36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 058: New music in 2007


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 58 — New music in 2007
29-September-1971 (Wed.)


• Typical day again.
• No music at night, though.
• Studied for composition exam.


Nothing to write about in 1971. No music.

2007. 2007 is another story. Today is a Saturday. Spent part of a beautiful fall day at the beach reading. Went to a Ukrainian folk festival to eat pirogies and stuffed cabbage. Ended the day with a new music concert featuring compositions by Edgar Varèse and Harry Partch. A good day.

Montclair State University 2007. It so happened that the new music concert was held at a new concert hall at Montclair State. Remember, I graduated Montclair in 1971 and I have not been to Montclair in a while. I may as well have landed on the moon. I was there in the evening, parked a bazillion miles away from anything, and almost didn’t recognize anything about the campus. Ok, I recognized the bell tower. But everything else? An amazing difference. The campus (in the dark) is new, big, and has many new buildings. That’s great for the students.

New music concert. I went to the new music concert to hear a colleague of mine, Charles C., a composer and MSU graduate, perform in Newband, an internationally renowned ensemble dedicated to performing contemporary music. Their performance was great, especially the Partch, which was performed on original Harry Partch instruments—a very impressive performance. It’s nice to hear live music of all types. I need to do it more often.

Partch and Varèse. Both Varèse and Partch are what you would term 20th-century composers. Their music is often called “contemporary”—melodies and harmonies are not tonal, sound textures are often dissonant, new sound sources are important, traditional instruments are used in new ways, and microtonal music is on the scene. I find this music fascinating. Many people might not understand it. Many people may not like it. Give it a try. Listening to many different styles of both classical and pop music will expand your horizons. I enjoy all styles of music.

Keep a journal. During intermission, I briefly spoke with a young and very pretty girl sitting near me. She was a new graduate student to Montclair; she was from a different country (Brazil); she came to study piano. Do you see a similar theme here? Guess what advice I gave her? Keep a journal, don’t worry, do your best, and don’t give up when following what you want to do. She spoke excellent English, not like my German.

Maybe she’ll even read a page or two of this blog. I enjoy speaking to young people, they wake you up.

Take care.


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