MUSIC: New Roles and Contexts by Roger Reynolds

MUSIC: New Roles and Contexts

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A turgid, eclectic -- and somewhat dated -- survey of the meaning and possibilities of art, specifically contemporary classical music: its connection to Zeitgeist, its conceptual potentials and its technical innovations. Reynolds views our culture from a Toffleresque perspective, exploring permanence, acceleration, and diversity, and arguing that a re-evaluation of art is called for: ""The contemporary musician is badly out of step with the implications of his materials."" Reynolds finds import in technological and commercial advances (computers and electronics), recent social syndromes (the media-created ""general event""), and in new modes of perception (meditation and altered states of consciousness). He contends that the composer fails to fully develop his art by neglecting visual elements, ""altered time frames"" and new notational practices. Reynolds draws on such diverse disciplines -- experimental psychology, sociology, bio-feedback -- that one is hard-pressed to bring it all together. His prose is so convoluted that at times it is incomprehensible. Finally, most of this has been said before. Reynolds is a promising composer, but a disappointing writer.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1974
Publisher: Praeger