Updating opinions

April 23, 2007

Many of us go through life living our lives following policies and opinions made up by 6 year olds, or 10 year olds, or 13 year olds, or 20 year olds, or… Meaning, WE have made up our minds that something is true, or true for us, and that is the end of it. Case closed. When it comes to things like: be careful around sharp knives, or don’t hit other people, or don’t eat those red berries, or drive carefully, we are certain these opinions become policies and will last for our entire lives.

But opinions like: I don’t like ochra, or I don’t like seafood, or I don’t like modern music, or I don’t like such and such person, are opinions that have usually come about through an unpleasant experience like having ochra prepared poorly, or smelling a rotting fish and deciding all seafood is bad, or hearing a piece of boring music, learning that it is “modern music” and come to the conclusion that I don’t like modern music, or that so-and-so said something icky about me 30 years ago, so it’s over: forever.

Most of us have personal opinions and policies for ourselves that we came up with when we were children, and grade schoolers, and high schoolers and sometimes college students. I have to kick myself to be reminded that I need to take out those old, limp trophies and polish them off, make sure that they are still valid, and update my opinions.

I now love raw oysters

That used to be true until I had both last year served as dim sum and yummy: opinion changed.

Who knows, but it’s interesting to go back and listen to what you listened to, say, in high school, listen to it again and realize it wasn’t really that great of a song, it was just in the air during a fun time, and brings back those memories.

I have lately developed an indifference for gin and have much less of it. I’m crazy about Syrah and Shiraz.

From 1975-7 I wanted to go to Germany and study with Stockhausen. He was my god. I studied every note he wrote and every word he uttered. The thrill is gone these days. I rarely listen to his music but do pull out his scores to illustrate some musical point for my graduate students from time to time.

I still love Stravinsky, but THRENI and THE FLOOD and ABRAHAM AND ISAAC not so much.

I’m liking it more and more, the more better performances come out. But don’t make me listen to it all the time, and don’t expect the world to embrace it either. No need to over-estimate his importance in the music world.


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rogerbourland.com » Blog Archive » Alan Rich, music critic
April 29, 2007 at 5:52 pm

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David Ocker April 23, 2007 at 12:40 pm

I’m right with you on oysters, jellyfish, and Stravinsky. I’d guess I’m more anti-Stockhausen & Schoenberg and I disagree completely about tripe – but, in truth, it’s been a while (which is your point, I think).

Roger Bourland April 25, 2007 at 6:34 pm

[regarding correspondence regarding new music politics in LA]

It is YOU that should write that book David. YOU. You can interview all the rest of us west coast mafiosi. I’ll tell all if you do.

David Ocker April 25, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Oh, Roger, please don’t say that. I’m not psychically predisposed to be a writer – my brain doesn’t work that way – I’m so much happier with abstractions like notes and rhythms. I started a blog to have a place to post the music I’m having ton’s o’fun writing and was a bit surprised to discover that I must write stuff for the blog. But since I AM a good TYPIST I can go on and on.

I read the Alex Ross New Yorker article about Esa-Pekka this afternoon. I mentioned above that John Adams had programmed the minimalism concerts and hoped he get to do more programming.

In Ross’ article he mentions that John is programming a California composers festival for the Phil, apparently 3 seasons hence. I knew this but didn’t want to break the news of some secret. I wasn’t specifically told to keep my mouth shut, but I did. Now you know everything I know. Honest.

Meanwhile a cat is playing the piano to tell me she wants to be fed. Gotta feed the kitties.

P.S. Thanks for the link back. I’ve known for a long time that people with positive personalities live longer. But I’ve always been psychically predisposed towards pessimism. Sigh.

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