Sunday, January 21, 2007

short review of G. Cain Budds' dissertation on Nikita Koshkin

Wow! I can say that now that I know his dissertation is out there for people to read I don't NEED to blog so much about Koshkin's music. Most of what is available to be read about Koshkin's work is only in the form of what Matanya Ophee might call "liner notes musicology". For living composers who want some kind of private life this is as inevitable as it is understandable. The only downside is that this often means a detailed study of the work of a living composer doesn't really happen unless the composer is sufficiently a super-star to be considered worthy of the attention.

This dissertation adds to what you could read in liner notes by including a lot of basic biographical material that isn't available elsewhere by way of interviews the author conducted with Koshkin by various means of correspondance. He also includes a structural and thematic analysis of six of Koshkin's major works for solo guitar. With the exception of The Porcelain Tower these are all works you can order through Guitare Diffusion if you can't drive or can find at a well-stocked local vendor. This book is something I'd like to see have a more commercial release than just having a handful of copies through ProQuest UMI. This book is, if not all by itself, the first and only significant published written study of Koshkin's music, is also a candidate for what I would consider to be a pretty good popular level introduction to Koshkin's music for musicians in general. There are ample extracts from scores and the discography and list of published works is solid.

The only things I wish could be added to research on Koshkin's music is that someone would investigate his chamber music. I may just have to do that myself.

For the sake of trivia I found it fun and funny that Koshkin's favorite rock bands included The Rolling Stones, Yes, Pinkfloyd, and most of all Led Zeppelin! It's just more proof that musicology departments should be able to account for how the "high" and "low" in music in the contemporary scene cross-pollinate.

One word of warning, the dissertation as published is NOT cheap.


Serena said...

Good post.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Thanks. By way of update/correction, The Porcelain Tower is back in print.