Monday, January 01, 2007

fall semester wrap-up and the Baltimore alt-press

After immersing myself in the life and works of Gyorgy Ligeti all semester, I was delighted to read this tribute to him in the Baltimore City Paper. With the title "People Who Died" and a faux-cherubic cartoon cover, I thought the Paper's year-end obits and tributes would be catty or tongue-in-cheek, but this write-up for Ligeti is one of the better ones I've read. I was also surprised to see that Naim June Paik also died this year; his name came up during my Ligeti seminar as a member of the Fluxus "art happening" group, with whom Ligeti had a brief affiliation. I can't recall if Prof. Waggoner mentioned that Paik, too, had died in 2006.

I actually double-dipped in Ligeti in my final papers. For a class in Music and Politics, I did a kind of political analysis of his opera Le grand macabre and examined how it reflected and satirized the affairs of Cold War politics (big comet coming to bring an end to the world seems like dropping the Big One, doesn't it?). This music-in-social-context paper was a good companion to and welcome distraction from my paper for the actual Ligeti seminar: a complete (or as complete as I could muster) tonal analysis of the choral piece Lux aeterna, made famous (entirely without Ligeti's permission, as you can read in the City Paper's tribute) in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Also, over my holiday break at home in Maryland, I picked up a copy of Urbanite magazine, another Baltimore City publication. The December issue had some truly admirable features: eye-catching layout, some interesting story topics and submissions by readers reflecting on life in Charm City. Those last writing were sort of reminiscent of Life as Haiku, a feature run in the Washington Post Sunday Style that I've greatly enjoyed reading for the last few years.

Finally, happy 2007! I kicked off the New Year with a six-hour drive from home in Maryland to Syracuse. Tomorrow I embark upon the "NYC Immersion" with the other Goldring-ers. Lots of shows and concerts, writing reviews, workshopping with professional critics (including Alex Ross of the New Yorker!) and, if I'm really on the ball, copious blogging about the whole lot.

No comments: