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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #77
Smoothness of the Early 80's
David Gunn
Bon radio. Once a year, on a day that could be much like this one if not for the statistical variances required for acoustic remediation, the ground rules for this radio program change. All of the new music played during the past 51 episodes, excluding Aaron Copland's "Rodeo," are dumped into an immense kettle -- one with a spout -- and placed on the lower rack of a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. In fact, the 20-minute limit has never been reached. Most of the tunes begin transmogrifying long before then. In the case of George Crumb, the change can occur in mere seconds. And Alfred Schnittke's pieces usually begin to mutate as soon as the oven door is opened. Not only do the changes vary from composer to composer -- and, in the case of different pieces from one composer, from slow- to brisk-tempoed tunes -- they are also influenced by what was last cooked in the oven. For example, the last time the kettle drama was played out, the oven had, the evening previous, been host to a poached hummus pie. And the innards of the heatery still retained pungent memories of that event. The instant the kettle was shown the unlatched door, the tuneful remains of over 120 musicsmiths coalesced into a cacophonous amalgam of bifurcated whole tone scales, which rapidly dissolved into open ninths whose roots were lost in the abstraction of unjust Synclavierial intonation. So be it. We are not here to coddle the music. If you want sweet songs with potato chip rhythms, youíll want to listen elsewhere. The only dulcimer youíll hear on this show will be soldered to the serious end of a piano wrench en route to an intransigent B flat. Sorry, but that's life. Or, as we say, voici le flambeau oriange. And that's Kalvos & Damianís New Music Bazaar, this 77th episodic portion of which is being brought to you by 105 compositional excerpts in a kettle near a pre-heated oven that awaits its manifest destiny, which we hope to have for you later in the program, time and hummus permitting.

Teleological concerns of Fibonnaci chordal sequences limit the compositional kettle incidents to one per year, which is abstrusely equivalent to the gross natural output of Soren Kierkegaaard, whose name on this show we like to spell with three As. How can this be? Well, it can't, and there goes my argument, and with it what I thought was the best, or at least logicalest, part of the sesquintroduction, reducing it to mere existential twaddle. Again, so be it, for it takes more than an Algonquin hole to turn this fine kettle of fish black. But, I digress. And not, I predict, for the first time.

If I had my druthers and cisterns, Iíd opt for a little Arnold Bax music now, for what better way to festoon the travelogue sequence of the program which follows? Arnold's music, unlike that of his angular cousin, Schoenberg, accurately follows the gentle geographic bumps of the world, from the corn-sodded calderas of Wales to the blue-black sphagnum forests of Toledoland. Unfortunately, the number of Bax selections at today's disposal is roughly commensurate to the surname of the retiring senior senator from the great state of Georgia, whose peaches have yet to arrive at the sesquistudio, annoying no one less than he who can repudiate everything just said with a simple what?, Kalvos.