Why do people appreciate the minimalist paintings of Mark Rothko, but not the music of experimental composers such as Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage? That’s the question Jim Fleming asks on this week’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge”.
The idea comes from David Stubbs’ 2009 book, “Fear of Music”. Good observations in this show, including Stubbs’ musing that the brain’s different ways of processing infomation may contribute directly to the phenomenon.
After devoting the first two segments of the program to innovators like Stockhausen and Cage, I do wish the show had found a more compelling subject for the last one. Self-aggrandizing superstar pianist Lang Lang hardly speaks to the avant-garde, nor was there any real attempt to connect his appearance on the program with the ideas or other content of the first two segments.
Why not conclude the program with the California EAR Unit, the Bowed Piano Ensemble, the American Modern Ensemble , the Vemont Contemporary Music Ensemble, or any number of other modern performers whose everyday endeavors work to bridge that gap between audiences and contemporary music?
Lang Lang. Why?
Regardless, nice to hear such a thoughtful program on the air.