Tag Archives: Kyle Gann

Three Pieces by Poulenc

Poulenc in Paris

Poulenc in Paris

If I no longer send you my music it is because I simply do not think it would interest you any more.
—Poulenc to Igor Stravinsky, Letter 343 (1962)

I used to listen to composer Francis Poulenc’s Gloria and Stabat Mater so much that I wore them out. From time to time, I’ve thought to add some pieces to my Poulenc listening repertoire, but I never got very far. I did, however, read Echo and Source, Selected Correspondence 1915-1963, on a prompt from David Nice: Continue reading

Kyle Gann’s Transcendental Sonnets

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and what if they eat clouds, and drink wind, they have not been without service to the race of man
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kyle Gann’s Transcendental Sonnets are settings of sonnets by the Transcendentalist poet Jones Very (1813-1880). Jones Very’s story is one of possible madness and a short, ecstatic period in which he wrote what are regarded as the best of his poems. Ralph Waldo Emerson, in reviewing a book of Very’s poems, wrote of him:

The author, plainly a man of a pure and kindly temper, casts himself into the state of the high and transcendental obedience to the inward Spirit. He has apparently made up his mind to follow all its leadings, though he should be taxed with absurdity or even with insanity. In this enthusiasm he writes most of these verses, which rather flow through him than from him. Continue reading

My Year in Music, 2014

Contemporaneous "Living Toys" Concert at Roulette (David Bloom conducting)

Contemporaneous “Living Toys” Concert at Roulette (David Bloom conducting)

I’ve had a particularly memorable “year in music” this year. While I’ve listed a “Prufrock’s Dozen” of CDs, this year-end post isn’t a “best of” list in the usual sense, but rather an opportunity to gather together the “best of” my musical experiences throughout the year. The post is divided into three sections: A “Prufrock’s Dozen” of CDs, Live Performances, and Other Significant Music-Related Activities. Continue reading

Fall and All, Continued

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Outdoors, the technicolor display of autumn continues. Indoors, I’ve been having energetic discussions about Bach and Schoenberg with online classmates. I find myself worrying, of all things, about Schoenberg’s prominence in an online music survey curriculum and its effect. In particular, it’s my view that Schoenberg is absolutely the wrong composer through which to introduce listeners to 20th century music. Continue reading