of contradiction -- in this case, the music may contradict the surface meaning of the text, only to bring out the irony that everywhere underlays Heine's verse. The thickening here comes about from the play between surface and depth in the texts, in the conflicted relationship of the poems to both folk lyrical traditions and German literary romanticism -- with which, it must be added, Schumann very much identified --, in the contrast between simple and complex and convention and invention in the music (thus allowing, for example, folkish melodies to nestle into harmonically and texturally vanguard accompaniments) and, ultimately, in the distance between the music and the text. This, to paraphrase John Cage, is all about music and lyric becoming so intimate that they must yield one another enough space in order to maintain their individual characters and in the process charge and thicken the space in-between the two media.

Offhand, I can think of no music before, precious little after, and none better than Dichterliebe in which the prevailing trope is irony. There may also be irony in the simple achievement of this song cycle, or better yet, album: Schumann was the very model of the romantic German composer and the question of whether the ironic distance to the romantic that is so brilliantly transposed into the music was the result of conscious compositional design is unanswered.

(The score is online, here. It is an album, the direct ancestor of record albums and the sister of the Poesie Album, and it is worth playing, singing, and listening to the whole sequence, from the whistful beginning (Im wunderschönen Monat Mai) to the resolute final song (Die alten, bösen Lieder), with the flip side of the album occurring between the defiant Ich grolle nicht (which, if you'll pardon me, is the 19th century German equivalent of "My Way") and the heartbroken Und wüssten's die Blumen).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Windmills & Bagpipes

There's a neat story in (in German, of course) today about a company in Massachusetts, General Compression, which has developed a technique for windmills which, instead of driving a generator which has to turn off when the wind stops blowing, drives a compressor, which could then allow for the indefinite storage of pressurized air, thus eliminating the down time which has up til now reduced the effectiveness of windmills. The technology involved should be one familiar to all students of organology as well as fans of Celtic and Balkan music - it's exactly that used in bagpipes, in which air is held under pressure in a bladder, thus insuring a constant supply of wind to the pipes. Yet another example of music in the vanguard of technological advancement.

(I like the sound of the words windmills & bagpipes next to one another so much that I could not help but post this indulgent little item).

Landmarks (28)

Henry Brant: On the Nature of Things (After Lucretius) (1956)

Brant, 94 years old and still very much an active presence is perhaps our last direct connection back to the "ultra-modern" music of the early 20th century, which was silenced by the nationalism and realism (socialist, or otherwise; whatever realism was supposed to mean in music) that accompanied the Great Depression and Second World War. He was one of the youngest composers included in Henry Cowell's essay anthology American Composers on American Music.

Brant, an eminently practical musician, survived the eclipse of the ultra-modern era as a copyist, orchestrator, conductor, and performer (i.a. he was a virtuoso tin whistler) in radio, for Broadway stage, and for the films. Indeed, his high esteem as an orchestrator for films has continued well into recent years, with his work for the great film composer Alex North perhaps best known*, but -- if the imdb is to be believed -- Brant was not only responsible for orchestrating Virgil Thomson's two Pare Lorentz films -- The River and The Plough that Broke the Plains and the Pulitzer-prize winning score to Flaherty's Lousiana Story, he also assisted on the orchestration for Aaron Copland's score to The City. (Brant also worked, for decades, as a labor of love, on an orchestration of Ives' "Concord" Sonata. A good discussion about this is here.) The skills that Brant picked up doing commercial work, often in the most time-restricted circumstances, are skills that Brant has maintained throughout his career; in particular, he often introduces improvisation into scores in place of writing a part out in whole and, in advance of a major composition, he writes a "prose report" describing the project in enough detail to eliminate any anxieties that might enter during the composing process proper.

Brant is best-known, however, for his spatial works -- pieces in which the performing musicians and sound sources are strategically distributed through the performing space. Brant came to spatial music when he resumed writing in the musical spirit that had been cut short by the 1930's and 1940's, realizing that spatial separation was an ideal solution to projecting the kind of dissonant polyphony that he was after. He knew some significant earlier examples of spatial music -- Berlioz**, Gabrieli -- but it was in Ives, as especially the small gem The Unanswered Question, that he recognized the potential for space as a dimension for integrating and segregating streams of music.

On the Nature of Things shows Brant in an unusually gentle voice, and of his spatial works it requires only modest resources: strings, woodwind, a horn, a glockenspiel, placed alone or in groups discretely around the space of a conventional hall. A tone poem, lifted more-or-less intact from a work of operatic dimensions called The Grand Universal Circus, it is also unusual for Brandt -- who often revels in a more comic mode -- in the philosophical substance of its subject matter, a passage from Lucretius's ontological poem.

A recording of On the Nature of Things, by the Louisville Orchestra, issued in the 1950's is online here. It's a bit rough around the edges, with the spatial elements substantially flattened by the microphone; a new recording would be a fine thing. Incidentally, this is a piece I first encountered via a page of its score, published in Guillermo Espinoza's remarkable series Composers of the Americas/Compositores de las Americas. Brant's cheerful manuscript with its clear instructions for making the spatial placement work made a lasting impression.


*If I had another day in the week, I'd write a long post about the Brant-orchestrated North score to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was not used in the final cut.
** There are a couple of non-trivial connections between Brant and Berlioz. Berlioz played flute and flageolet, Brant plays flute and tin whistle, a cousin of the flageolet. Both practiced heterodox harmony and counterpoint. Berlioz and Brant explored the use of physical space in music and both were great orchestrators (which I intend as a real compliment), writing substantial texts on the subject. I have heard from Mr. Brant's assistant that his orchestration book, with the superb title Textures & Timbres, has just finished final edits this week and will be published next year by Carl Fischer.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Keeping up with the profligate

In April, I posted a short item about prolific composers of symphonies. At that time, I noted that the Finnish composer and conductor Leif Segerstam then held the record for most Symphonies by a living composer with 180 examples. I've just checked in with the Finnish Music Information Centre to learn that Maestro Segerstam is currently up to #185, which bears the title "Casting Broadly Thoughts or Shadows on left- or rightovers from pathcrossings in mental musical freewaysystems..." (which is a pretty good example of Segerstamian English). At his present rate of production, it would not be surprising if Segerstam eventually equals the reported achievement of the late US composer Rowan Taylor with 265 Symphonies, of which I have not heard one.

The bulk of Segerstam's symphonies apparently involve flexibly timed elements, and at least some of them are conductorless. His technique is usually described by words like romantic, expressionist, and stream of conscious. While the use of flexible elements may well contribute to the ease of his composing, they are still an real accomplishment and the fact that more than 100 have been performed is a significant accomplishment.

The Radical Music: Fragments of a Manifesto

Sounds articulate precise dimensions in physical space; musical sounds also articulate precise dimensions in social and private spaces.


Use the minimum of resources or means required. Less is often more.

Find the core question or idea in a work. Choose and use your materials to best frame that question or idea.

All musical ideas and all musical instruments (save the vibra-slap) are potentially useful. None is universally useful. (Save the vibra-slap, which is never useful.)

But having practiced the virtues of economy, allow yourself, from time to time, a bit of extravangance, some conspicuous production and consumption.


Go to extremes, in whichever parameter you use, including extremes of moderation.

Question parameters. A parameter is someone else's way of dividing up the aural experience. Explore the edges and boundaries of and between pitch and timbre and rhythm and dynamic and form. Explore and break boundaries between music and not-music.

Music, the physics of musical sound, the psychophysics of music, and the neuroscience of music are different concerns, each with its own territory and terminology. How might they relate? How might they not relate? What unique elements of cohesion does music bring to these disciplines and how can they extend the potential for new forms of musical activity?


Follow an idea in all its consequences. Find the end of a process or pattern. Push a system to its design capacity and then push beyond it.

However, if the consequences of a process are obvious, is it necessary to carry out the process in full?

Consider the possibility of multiple versions, or realizations, of a work. Or accept the first version and move on to the next work without looking (listening) back.

Break, subvert, or invert cause and effect.


Complexity can be defined in numerous ways. A universally applicable and acceptable definition of either "sufficient" or "over-" complexity is impossible. (To paraphrase Potter Stewart, you know it when you hear it). When people make and listen to music, one form or another of complexity is inevitable. Don't give it a second thought.

Every piece of music has an element of the improvisational, extemporaneous, accidental, capricious, prejudiced or arbitrary. Is a piece of music interesting because of this?


Experiment with scale, both the smallest, most local, and the grandest, most global, as well as the most anonymous quantities in-between.

Boredom is only a function of time, and a function with several variables.


Modest work done in a serious way, leavened with levity, can carry large ambitions.

History is both a playground and a minefield, and a composer writes and rewrites music history with reckless disregard for the difference between a playground and a minefield.


"You Two! We're at the end of the universe, eh. Right at the edge of knowledge itself. And you're busy... blogging!"

— The Doctor, Doctor Who, "Utopia"

Friday, September 14, 2007

It can get worse

This is really shocking: the arch-conservative archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Meisner, in the ceremony opening the new art museum in the former parish church of Columba said that: "There, where culture is separated from religion, uncoupled from honoring God, is where religion rigidifies into ritualism and culture degenerates." The word Meisner chose, entartet (degenerate) is precisely the word the Nazis used to describe prescribed modern art works, and was the title of the 1937 Munich exhibition organized by Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels -- including works by van Gogh, Chagall, Picasso, Beckmann, Kirchner, Matisse -- under the title Entartete Kunst. That phrase has stood, as the Spiegel puts it, for "one of the worst chapters in German history and for a catastrophic treatment of art and culture." Works deemed "degenerate" by the "Degenerate Art Commission" were banned from exhibition or sale and their artists were banned from teaching positions. Thousands of art works were publicly burned, and a select few were discretely sold by the Nazi state in Switzerland including Van Gogh's self-portrait. Works of modern literature and musical works, especially atonal music, were also banned and their authors livelihoods were similarly restricted.

Meisners choice of words represents a serious break in post-war German discourse about art and culture.

* The original text: "Dort, wo die Kultur vom Kultus, von der Gottesverehrung abgekoppelt wird, erstarrt der Kult im Ritualismus und die Kultur entartet."

Strangely beyond

I like to think that my tastes are broad, I like music which challenges my ideas about music (or whatever), and am generally tolerant, if not enthusiastic about the genuinely strange. Nevertheless, I still manage to get surprised from time to time by music (or whatever) that tickles or even goes beyond my threshold for the tolerable strange.

Camp, in particular, is a trope of strangeness which I usually can't handle in any art form, be it consumer appliance design, politics, tv, or serious music. I still can't figure out if the ur-campish filmmaker Jack Smith (Flaming Creatures) was an artist to esteem or not, even though he was a tremendously important example for my teacher La Monte Young. Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off following the adventures of the omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness definitely irritates my camp-tolerance threshold, saved only by its rather more rigorous adherence to the conventions of radio serial drama than the current Doctor Who series. In other words, the nostalgic and archaic form trumps the campish tone. The current Who series began well enough but descended into Panto-land with a finale straight out of a provincial production of Peter Pan: Do you believe in (fill in the blank)?

(Actually, there were a couple of moments in the first Torchwood season which were genuinely subtle -- Captain Jack's first big kiss is with none other than Captain Jack, and the female lead confessed her infidelity to her boyfriend, but only after having slipped him an amnesia pill).

The paintings of Graydon Parrish push the threshold as well. I have absolutely no doubt about his classical painting technique, which is astonishing, but his compositions are so heavy handed that I'm thrown into that strange emotional space between being moved and being moved to giggle out loud (viewers of his recent 9/11 memorial painting are handed a page with a complete guide spelling out each of the allegories, just one step above one of those copies of the Last Supper that used to tour around in wagons to County Fairs throughout the US heartland complete with sideshow-quality narration). And then there's the "classic cool" music of René Gruss -- coincidentally a favorite of Parrish's -- which is sort of a classic comic book version of how "classical music" is supposed -- in popular imagination -- to sound, carrying a number if not all of the clichéd surface features of classical-music-between-quote-marks but supported by absolutely none of the structural depth or wealth of detail, ambiguity, or interpretive space opened up by the best works of classical music. In particular, Gruss's sloppy voice leading reveals a lack of technique that puts him past the line of camp beyond redemption, a real contrast to Parrish whose technical virtuosity will always keep me curious about the next work.

And then there is the just plain strange, because it is just plain outside of my experience. I'm not at all sure what to make of the music of Cameron Bobro, a composer based in Slovenia. The works of Bobro which I've heard online have some features which are currently hot in Newmusicland -- they are mostly "art songs" to electronic accompaniment which he performs himself and his pieces use highly unusual tunings, both rational and irrational. But the character and topics of his music are unlike anything I've ever heard. His large bass voice is not what you expect from new music and I honestly have no idea what the songs are "about", but whatever the themes may be, Bobro seems to be very serious about them. So I teeter, unsure if this music is the most interesting thing since I discovered Tasmanian pepper berries or something I really don't want to deal with any further.

Your borderlines, I am sure, will vary from mine.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

On the Proper Care of Monuments

If we're to have societies, then societies have to have their monuments. Monuments are instances for memory, reflection, a bit of ego boosting, and more than a measure of awe to keep said boosted egos in check. The man-made Great Ohio Desert in D.F. Wallace's novel The Broom of the System is a perfect example of the awe-inspiring and ego-checking use of monuments in a coercive state. Even a minimal statist like Milton Friedman saw a role for the state in building and maintaining monuments. Yes, even with those ill-gained tax dollars!

I am somewhat less statist than that. If you ask me, the perfect monument would be a big piece of land in the middle of flat America, three or four of those empty quarter states, stripped of roads and towns and farms and re-populated by massive herds of Bison, roaming, stampeding, reproducing, and left alone to evolve without a bit of further human assistance. A definite instance for reflection, wonder, awe. Or this -- a real, existing example -- the Lightning Field of Walter De Maria, a one-mile-by-one-kilometer grid of lightning rods in the middle of the New Mexican Desert, a monument in which the artist produced not the artwork per se, but rather the frame, the means for making the art work articulate itself.

With musical monuments -- be they the Mozart g minor Quintet or Etenraku or the Blessing Way or Gadhung Mlathi (composed by the Javanese goddess of the South Sea Nyi Ratu Kidul) -- a real joy is that they are virtually indestructible. While they cannot exist without human intervention, no amount of intervention, interpretation, revision or rearrangement whether by individuals or institutions can permanently damage the work, for its ideal form is always out there to be recovered, if usually only in a glimpse or suggestion. Monumental and durable goods they be. Like Byron the Bulb in Gravity's Rainbow, the little lightbulb that would never burn out, these musical works are the ultimate resistors.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Without a plan

Began, several times, and then abandoned, plans for setting the Orpheus & Eurydice passage from Book 4 of Virgil's Georgics. Now I'm just starting at the beginning, writing a phrase at a time, without a plan. The opening phrase (...dulcis coniunx, te solo in litore secum...) is finished, for three high voices (SSA), with no small tension between the text and the music, as the text is given, and the music works according to an automism of its own. Which is okay, because I'm setting the text, its sounds, its rhythms, but not necessarily the narrative. Having done this little bit, it already seems clear that the last phrase -- with the name of Eurydice echoing on the river banks -- will also have those high voices. See: despite your best intentions, the outlines of a plan still emerge. I think that the next phrase, the entry into Hades (...alta ostia Ditis...), is for bass voice and harp. More plans.


Setting this Latin text is exciting because the language is so strange. The vocabulary is hard for me, very different from Church Latin. Metre is used with extreme subtlety; sentences stretch over lines, very sophisticated combinations of the two basic metric units conspire with the use of assonances to give passages a particular flow, which are then sometimes interrupted by sudden breaks in continuity. It's all so modern.

(For the curious, a PDF score of another Georgics setting, An Unearthing, is here.)


Here's a question for students of the history of late 20th century music marketing. The term "minimalism" emerged in the early '70s with composer-critic Tom Johnson specifically in connection with the music of composers like Alvin Lucier and, as "minimal music" in Michael Nyman's 1974 book Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond. These initial uses of the term referred, within the context of a larger experimental repertoire, to an attitude or approach to musical materials, specifically one in which materials were reduced to those most essential to the core idea of a work. (The term presumably was borrowed from its use in the visual arts, and the connections between artists and musicians thus evoked were -- and are -- legitimate ones, for example between Young and De Maria). By 1980 or so, the US composers most prominently associated with minimalism formed a quartet: Young, Riley, Glass, and Reich (see, for example, Wim Merton's book, American Minimal Music (Dutch edition 1980); but I was around at the time and the composition of this quartet was common knowledge). While musical activity that can usefully be described as minimalism was never coterminus with the output of this quartet, it would be fair to say that the most public discussion, indeed controversy, about minimalism, could be described by the field of proclivities, activities, connections, and differences marked by a square with these four gents at the corners.

However, at some point, the composition of the quartet changes. In publicity packages and -- subsequently -- in the mainstream press, the name La Monte Young no longer appears, and is replaced by that of John Adams. In roughly the same time period the major interests of Reich and Glass turn substantially towards music for larger forces, for ensembles other than their own touring groups, and away from a number of musical characteristics that were more comfortably associated with earlier definitions of minimalism, in particular attention to acoustical phenomena. The definition of "minimalism" when identified with the new quartet is, implicitly, one which invokes something about tonality and repetition. Further, These newer works by Glass and Reich could be easily fathomed alongside works for orchestra or opera by their younger colleague. I presume that Riley remained in the quartet by virtue of the perennial and aorchestral dimensions of In C, an unavoidable public landmark, as well as the fact that he continued to record commercially. Adams, to be clear, had previously written a number of works in a more experimental, and at times, "classically" minimal character (the elegant electronic studio-inspired "gates" and "loops" works especially), but these would not have elevated him into the quartet rather than any one of a number of his colleagues who were producing well-received works at the same time.

Okay, then, here's the question: When, and in which context, was the first recorded use in print of the later quartet formation?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Managing Abundance

One of the questions an ethnomusicologist will usually ask of an informant is "how many pieces do you know?" We can argue a bit about what exactly a piece is (is a symphony one or four or more pieces?) and we can argue about what it means to know a piece of music, but I've frequently encountered an answer of fifty pieces or thereabouts. Whether you're a native North American traditional singer, or a master Javanese gamelan player, or a member of the Julliard Quartet, the size of the repertoire over which you have command and control at any given moment is quite probably a number of this magnitude. The best Javanese musician or bar room piano player can wing their way through a much larger number of pieces, but I would contend that a lot of this is done by bricolage from similar or analogous bits and pieces from the repertoire that one active knows cold (i.e. hum, fake).

Growing up in middle class American in the end of the vinyl era, I can well recall the days in which a typical record collection would number a few dozen and a large record collection might have one hundred items, and "the record shelf" was literally one shelf wide. The disc you loved, you listened to often, wearing out needle and record, the mark of intensive listening, really knowing and loving a piece of music. But the days of such containment are far behind us, with enormous quantitative gains in both supply and demand. Consequently, we are now entering into the second generation of composers who could be characterized as enormous collectors and consumers of repertoire, with the not a few proudly identifying at least part of their musical identity -- if not achievement -- with the size and variety of their recording collections, which have expanded or mutated into successive media -- cassettes, cds, dvds, and various purely electronic formats of music storage. But the hours available to us to listen to that music have not likewise increased, and I daresay more recordings now get deleted, without ever being heard, than got worn out from over-playing.

I've never been quite sure how to deal with this phenomena. Personally, I've never competed in the record collection pissing competitions, not having had either the means nor the desire. I won't put on the poor mouth more than necessary, but how did those guys (and the composers here in question are inevitably male) afford those collections? Trust funds? Big allowances? Pot dealing? Shoplifting? My budget's always been limited and I'd always prefer to give out money for scores and concert tickets rather than recordings. Heck, I even prefer that my electronic music not come out of a record jacket or a jewel case (you know the old joke: electronic music is like sexual partners: best when live.)

However, beyond my own isolated (and possibly peculiar) situation, there is the real phenomenon of a numerically large and diverse repertoire forming the musical background for younger generations of conspicuously consuming musicians and listeners alike. We know very little about what this means, or can mean, both in the traditional terms of how well one may be said to know a music, or in the native terms of these new and alternative forms of musical contact. What, in other words, is musical identity in this age of musical abundance?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Chorus Line

I know next-to-nothing about Rugby (or Rugby Union to be precise), but I can't help being fascinated by the tradition of the New Zealand National team to do a haka (a Maori dance combining postures, slaps, vocalizations, grimaces, and occasional leaps) before each match. I also know next-to-nothing about traditional hakas, but if the purpose in the sporting context is to build and demonstrate team solidarity as well as to put fear into the minds of the opposing team, then I'd say that the haka is rather effective.

Kieran Healy of Crooked Timber has three video examples, demonstrating the development of the form over time. And here is an additional example, comparing and contrasting pre-match choreography from the NZ and Tongan teams.

Now, I'd like to see some orchestras develop pre-concert hakas. A little more team spirit is always good in the pit or on the stage and I don't know one conductor who wouldn't benefit from a bit of fear and humility in front of a terrifying band of grunting, shouting, dancing musicians.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More on Compression

I had a small post in June about my concerns with the overuse of compression in audio recording. Richard Friedman of All I Know^2 now points to an article in the Electrical Engineering Society's Spectrum magazine laying out this problem further, in short, the drive to record everything at a undifferentiated loud level and the equipment with which we listen to music is turning everything into undifferentiated noise.

(Money quote: This might be one of the biggest reasons why most people are completely unaware of the loss of dynamics in modern music. They are listening to songs in less-than-ideal environments on a constant basis.)

Contemplate, for a moment, the first images in this article, comparing a typical pop waveform from a generation ago with a contemporary example. I believe that the uniformly dense level of information contained in the contemporary example is a further illustration of my argument that "more is often less" in music. It's a bit like comparing Christian Wolff's Trio 1 with Milton Babbitt's Composition for Four Instruments: the uniform distribution of pitches, attacks, and rhythms in the Babbitt example creates a noisier environment than that of the Wolff, with its irregular distributions and lack of emphasis on the consumption of complete aggregates in each parameter. For all the insistence on the values of details in Babbitt's compositional thinking, the necessary end of the works in audition is one in which details are lost.

It may be argued that there are examples of radical music characterized by minimal materials that also display a uniform dynamic distribution; I can only counter that the best works of the sort use the minimal material state explicitly to compensate for this, in that the works are better framed for perception of details in whichever parameter the composer has chosen to focus his or her work.

One more thing: I am famously bad at predicting anything other than poker hands and thoroughbred race finishers, but doesn't this article suggest that if popular music producers wish to create a product that is more attractive to an audience through its lack of fatigue, they will have to start using sound environments that are more varied? Not completely varied, which would be equally if not more taxing on ears, but admitting a greater degree of differentiation.

BTW: I really like Bart Kosko's book NOISE, for an excellent introduction to the subject of physical noise in general and to its costs and benefits. Every musician ought to have two books on their shelves with that title (the other by Jacques Attali, part and parcel of 1985, but still very cool).

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Landmarks (27)

Carola Bauckholt: Kurbel und Wolke (1997) for orchestra.

An astonishingly orchestrated study in the continuity between noises bearing concrete associations and imagery, and the conventions of musical sounds, while traveling through all of the territory in-between, from the sounds of torn paper to marginal and extended instrumental techniques. The point of departure in Kurbel und Wolke (what a lovely, odd name: Crank and Cloud) was the sound of a creaking door and the piece extends through the entire field of associations and portents carried by that sound only to wrestle and nestle them all into a texture that is musically absolute.

It is inevitably noted that Bauckholt (*1959) was a student of Kagel's, and her work, to a degree, extends Kagel's practices in acoustical experiment and music theatre. But here, the theatre is a private affair, internal to the composer as well as the individual listener and any concrete narrative is soon lost to the continuity provided by the orchestral apparatus. It's as if you had thought you had been listening to the soundtrack to a suspense film and suddenly realized, with the shock of awakening, that you have been transported into a concert hall with all of those strange pieces of hardware which tradition has assembled for the making of music.

Thus, in Kurbel und Wolke, Bauckholt is able to begin in the world of familiar, even banal, sounds, compose a fantasy around those sounds, their perception, and their associations, and then, through their integration and translation into the instrumental texture, reveal an orchestra that is at once familar and new.

Exceeding melomania

Ben.H points to an excellent interview with Harry Mathews, a great and playful writer.

Mathews is also an improbable expat like myself and I owe him something: learning from Mathews that the right phrase is "in CIA" and not "in the CIA" has proven surprisingly useful in a critical moment or two.


Poet Ron Silliman has a sweet small essay on the "parsimony principle": " Is there any dynamic in the construction of meaning more powerful (...) ?"

Personally, I've never been able to settle on one economic regime in my work. A minimum of means or effort has its attractions, its elegance. Often a laconic expression does more that an encyclopedic one, in that it frames or zeros-in on the core of the idea, but it can also be left open to fields of connections, including the tentative, uncertain, and ambiguous. But there is also something to be said for the anti-parsimonious position. Is a life full of the constraints necessary for survival and considered restraint necessary for civility worth living if we can't, at least sometimes, splurge a little, luxuriate a little, exaggerate a little, indulge a little in excesses and revelry dionysic, if only in our dreams or our creative work?

This speaks, of course, to the public debate over minimalism as a musical category, and I'm increasingly convinced that radical music -- in the sense of a turn toward the roots of the musical experience, and which would include extremes of both parsimony and generosity -- is both the more interesting and the more useful term. Minimalism can be understood (heard) as one attitude towards materials within the radical music complex, an attitude connected to those of static, pattern, process, systems (etc.) musics, as well as to musics engaged with the physical and perceptual qualities of acoustical phenomena and, to some extent, with those musics engaged with the production of music as a social phenomenon.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Scenes from the Jury Room

Mid-fifties, well paunched, patched, and tweeded, T.R. Jackson removed his pipe with his right hand, knocking its contents into a piece of the Academy's house design Wedgwood, drew an apricot from his right hand vest pocket with two fingers of his left hand, dragging across his tie in a half-hearted cleaning gesture before popping it whole into the left corner of his mouth, that dark and greedy gap under the overgrowth on his upper lip, and then, not more than half-a-beat later, spit a perfectly polished fruit pit out of his mouth's right corner, stylishly (his word, not mine) letting it land in the saucer which accompanied the bone porcelain cup now containing the remains of his four p.m. smoke.

"Boys," proposed Jackson, "we can spend another hour, we can spend the whole evening, and we're not going to be any wiser for it. I say we take the short list of six, each of us throws out one and keeps one other, that leaves three, and we'll draw straws for first, second, and third. We'll be done, I can catch my train and won't have to TIVO tonights episode of Deadwood. I've got classes in the morning and we're doing our own juries in the afternoon."

Harry Ellis, his well-loved colleague, nodded in agreement.

The youngest member of the judicial trio was a former prize winner himself. Jason Wheel Ferris had, in fact won three times in a row, the record, and he took no trouble in hiding the fact that his interest in maintaining the prestige and seriousness of the competition was also a self-interest. "I say we take one more run together through the short list. If we see anything we missed on the first time through, then we'll give it a second prize. There just isn't anything in this bunch worth a first."

"We've always given a first," protested Harry Ellis, "our prize has stood up to every twist and trend for over sixty years. Not giving a first is like waving a white flag: Irrelevant! Irrelevant! There is nothing worse than irrelevance, James."

"It's Jason, Mr. Ellis."

"Irrelevance, kid" replied Ellis with certainty of a senior composer who had long past from prodigious to leading to respected to emeritus, and now sat back in the Academy armchair, as cosy as a matress full of laurel leaves.

"Maestro, Harry, young Jason, let's get this done," intervened Jackson, whose left fore and middle fingers were beginning the process of gradually dislodging another apricot. "If there are no objections, I'm taking Roger's student and throwing out the piece with the electronic..."

"What do you mean, Roger's student?," interrupted the youngster. "These entries are anonymous."

"Roger let me know that one of his students was up for a tenure-track job in Texas, and he needed an extra line or two on the resume. So he told me to keep an eye out for 'Daphne Ashbrook'. That's the pseudonym. So, yes, I choose Daphne. He's my choice for the short-short list."

"I'm not sure that's right. I mean, we're not supposed to know who these people are..."

"Get off your high horse, Jerome..."

"It's Jason, Mr. Ellis."

"Irrelevance, kid. I've been watching out for you for years. Do you really think I couldn't see through your pseudonyms? 'Jerry Steele Parish.' 'Jennifer Love Paris.' 'Orenthal James Ferrett.' Give me a break, kid, making jokes about your pen names has been great sport for years."

"Listen to Harry, Jason. The play names are just play names. Some kids think that they can game the competition by just choosing the right pseudonym. At one point every white male comp student on the Eatern seaboard thought that they could game it by making the jury think they were a woman or a minority. The truth is, you can game the competition, but you have to do it the old-fashioned way, by loading the jury. You're on the jury now, Jason, are you loaded?"

"Okay, forget it." Ferris grabbed two scores from the short stack. "I drop this one and this one stays".

"Explain yourself, Jonathan."

"It's Jason..."

"Irrelevant. Explanation. Now."

"I'm throwing this one out because it's undernotated. The notes have no life without dynamics and articulations of their own. It's too slow, repeats itself. And it's a photocopy, 8 1/2 by 11."

"And the keeper?"

"I recognized the typeface. From Tanglewood. Julliard. Tim's a really good guy. Can play the piano. A real musician. Played one of my pieces at Merkin last Fall. He uses the most complicated systems, and they usually sound like... you know... nothing... but he puts so much work into his scores, makes his own fonts, binds his scores by hand with needle and thread..."


"Yes, Mr. Ellis."

"You may just have the makings of a real juror. If you behave well enough, we might even invite you back next year. "

"Now," Ellis continued, "if Mr. Jackson agrees, then I propose that your friend Timmy can have first place."

T.R. Jackson flipped his head back, simultaneously lowering his jaw enough to allow an apricot, flipped from the thumb out of his left fist, to land a pop fly. Half a beat later, the pit joined its predecessor on the Wedgwood. "Agreed, Mr. Ellis, but that boy Daphne gets second and Harry, you get to choose between Indiana and Yale. Who gets third place this year?"

"Got a quarter, Jeffrey? I say heads it's Boola Boola and tails it's a Hoosier."

Jackson smiled, with the happiness of a man knowing that the affairs of the music world had now been settled to his satisfaction and that he'd soon be back home in time for an evening of TV and beer.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Landmarks (26)

Giacinto Scelsi Okanagon (1968) per arpa, tam-tam e contrabbasso.

A work with a strongly authoritative voice usually implies the presence of a definite personality behind the voice. Scelsi did what he could to render that personality ephemeral. He avoided photographs and kept his biography largely to himself but for a pair of essentials -- he came from old Roman aristocracy, had a fascination with things mystical and oriental, had decisive, if brief encounters with dodecaphony and surrealism, suffered a failed love, and underwent a self-cure for his subsequent depression through the investigation of the sound-world inside a single tone. He preferred to be identified by simple graphic, a line under a circle, and, considering himself a conduit for his music rather than a composer per se, produced his works with the assistance of a few very accomplished hired musicians who transcribed and orchestrated his piano or ondioline improvisations. The amount of work which was shared has caused no small controversy, especially in a music culture obsessed with authoriy, yet Scelsi was largely using the resources available to him to make the works more efficiently, resources, I dare say, of which most of us would be jealous and would use similarly, if we had them avaiable. (For examples of other composers who composed with assistance, consider those of Lully, or the late Delius). But for all that obfuscation, the voice that emerges from most, if not all, of Scelsi's works is a distinctive one. None of Scelsi's collaborators produced work of similar character or sharing similar concerns under their own signature. One cannot but conclude that the degree of Scelsi's direction and editing in the process of producing a score was always substantial and, paradoxically, the voice from which Scelsi tried so hard to erase the aura of authority speaks as single and recognizeable. (Even more paradoxical was the noise which emerged in the 1980's against a so-called "Scelsi-Nono-Feldman cult", led by Ligeti, a man not shy to his own own brand of cultivation).

In another life, I'd fancy going to the Scelsi archives and trying to trace the evolution of the score to Okanagon from the original recorded improvisations with extremely different media into its finished form, and then to trace its evolution in the repertoire, as a work which has become marked by the development of a unique performance practice culture.

With its deliberative pacing and sharply punctuated continuity Okanagon has the character of a ritual music, yet it lacks concrete tonal landmarks and labored repetitions. But it is not a ritual , or at least not one belonging to a faith known to me, or perhaps to anyone. It has the linear drive of an improvisation, never really looking (listening) backwards, but instead from side-to-side, as the two string instruments articulate and reflect the resonances of the tam-tam, and the tam-tam does the same in return. I am certain that the process through which the score came to be is far less mysterious than that through which the final pieces coheres as a whole, even taking on something of a dramatic form, without, however, ever doing anything particularly dramatic.

Paying attention

Another easy-going Sunday morning: I read through an astonishing number of blog items and an equally astonishing number of webpages by composer colleagues, several of them previously unknown to me and many, if not most, of them are actively doing interesting work in areas different from my own interests. What a change from generations past! Back in the dim ages, a lot of new music was near-secret knowledge with scores and recordings handled as precious goods (I have near complete sets of Partch and Webern scores, copied by hand from libraries, back in the days when scores were hard to buy and expensive and even paper route money didn't go far with 25-cent-per-page photocopy machines). All the books about new music available in my local public libraries got worn out and memorized from multiple checkouts and readings. Same with all the recordings, from Louisville, Advance, CRI, Gate Five etc.. Journals about new music came and went, were hard to subscribe to, and then disappeared from library archives (Source, Soundings, Ear (West and East), Xenharmonikon, Interval...). Tracking down that October issue with Nyman's article Against Intellectual Complexity in Music or that British art journal with the Lucier feature or gathering a complete set of the Lovely Little Records or Obscure records became great sport. Now that everything is, or is becoming, more readily available, the liveliness of the scene has more than compensated for the loss of the veil of secrecy and obscurity. And paying attention to the work of a colleague who writes principally for film or choir or windband, for opera or electronica, or who is less uptight than me about vernacular and commercial genres is interesting and can be done now in a way that is fundamentally non-competitive.

Yep, another easy-going Sunday morning: now, if I could only arrange for delivery of the LATimes and a bag of bagels.

(image: Yankee Samizdat Webern, ca. 1976)