Initially, I intended to write a series of biographical ‘incidents’ outlining significant events in my life. But then, it turned into an observation about the whole concept of self-image. Many of us are familiar with the story of Narcissus. The young man who saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realising it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, he lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. This is how Elan Golomb (Trapped In The Mirror) views the narcissistic personality. “-They unconsciously deny an unstated and intolerably poor self-image through inflation. They turn themselves into glittering figures of immense grandeur surrounded by psychologically impenetrable walls. The goal of this self-deception is to be impervious to greatly feared external criticism and to their own rolling sea of doubts - ” It ends with a de-constructed theme from Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’.
Karlheinz Stockhausen is one of the most important composers of the post war era. He is partially responsible for the creation of the post war modernist music. But what is his true legacy? Was he the leading composer in his field?
Did he invent the 'timbralist' idea of generating music from a single sound? Well, he did accomplish that concept with "Stimmung'' (Voice) which is completely designed around the single chord of a B flat ninth. But he wasn't the first. Giacinto Scelsi wrote "Quatro pezzi per orchestre" which is based a single note per movement and that work was written in 1959.
I seriously doubt whether Stockhausen knew about Scelsi's achievement when he wrote Stimmung in 1977.
Perhaps one of his greatest works is "Gruppen'' (Groups) composed for three orchestras. Did it change the way we use the orchestra? He was a pioneer, especially in the early stages of his profession career as a composer; writing for larger orchest…
This is a prize that I can never see myself winning.
The first obstacle is that I am not American. I admire a lot of American music and a few of my British heroes have spent a long time in America building their career. Neither am I closely linked to music in the U.S.A. This is not a problem; every region has its own prestigious prize intended for their own countrymen and women.
There certain expectations expected from a Pulitzer prize winner.
Last year, it was John Adams forty minute orchestral work based on a single note group, "Become Ocean". The year before, it was Partita for 8 Voices by Caroline Shawa mixture of vocal exploration and repetitive music. And so on..you probably get the picture; you have to be in the America circle of composers and writing some form of repetitive music. I don't fit the bill...never mind.
But are you happy with this? Do you think that it should perhaps be more open, more varied?