Run! Run away from the new music!
May 13, 2010 4:41 PM   Subscribe

The “LSER” is a response to longstanding requests from subscription holders for a faster mode of self-ejection from the concert hall...The LSER will be a particularly comforting addition to the concert-going experience for patrons anxious about contemporary music, as in the case next month when music director Alan Gilbert will present “Le Grand Macabre” by the twentieth century master György Ligeti.

NY Philharmonic to install new Speedy Exit Ramp. via Hell Mouth, the blog of John Adams.

Obviously this is a joke. But a pretty clever one.
posted by Lutoslawski (22 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
That is a lovely blog that I did not know about. Thanks!
posted by Wolfdog at 4:46 PM on May 13, 2010

Clearly a joke, but still quite funny. Instead of the LSER, wish they would install ejector seats in all concert halls that automatically launch whenever some idiot's cell phone rings.
posted by xedrik at 4:49 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ooh! Ooh! I've never done this before.

posted by kenko at 5:04 PM on May 13, 2010 [4 favorites]

I love that we call music written before I was born "new music". It makes me feel young and vibrant. Or perhaps as if I lived in a culture with a long term memory of more than 50 years.
posted by idiopath at 5:17 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

I was just looking at the blog of John Adams because I remembered listening to Shaker Loops and Light over Water...
posted by oonh at 5:17 PM on May 13, 2010

From one of the other entries:

Marcel’s “Symphony No. 1” —he calls it that because he is planning nine of them—is in 4/4, and the tempo is quarter note=120. The first page is full of 16th notes all cascading down the scale in perfect parallel motion. Then on the following page the same 16th notes go UP the scale, again in perfect parallel motion. That goes on for about sixty pages until an empty bar appears, apparently announcing a grand pause.

“That’s a moment of structural articulation, John.”

posted by idiopath at 5:21 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Love the Proost posts! It's helpful or at least interesting to know that Adams is fascinated by the Vinteuil Sonata, and that he considers Proust the ideal of the thoughtful lay audience member.
posted by Iridic at 5:48 PM on May 13, 2010

Great post, and Adams's blog is consistently pretty fantastic.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:15 PM on May 13, 2010

*waves arms inarticulately*
John Adams FUCK YEAH
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:24 PM on May 13, 2010

You should leave AF Hall as expeditiously as possible under any circumstances. The threatening Lippold sculpture (affectionately known as 'Dynamited Lumberyard') threatens all who subnavigate it with coppery crushification.

I was an usher there in the 1960s, soon after it was built. Here's the secret story of how the first ushers were hired:
Two notices were put up on bulletin boards, one at CCNY and one at Manhattan College of Music, to the effect that (as it was then named) Philharmonic Hall would be hiring ushers. The first people who saw those notices and realized what they represented immediately ripped them down and alerted their pals to this opportunity, so the first set of ushers all pretty much knew each other before being hired. I was hired through a connection--someone had quit and I was told and immediately applied, and was hired despite the stack of unexamined applications that preceded me. My impressive qualifications that let me jump the queue were 1) I was there and 2) the old uniform fit me.
Well, that cunning manager was let go eventually.

I also witnessed possibly the only time the large central spray of the circular fountain in the plaza there was actually turned on. The jet went up higher than the Hall, and arced down about ten feet from the fountain, nearly drenching some innocent passersby.
posted by hexatron at 6:53 PM on May 13, 2010 [4 favorites]

John Adams' blog is great and has been really funny of late. All the posts are right on the money, none more so than this.
posted by ob at 7:05 PM on May 13, 2010

Pot, meet kettle. I know I've told this story before, but the last time I thought someone was playing a John Adams piece on our carillon, they may have just been cleaning it.
posted by Madamina at 8:07 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ironically, my partner and I went to the Seattle Symphony a couple weekends ago when they played Rach's 2nd Piano Concerto, and he asked if we could leave before Adams' Harmonielehre, which was too much like all the Philip Glass-esque work he had to listen to at Eastman. I enjoyed listening to another recording of it by myself, afterwards, but it is definitely in the vein of the kind of minimalist stuff going around in the 1980s. Modern classical is probably just not going to be to everyone's taste.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:37 PM on May 13, 2010

I'm kinda over Adams as well. His blog is funny though, and he's a smart guy. Unfortunately his music is kind of stagnant right now. I just played under him last Sunday and Monday; he's really self-effacing and pretty down-to-earth, which I'm glad for. He doesn't seem to think his music is the best on earth but he definitely knows it is MAD popular in America right now. For me it's just a little too much surface, not enough depth.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:07 PM on May 13, 2010

For me it's just a little too much surface, not enough depth.

Well, he DID give us Nixon In China. For that alone he's earned my lifelong accolade. Shaker Loops and Gnarley Buttons are great too. But like most minimalism, it takes a different ear than the typical classically trained concert-goer has developed.

Personally, I'm a Steve Reich fan more than Glass or Adams. Music For 18 Musicians is a sickness with me, and people back away slowly when I start talking about it. But if someone were doing Nixon In China in this area, I'd go see it at least twice. I love that piece like few other modern operas.

(And don't get me started on Glass' Einstein On The Beach. I'd fuckin' fly across the country to see that if it were staged with the original staging. Funny how I like the macro works of the minimalist composers.)
posted by hippybear at 11:30 PM on May 13, 2010

John Adams and other "New Music" has the fatal flaw of being nigh on impossible to play by any group even approaching amateur. I first heard one of his pieces played by my university's volunteer orchestra and I was dead set on hating John Adams for his cacophonous rhythmless nonsense.
posted by that girl at 1:03 AM on May 14, 2010

So this machine... is it fast? And is the ride short?
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:40 AM on May 14, 2010

Well I for one welcome this. That 1 train downtown gets pretty furry after concerts.
posted by Danf at 8:19 AM on May 14, 2010

That 1 train downtown gets pretty furry after concerts.

Hilarious! The bass player, Bridget Kearney, is a great friend of mine. We went to conservatory together. She's actually coming to see me in a couple days. She's an incredible musician and I encourage you to check out all her groups, not just the furry subway people.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:27 AM on May 14, 2010

Cute post! I was hoping for some kind of leap forward in urban/public space planning (seriously, I was -- changing public behaviour/movement using architecture has always fascinated me). I've never been to a modern classical concert at a big concert hall; do all the old people really rebel?
posted by bluefly at 3:15 AM on May 15, 2010

bluefly: "do all the old people really rebel?"

It's not even just the old people. Many people stick around for the old stuff and leave when the New Music starts. It has been that way for nearly a century (some of that same new music they left the concert hall over a century ago is now some of the old stuff they show up for).
posted by idiopath at 9:40 AM on May 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

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