Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Also sprach the composer
I see from the autumn publishing schedules that Paul Griffiths has a new novella being published titled Let Me Tell You. It is written in the Oulipo tradition of constrained writing, and uses only the vocabulary allotted to Ophelia in Hamlet. I know that Paul is not a composer, but he is, among other things, an authority on Stockhausen, scholar of Messiaen and librettist for Tan Dun. So, in the style of my composer as painter thread, it started me thinking about composers as authors of literary works, as opposed to music theory books and memoirs.
Here for starters are two composers as authors. The most obvious one is in the photo above. Paul Bowles studied with Aaron Copland, composed a considerable amount of music most of which was for the theatre, and wrote five very successful novels and a number of short stories. My second composer as author is slightly more arcane. The Minimal Piano Collection which was featured here last year includes on CD 4, among contributions from John Adams, John Cage and Arvo Pärt, a nine minute work titled 'Das Fragment an Sich'. The composer is philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who is better known for literary works which include Also sprach Zarathrusta. Those are my two starters for composers as authors. Over to you readers.
Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk