Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Listening Journals for your Enjoyment

The last collection of Listening Journals written by my undergraduates is now up for viewing. These all cover music written since 1945 and represent a wide variety of music and musical styles. Most surprising to me was the reaction against minimalism I heard from these students. I must admit to a fascination on my own part with minimalism, stretching back into my high school years, yet in spite of that interest, since I started teaching the subject I've always found that students are, by and large, extremely drawn to the style.

Not this year. Not even Einstein on the Beach in Legos could persuade them to give minimalism a chance.

One student, though, wrote on, and enjoyed Einstein on the Beach, and I own him a debt of gratitude for finding a new, bizarre, and hilarious parody of the work by Emo Philips that proves my theory that everything is made better by the addition of ninjas. You'll find the video on his blog after his essay.


Kyle said...

They don't like minimalism? Further proof that the next generation is full of culturally-deaf philistines! What kind of education have these children been receiving? Someone call Allan Bloom and E.D. Hirsch immediately!

On a more serious note, it was actually minimalism that got me interested in twentieth century music; I've always been very rhythmic in how I play other non-percussion instruments, so the playing with and layering of rhythm in minimalism drew me in immediately. Plus it makes good soundtrack music (I taught The Thin Blue Line, w/ its Glass composed soundtrack, this semester).

Andrew said...

Ha! But with its relationship to rock, I doubt Allan Bloom like minimalism at all.

And you are right that minimalism makes good scores, but it has a curious effect on movies because unless a director is sensitive to music and image and knows how to fuse them, minimalist music can overwhelm a film and actually make it not work as well dramatically. The Thin Blue Line is an excellent example of how well it can work.