Wednesday, April 04, 2012

From a Diary: I:xxii

The battle between Carnival and Lent*, or: between the market and capitalism, or: between live music-making and recordings. The dynamics of the market are information and noise on one hand, supply and demand on the other, always seeking meeting points, moments of stability, agreement. No market is perfect, but the alternatives are less so, and capitalism, hedging markets, is a fundamental modification of, if not an alternative to, not necessarily the same as a market. N.O. Brown: The dynamics of capitalism is postponement of enjoyment to the constantly postponed future. (D.J. Wolf: The dynamics of late tonal music is perpetual postponement of the resolution of dissonance to the constantly postponed cadence.) Capitalism presupposes continuous growth, regardless of its likelihood, sustainability or desirability. Capitalism presupposes an unequal distribution of information, and manufacturing noise is a strategy. The advantage of capitalism is that it makes possible, through debt to be repaid in the future, projects demanding more resources than one has available at present. The question, then, is how often do we really need projects of such scale that our futures will be so tied up? (Writing an orchestral work or an opera requires the composer to invest, speculate and leverage over a significant period of time, requires a committed working relationship with large and less flexible institutions, requires a gamble that the checks will actually come when promised...)


* I wonder what extra-musical ideas younger composers are getting excited about now — Attali's Noise, first in an excerpt translated in a journal and then in the French original, was something exciting in my undergrad days and cheerfully pointed to Brueghel's wonderful painting.

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