Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I’m reading #86

The longlist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary award is out, and includes four New Zealand novels: Wulf by Hamish Clayton, The Larnachs by Owen Marshall, Rangatira by Paula Morris and The Conductor by Sarah Quigley. They are in contention with some Very Big Names – Alan Hollinghurst, Michael Ondaatje, Umberto Eco, Julian Barnes, TC Boyle, Amitav Ghosh, Michel Houllebecq, Penelope Lively, David Lodge, Frank Moorhouse, Mary Doria Russell and Stephen King. A.D. Miller’s Snowdrops is on the list too and I would be rooting for him if it wasn’t for the New Zealanders. I hope all four of them win, or at least make the shortlist.

Via Elliott Randall on Facebook, why pop music’s old metrics no longer matter. Mr Randall, you may recall, played the brilliant guitar solo on Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years”.

Speaking of Elliott, the great American composer Elliott Carter died on 5 November aged 103. He would have been 104 on 11 December. He was composing right up to his final months: he completed his last work, a piano piece called 12 Short Epigrams, on 13 August. A good set of tributes here. Quote unquote from John Tavener:
He, in the last 10 years of his life, seemed to rid modernism of all its angst, creating sparkling edifices of joy and beauty, like the Flute Concerto and Dialogues for Piano and Chamber Orchestra. From a composer’s point of view, he was an absolute master – and he did it better than any of us.
Anne Midgette on classical music performers’ dress code. Less is more, apparently. At least, it is for Yuja Wang. Quote unquote:
We say we want younger audiences, and we wring our hands over classical music’s possible demise; and yet when a young classical music star does something that would be completely normal in any other entertainment field, we pounce on it as being extreme, attention-getting, questionable.
Penguin and Random House are merging, the sky is falling. So say all the authors – but not me. And not Meg Rosoff, who finds reasons to be cheerful. Mind you, I have yet to check in with booksellers.

Tom Service’s guide to Morton Feldman’s music which tends to be long, slow and quiet. And on the beautiful side of ugly/beautiful. The guide has good links to YouTube clips. Feldman looked a bit like Jemaine Clement and was very witty. Previous post about him here.

Enough classical music. Here is Otis Redding with “Can’t Turn You Loose”.  Great performance (thank you, David Hepworth), though Redding dances about as well as Springsteen. I can just see Ike Turner watching this, wondering how to sex it up even further and invent the Ikettes. In the olden days, real live performances like these were on TV in prime-time. Kids today don’t know, etc:

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