Wednesday, July 18, 2007

UNKNOWN MASTERS #2 - Knisha Vløgstøffer

I first met Knisha Vløgstøffer in my Composer Isolation Chamber back in 1994. She was the cleaning lady. She still makes a living that way, but I've taken her under my wing to cultivate in her a sense of compositional astution akin to my own. Over decades of strenuous training, Knisha has finally composed her first piece, MACHINATIONS for Penny Whistle and Tape. I'm pleased to host an excerpt from that piece on Classical Pontifications:

MACHINATIONS for Penny Whistle and Tape

Professor McJeebie: Why did you write a piece for penny whistle instead of a more virtuosic, traditional instrument?
Vløgstøffer: I am simple cleaning lady. I write the simple instruments. It have desired many times for to play the penny whistle, like a dog desires to have a dog food. I make the penny whistle to express for myself.
Professor McJeebie: Why do you feel the need to express yourself?
Vløgstøffer: Only the penny whistle feels the need. The tape is no expressive.
Professor McJeebie: So, the tape part is where you find a true love for modern composition?
Vløgstøffer: Yes, sir.
Professor McJeebie: I'm sure our listeners will have a lot of questions for you after they listen to the excerpt. What would you like to say to answer their questions?
Vløgstøffer: Yes, sir, I have much so to say for the people who listen. The music for their ears and eyes is like a present from God. He gives to us a composition just like he gives unto to us a child, the baby Jesus. This composition for me is not less than the baby Jesus, the Messiah, but it is up to each and everybody to accept Jesus for themself. Just like that, they will want to accept Him and with my composition.
Professor McJeebie: Thank you, Mrs. Vløgstøffer, for the wonderful spiritual femininity you bring to modern composition. I'm sure our audience will appreciate your soft touch as much as I do.
Vløgstøffer: God bless you, Professor.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Professor McJeebie Declines White House Invitation

Dear President Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the Patriotic Computer Music Festival on September 24. In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of having 85,000 people listen to my Etude for Computer #142 - Faith in the Unheard is a magnificent prospect, especially in light of my recent community-building educational efforts in the tribal regions of Africa through which I exposed the ignorant tribespeople (especially the children) to the complicated cerebrations of computer-centric composition.

As a professor at the Hotel Cadillac, I have taught in many different settings: my office, a variety of classrooms, and even a lecture hall. As a teacher, I have created a lasting influence on the young men and slightly older women who wish to carry on my legacy.

When you have witnessed an African tribesperson - someone who doesn't understand civilized music in the least - learn to accurately notate the wheezing howls of his ritualistic ceremonies for inclusion in the Norton Anthology of Historically Accurate Transcriptions -- when you have seen this kind of progress, you can't help but wonder: Would it be better if all top-down decisions on behalf of democratic citizens are made by composers of the highest scholarly repute?

A distorted musical heritage, the dismissal of compositional counterpoint, and the general acceptance of the untruths of so-called "arrangements" -- all of these lamentable hand-me-downs have been embraced by your administration, with the utmost lack of respect for academic integrity.

So many American professors who had once felt pride in our country's musical reputation - at a diverse range of elite institutions such as Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Juilliard, the Hotel Cadillac and even its sister school at Eastman - now feel anguish and shame. They are ashamed of the current regime's use of virtual orchestras at presidential inaugurations, studio musicians at white house galas, and composers who are forced to "arrange" patriotic warhorses every time there is a pyrotechnic display.

This kind of musical ignorance must end. If it is not too late for Africa, then it is not too late for the United States of America.

Heebie McJeebie
TANDY Professor of Electronic Music
Hotel Cadillac