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.

Frank O’Hara

Why I Am Not a Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.