So, he's boppin' along, humourously dissing Greenberg's music (which I've never heard and have no interest in no matter what his age). Then Hensher hits me with this:
I would love to hear something genuinelyOf course, as a music critic, he's not confessing that he is unfamiliar with all American music, no music critic would do that. Rather he seems to be implying that he has made an exhaustive survey and everything over here is crap.
new from a US composer of any age,
let alone Jay Greenberg at 15.
If that's what you meant Philip, that's way below the belt.
The last complete revolution in the serious music world (minimalism) is a US invention. Since then America has come up with another genuinely new music called "Hip Hop" - which, like certain other American musics before it, has found its way into the pop music of just about everywhere. Granted both of these trends are passing middle age - getting long in the tooth, trying to cover their gray hair.
People are arguing about what it all means. Post hip-hop musicians are writing books and post minimalist composers are starting their own clothing lines. Or is it the other way around?
For a composer, finding something really new is a monumentally difficult task. We live in a world where any kind of music is possible and nearly everything has been tried before by someone. Any sound can be music to your ears if you want.
Meanwhile it makes me feel much better imagining Philip Hensher trapped in a concert hall listening to endless new complexity music. Oh, Schadenfreude! Maybe he was only trying to fill some space dumping on a poor fifteen year old kid. (It would have been better to bitch about the marketing machine behind that kid.) But he managed to offend the musicians of a whole country - quite a large inventive one at that.
If you don't know what "new complexity" is (or was) you should rejoice. It's the proto-typical ugly music for which life is way too short.
Complexity Tags: Jay Greenberg. . . Philip Hensher. . . music critic. . . American music. . . minimalism. . . hip hop. . . U.S. composer