Category: Post-modernism

  • From Black Nationalism to Black Intergalacticism

    The visionary free jazz musician and Afrofuturist Sun Ra was a visiting artist and professor at the University of California-Berkeley in 1971. Here is fascinating audio from a lecture he gave in his Spring course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos.” The reading list for his course: The Egyptian Book of the Dead The Radix: […]

  • Batter My Heart

    (J. Robert Oppenheimer) How does contemporary art music respond to the moral problems of the age? John Adams wrote the opera Doctor Atomic, about the Manhattan Project — the top-secret World War II initiative to develop an atomic bomb before the Nazis could — in 2005. The libretto is by Peter Sellars, whom you will remember […]

  • Is it Composed? Is it Improvised?

    George Crumb (1929 – ) wrote Apparition, a song cycle for soprano and amplified piano, in 1979. The text is taken from Walt Whitman’s elegy on the death of Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” considered one of the greatest of all American poems. Crumb used the following excerpts from the poem: The night in […]

  • Black Men Play (with) the Classics

    More cross-cultural encounters: The great jazz pianist Jason Moran (above right) plays one of the late piano works of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), the Intermezzo op. 118 no. 2, with his trio, the Bandwagon.  Listen to what happens. The piece as Brahms wrote it: