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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This Post is Bullsh*t

A Rumination on the Fine Art of Saying Nothing at All.
Photo by Fos53 from his blog. 
Dear readers of Superconductor:

Writing about modern classical music is difficult. And it's harder when, like me you do it every single day. The music critic must be able to turn the sounds of scratches, taps and squawks into readable prose that somehow manages to convey the sounds that we're hearing and, at the same time make the basic underlying ideas of a composer accessible to the man on the street.

One of the biggest stylistic problems is the tendency to write in "critic-speak." To use voluminous phrases that soar majestically from the pages of the Penguin Guide. To describe horns "ejaculating"--a favorite verb of early 20th century critic Ernest Newman. Or to write purple prose that sounds as if it were translated from German a la Richard Wagner.

Now, thanks to composer Dominic Irving, the task is a little easier. Mr. Irving has just launched the Contemporary Classical Composer Bullshit Generator, a web app that generates paragraphs of purple prose that would make Nicholas Slonimsky proud.

Here's an example from the Generator:
Rather than generatively writing chaotic instruments, I now prefer modulating flowing types of movement, in conjunction with highly coherent fanfares. I coined the term 'piece-piece-music' to describe my most radical approaches to polyphonic composition. My aim is simple - to inform all tense non-fragmentary-fundamentals, whilst simultaneously (and non-aesthetically) premiering the idea of 'improvisatory-chord-key-signatures'. I build upon the so-called 'conflicts of quasi-serialist juxtapositions', and transform them into what I term 'spatial-intra-semantic commission-experiences', which I see as a distinct improvement. My latest composition explores the boundaries between octaves and techniques, whilst utilising a highly contrasting attitude to a traditional, intellectual platform.


The shameful part is, that I've written paragraphs like this. Or at least taken them down when interviewing certain composers. I shall name no names.

Here's a few more samples, all generated this morning when I was playing around with the CCCBG:
My orchestration is the only one of its kind, due in part to the inclusion of highly-polyphonic synergy-triads, with a hint of so-called 'resonance-tetrachords'. My latest piece begins with a rather percussive 'time-signature-installation', before apparently transforming the existing fragmentary material into a more passively-semantic state, a process I term 'contrastingly-eclectic-premiering'.

Working extendedly means that my focus is always uniquely-based, and never periodic. My aim is simple - to mix all pro-neo-Romantic contrasting-phrases, whilst simultaneously (and contrapuntally) composing the idea of 'contemporary-imitation-materials'. The most important tip I can give anyone is this: Never compose soloistic perceptions; rather, endeavour to premiere your microtonally-avant-garde challenges. One of my most integral influences is the concept of contextualizing postmodern ensembles, which rejects my style and causes my material to become somewhat minimalistic. It must be remembered that cultivating interactions, especially if they are 12-tone (or even unified), should be avoided.

And then there's this whopper: 

It is plainly obvious that the act of influencing extended polyphonies causes one to become coherent (and sometimes even innovative), which is why I deny this approach, preferring instead to simply deny pre-conceivedly. Recently, I have started to embrace interactions as a strongly-psycho-serialist alternative to established forms of operatic noise-compositions, which has made my work simultaneously improvisatory. It is always crucial to seek a sense of 'developments of chord', never more so than today. It is plainly obvious that the act of superimposing tonal chord-structures causes one to become Expressionist (and sometimes even periodic), which is why I deny this approach, preferring instead to simply dominate melodically. The fact that transcriptions tend to (at least in their technological state), quartally study, even in the presence of a strong tessitura, is, you will agree, patently absurd.

Dear readers, I promise never to inflict paragraphs like these on you. Much. After all, brevity is wit.

If you've made it this far down the column, I want to thank you as I generate my own brand of classical music...er...bullshit, for being here for almost five years. There are more of you than when we started, and I thank you for your patience, your enthusiasm, and your occasional corrections. I'm heading to three straight nights of Tchaikovsky pieces, and hope that the following reviews will generate some pleasure in your lives.

In other words, I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

All best,
Paul J. Pelkonen,
Editor,
Superconductor
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.