Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Delight us, dammit

In a post on NewMusicBox, Jeremy Denk, the pianist and musical über-blogger, engagingly harrumphs about excessively calculated, soul-numbing contemporary composition; and in the process, issues a manifesto for a contemporary music that, well . . . take over, Jeremy:

"I would like to propose 'delight' as a value, as a frequent ingredient of the durably new — the delightful as opposed to the agreeable, as opposed even perhaps (but not often) to the enjoyable. Delight is more muted than joy, it is not quite ecstasy (thank God, I can only take so much ecstasy). I'll take a stab at defining it: a combination of discovery with pleasure, a kind of mental activity brought to bear upon pleasure, running into it as if in a traffic accident where no one gets hurt. It's the brain slamming into the obstacle of beauty, waking up, rubbing its eyes."

Read "A Subtle Analysis of Composer-Performer Resentment," divining of Haydn's harmonic entrails and all: