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Friday Miscellanea

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Friday Miscellanea

Does this make you sing "I wanna be sedated"? Asset manager takes stake in publisher, commits $1.7 billion to buying copyrights, including Joey Ramone’s

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. BAM -2.08% is joining with independent publisher Primary Wave Music in a $2 billion deal to invest in music copyrights, the companies said. 

The asset manager, which hasn’t previously invested in music catalogs, will take a significant minority interest in Primary Wave, and commit $1.7 billion to fund a permanent capital vehicle focused on acquiring music rights from top acts.

Next thing you know, Warren Buffett will be taking a position in Captain Beefheart, which I think was number seventeen in the Signs of the Apocalypse? 

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An excellent article in the New York Times celebrating Lucas Foss, a composer who is neglected these days: Eight Ways of Looking at a Singular Composer.

The polymathic Foss was a skilled and wide-ranging conductor, but he thought of himself primarily as a composer. His music grazed freely among Copland-esque Americana, thorny serial, wild chance-based, angular Neo-Classical, arch Neo-Baroque and churning Minimalist styles. That eclecticism, however, has worked against his lasting popularity, Falletta believes.

“He was very proud that he did everything,” she said. “He thought the more techniques you used, the richer your vocabulary was as a composer.”

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One of the things that turns me off about Netflix is that nearly every science fiction movie or tv series is described as "dystopian." What's worse is that most of them actually are! It seems the only future we can envision now is one of climate collapse and social anarchy. It didn't used to be this way as this writer explains in Whence, Wherefore, Whither Utopia?

 The last couple decades of the nineteenth century saw the publication of over 400 utopian novels in English, fully half of which were published in just eight years, between 1887 (when Edward Bellamy’s hugely influential novel Looking Backward appeared) and 1895. Bellamy’s novel and William Morris’s response in News from Nowhere (1890) not only sparked a craze for utopia-writing that lasted over a decade; they jump-started a vogue for utopias set in the future.

Of course both dystopias and utopias are equally unlikely.

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 Weaponizing music: When Music is Torture.

The idea that music can be used to control territory and influence behavior is at the heart of Hirsch’s 2012 book, Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment. She demonstrates how music has been used—by police, prosecutors, and judges as well as by businesses and ordinary people—to shape American notions of what is “right” and who “belongs” where. 

A few years ago, the city of West Palm Beach, FL made headlines for blasting the children’s tune “Baby Shark” to discourage unhoused people from sleeping in parks. In the aftermath, Hirsch received emails from journalists around the country asking about the history of music as a tool for spatial control. People are still surprised that music can be used in negative ways: they think music is supposed to be sublime and uplifting, Hirsch says, but music can just as easily be destructive. That destructiveness is not something to cover up or shy away from. It’s part of the power of music.

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One commentator recently asked why does anyone read Slipped Disc? The answer is because Norman Lebrecht often has those interesting stories no-one else seems to. Here is one example: WHY OBOES COST THE EARTH.

A high-end oboe can cost $14,000, four times as much as top flute.

Why is that? Something to do with scarce African blackwood and rare craftsmanship.

He embeds this clip:

You can get a high-quality concert guitar for between $5,000 and $10,000 but violins and cellos cost a small fortune, roughly like buying a house. And that is for modern instruments, Stradivariuses and Guarneris cost seven figures.

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I had an LP way back with the John Cage Piano Concerto on one side and Lucas Foss' Baroque Variations on the other. All I remember is the wild recomposition of the Prelude to the E major violin partita which starts at the 13:45 mark on this clip:

We think of Glenn Gould as being primarily a Bach interpreter, but he was also an advocate of the music of Arnold Schoenberg.

And finally, The Ramones:

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