Thursday, October 18, 2007

more talking music

Alex Ross, Linda Rondstadt and John Rockwell were the guests du jour at Wednesday's latest City Arts & Lectures Talking Music Series. I was surprised to find a smallish crowd despite the high-caliber line-up. Ross, the young New Yorker music critic and self-proclaimed "classical geek" recently released his first book "The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century" found a great counterpoint in Rockwell, long-time critic to the NY Times and author of "All American Music and Outsider: John Rockwell on the Arts." Rockwell's friend and one-time subject Ronstadt, whose pop hits "Love is a Rose" and "Blue Bayou" provided a soundtrack to much of my childhood, provided an artist's perspective. The far-ranging discussion, moderated by Steven Winn, covered everything from friendly critiques of each other's work; the merits of The Who's rock and roll; the appeal of the song "Louie, Louie"; the job of the singer ("my job is to evoke, not to obstruct" opined Ronstadt when the subject of how much an artist's personal life informed a performance and what an audience needs to know); the effect of the internet and blogging on classical music sales (online sales are up more than 10%); how much knowledge a critic can or should assume of its readers; how words both do and don't matter to a tune and the evolution of music. Plenty of food for thought!
I was further inspired by running into a friend who was with a National Park employee who graduated from the same UCSC program as I did. Now stationed at one of my favorite places in the state, Mono Lake, she suggested I write a song for them. Good timing as I'm to complete a song for the SF songwriting collective's meeting next week.....
Thursday's music talking shifted over to Metro Katmandu, where it was more musicians talking food. There, I enjoyed a fine post-yoga Nepalise meal (order the veggie momos) with friends, including Jacqui before she took off to Spain for a run of European gigs and her upcoming Herbst appearance. Glad I live so close to that theater as I sure seem to go there a lot of late.

No comments: