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alexhills

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About alexhills

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  1. I think the solution for the big orchestras is to not try and be so monolithic. Use the younger, more open-minded, performers to go play Steve Reich in a jazz club, and there is a chance some of the people who hear that will give the more standard stuff a go, and in the very very long term, substantial new connections will be made. Tacking on the odd new work here and there - the LSO have tried to that in the last couple of years and it is a disaster - just feels like telling people they have to take their medicine now, and will get back to the proper stuff in a minute....
  2. I couldn't possibly agree with you more. The qualifier is, of course, that what I think sounds good is I can only imagine very different to what most other people here would think sounds good. Not to mention that of course the notion of 'sounding good' is a highly culturally conditioned one. However, the point that really worries me about the insane philosophy quoted above is that I really suspect this composer hates the way his own music sounds, but seems to think he has to write that way because of some dialectical obligation...
  3. I've never been entirely anti-Adorno, it's just completely rammed down one's throat by a lot of the composers I've associated with and that makes me uncomfortable with it. The idea that one is somehow writing music in order to allow one's audience to better appreciate Frankfurt dialectic negation seems rather absurd to me. This, for example, by a truly truly awful and not very well known composer I will not identify, surely has to be the least enticing sounding aesthetic project of all time: I believe music has a genuine philosophical dimension, but more important is that on
  4. Nope. Now that I've checked, I take back this point. I was thinking of an earlier piece. (My other points remain.) You are probably thinking of Canto Sospeso. One of the interesting things to me about a lot of post WW-II 12 tone music is actually how spectacularly little it has become more accepted. Boulez's Structures or Stockhausen's Kreuzspiel are still amongst the very toughest nuts to crack I think. If Die Soldaten is only a one off, but does the same, that's still an exciting thing. It is well worth going to by the way. As for Wilfrid's point about the visual arts
  5. We have done a remarkable job of resisting commodification, us lot.... I think only avant-garde poetry has remained as resolutely un-graspable. I'm past having a view on whether this is a good or bad thing. I just want to write my notes and hope a few people here and there listen to them. That said, we say the music is obscure, and it is, but Luigi Nono's Prometeo, one of the very most difficult pieces of the last 30 years, has just sold out 2 nights at the Royal Festival Hall next month. OK, this is the UK premiere 20 years after the piece was written, which is a disgrace, but that
  6. alexhills

    The Bruni Thread

    I think those two would have got on very well though. Many substances would have been consumed and much revelry ensued. I actually have a student trying to do a project comparing late Scriabin (The Poem of Ecstasy) with Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd at the moment. Sorry, random interjection there, but sometimes comparison across genres - artistic or culinary - is interesting, sometimes it isn't... But evaluation is something else.
  7. They were still in situ in November/December-ish - definitely the same most venerable chef - but I do have a very vague memory of them telling some regulars about an upcoming move.
  8. The smell of chip fat in Mill Lane from the 'kitchen' in The Mill is one of the great Cambridge Constants (particularly memorable when parking in what was the Dept. of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics carpark on Sundays prior to lunch at the equally constant GradPad during the early 80s).... Unchanged and disgusting as far back as I can remember. I haven't been to the Free Press in a few years, but it was always about as good as Cambridge had to offer I think. Dr.J, do I remember you being a fan of the Peking in Burleigh St.? It is is still there, and really quite good, had dinner t
  9. alexhills

    Radu Lupu

    I haven't heard him live for years - he has a reputation for being a bit erratic interpretatively recently, but I really love some of his playing. There is a Schumann disk with 2 of my favorite pieces, Kreisleriana and the Humoresque which is simply quite unbelivably good. I don't think anyone has done them better. That, his Schubert B flat sonata and later Brahms intermezzi are all absolutely outstanding. Definitely one of the reference pianists for the high German repertoire.
  10. I don't know this recording yet either. Repin is very good though - Argerich has a really nice thing of wanting to work with younger players and is a great advertisment for doing interesting things having given up solo playing. My favorite recording of the Kreutzer is, by far, Joseph Szigeti with Bartok playing the piano, from the library of congress in the 40s. Amazing. Oh, and if people will forgive the self-promotion, I've jst started a little website where you can hear some of my music properly: www.alexhills.com
  11. As we do high art and decline and fall, the good marxist who wrote my signature line - which I adopted a couple of years ago - does seem pretty spot on. I wish I believed the world would be a better place if more people listened to classical music. I guess I don't if I'm honest with myself. I believe in art as a vehicle for personal change rather than social change, but if we are lucky and get enough personal change maybe we get some social change too. But Stalin died listening to the slow movement of the Mozart A major piano concerto (interesting, played by Maria Yudina, one of the f
  12. The class/gender/race issues in classical music are something I'm seriously seriously not proud of. For what its worth, a higher percentage of the students at my institution come from private schools (admittedly mostly the 3 or 4 major UK specialist music ones) than at any other university in the UK, Oxbridge included. We have, unsuprisingly, a very high percentage of east-asian students, but very few from other ethnicities. That said, we tend to have more female students than male, and if this balance isn't quite reflected in orchestras yet it is certainly getting there. Sadly, it does s
  13. alexhills

    River Café

    High praise. We've never been and must go on our next trip. I don't get out much, though.... I'm more or less in revolt over London haute cuisine. Best English meals (sushi and the infamous turkish bbq aside) last year were all in people's homes. Nonetheless, highly recommended, no question.
  14. I have to admit I don't think I heard anything written last year that I would be willing to stick that label on either (although I heard some fantastic music from the last 25 years or so), and given that it's my job that's either alarming or embarassing. Best piece of the millenium so far, though, Concertini by Helmut Lachenmann (from 2005). I was at one of the early performances and said to a friend afterwards, 'this is like being at the first performance of Beethoven 9'. I do genuinely believe the best music being written at the moment will pass into the canon as it has always done, ass
  15. alexhills

    River Café

    Was here, for the first time slightly unbelivably, for dinner last night. Really very nice. Antipasti were Langoustine - 5 lovely specimens, salt roasted and completely unadorned, Crab - white and brown meat, some spinach, some toast, and I had a salad of punaterella with anchovy. Mains were the veal stinco, bollito misto and I had grilled lobster with wonderful roasted endive hearts. In terms of flavor combination I think the bollito was the most interesting of these, wonderful combination of sweet fruitta di mostarda and sharp horseradish, but everything was absolutely first rate in bot
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