Music Books Minor Move

I had earlier today an impulsive, harebrained idea to reorganize some of the books in my study. I would do something with the poetry, move some of it out to the big bookcases in the living room. But a cursory glance at those cases reminded me how much poetry is already there, and that it would probably take several hours to complete the move, given the reorganization my reorganization would require. So I decided instead that I should separate the music books from the other stuff in here (my study). There was no reason for this separation but I pursued it anyway. No less harebrained but far more contained.

I’m happy to report that it bore some bibliographic fruit! I found a handful of books that I either forgot I had or set aside for just a moment or thought I’d get back to.1 Which doesn’t mean I have any more time to read them than I did before I lost track of them but it’s nice to have them handy when I have some time to dig in.

  1. Hello, Julius Eastman biography! Hello Loft Jazz! Nice to see you, As Serious As Your Life! Etc. ↩︎

The Power Broker and 99pi

I’ve started reading The Power Broker in preparation for following along with 99 Percent Invisible’s 100-pages-per-month 2024 book club. The idea is that reading a 1200 page book is easier to handle if the assignment is 100 pages a month culminating in a podcast reviewing and researching that month’s pages. I’m into it. At a minimum, it’s like 3-4 pages a day but I’ve found it far more engaging than that. I like the idea of taking a year to get through it. I did something similar, though unguided, with Infinite Jest (back in 2009, I read at least 5 pages a day for roughly 6 months) and many years ago with Ezra Pound’s Cantos (a Canto a day for 120 days). It’s not the way I usually read but it brings a kind of intimacy to bear, a measured (and more enduring?) sense of the depth of commitment required to write a book of such length. Looking forward to this one.

Julián Carrillo

I started reading Sound within Sound: Radical Composers of the Twentieth Century and the first subject, Mexican composer Julián Carrillo, is a welcome and inspiring addition to my listening. His primary contribution is in the area of microtonal composition,1 but the author, Kate Molleson, delights in Carrillo’s self-mythologizing, and places it in equal importance to Carrillo’s artistry. If he was neglected, she says, it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was a real character, prone to revision and even fictionalizing his own history, giving himself credit for developments in composition and music theory that could not have been his, and it’s not entirely clear that anyone was even reading these accounts. He was a prolific self-publisher and proselytizer, a passionate tooter of his own horn. What matters most now, of course, is his music. Here’s the search results from Apple Music. It seems to be a reasonable survey of his work, but like all such things, there is probably more to be found elsewhere.

🎵 Listening to On Giacometti, by Hania Rani

  1. An area of musical praxis that sort of eludes me. I imagine that this is due in part to my being mostly auto-didactic, musically speaking, so that Carrillo’s music, for example, sounds unusual to me but not in a way I can articulate. More study, no doubt, to follow.