James Tobin wrote:
>>If a composer tries to help us out, what should they tell us?... I
>>think of the "Tristan" chord.... But what could Wagner have told us
>>that might have helped us to understand better his use of that chord
>>and his "resolution" of it.
>In this case maybe we would not have wanted him to say anything verbal.
>As I think you were suggesting in your previous comment, just the music
>and the listener's reactions are enough, usually, even in cases like
>this. But in cases of public puzzlement or disagreement, it may help
>to have the composer weigh in.
I guess I believe at first listening, many could suggest that Wagner's
harmony could have been puzzling on some level. I wonder what it would
have been like to have heard a first performance of Tristan. I wonder
if I would have been puzzled or not.
In the case of the Tan Dun, which I recall started this thread, it
does not seem that the gestures and styles are, in themselves, puzzling.
Sometimes I think about some of the music of Schnittke as being puzzling
in much the same way as some of his music will have a rather curious
juxtaposition of styles, as one can find in Dun's music...even if the
styles used...and to my ears, the quality of the music differs greatly...and
that being written, I don't find much value in those "stream of consciousness
pieces," by Schnittke. For me, they are too literary in nature. Perhaps
if I would listen repeatedly to Dan's music, I would find a musical logic
to it, one that isn't dependent upon knowledge of an "extra-musical"
While I have only a few things of Dun's music in my collection, I returned
to his Symphony. As I recall that piece was written to mark the return
of Singapore to Chinese control. Perhaps I need to listen to that guitar
concerto of his, but that symphony struck me as not having much to say.