Conversation with Paul Dunkel about the League of Composers Concert in Manhattan

Greg note to Paul: "I really did not know what I was going too "The Concert', but so glad I went so I can now think about what music is and should be. But I don't know really just an interesting idea. There are so many forms of music how can one choose one over the other. I think going to a concert of all contemporary classical listening was the first time for me. Maybe this should be considered the way to bring this kind of music to the public. For a regular symphony concert is divided up into so many different eras, maybe it really doesn't give the concert a really solid flavor. But this concert was all 20th and 21st. Century Music. It was completely obvious. It is not a crowd pleasing performance just new music, which is hard to take in at first. During the classical era the performers would play all the repeats so the audience to get more of the flavor of the new composition.


I have been thinking about the concert the audience, the place, the program with my name on it, He left it that entrance for me because the subway was late. Thank You Paul Dunkel. The performance, the musicians, the musical styles, the joy in it or no joy in it just musical pain which I think I heard too.

For me music is not academic and this concert was almost completely academic especially in the program notes. Everybody had the same teachers, the same schools, the same politically correct experiences. In order to produce music one has to go to these schools and be in that order of things. I don't think so, but these composers follow one path from what I read. But I come from a very different educational perspective but at the same time I have the same education too.

I grew up with jazz, big band music, jazz chamber music, band music where we performed the classical pieces and marching band pieces. In high school I studied in the summer with the Fine Arts Quartet and NY Woodwind Quintet and we performed a lot of modern pieces from that period. I really did not find any of this music in the concert so how can I relate to it? Why should I relate to it, why should any body relate to it? There were some very moving pieces and sections in all the scores. One cannot listen to a piece one time and get the proper perspective. All the performers did a great job playing in this concert and they all should be proud of their effort. I wish I could say more but, if I did I believe it would be disrespectful to the effort that was put forth in this concert. I suggest you look for these pieces on the internet and see if they are there for your own listening consideration.

Anyway, not sure if I will write something about this concert just thinking about it, but I will and hope it has some meaning. There are so many styles of music I guess I am saying I am not sure where I want to be at this time in my life. I know I could never join such a group THE LEAGUE OF COMPOSERS for it is too restrictive for me. Because they chose just one style of harmony and orchestration which I found so similar with the four composers. The melodies, rhythms, harmony were different in thickness and space. But it was from the same period just like music was in the Baroque Period.


I met a violinist on the subway, and I asked him if he played in the concert at Miller Hall. He said yes, and then he asked me if I enjoyed the concert. I said yes of course. He was so happy I enjoyed the concert. What a surprise for me. I am glad I made him happy about it. I guess he knows that new music concerts don't always go over in a big way.

Paul Wrote: I believe that contemporary works should be mixed on a program with standard fare. Isolating the new music is not a good idea—it's just for the very "in" crowd.

Greg Said: Usually I can remember the music after a concert but this one was difficult for me to remember. Just too many new pieces all together and in a lot of ways sounded the same.
Looking at the program seems to bring back ideas about what each piece sounded like. Maybe I can write something about them.

Loved the poems from the female composer, Saariaho, mystical of course is why I liked them.
Greg commented, the next day I read the program for it was so long, 14 pages single spaced of text. I just put the program in my pocket and watched and listened to the Concert. That was difficult enough without trying to read 14 pages of text. When I finished reading the program I thought it was too long; how was one to remember all of that? So many names and facts. I guess they did that for history reasons more than anything.

I believe it was about making a modern composer and to think about their ideas and concerns about modern music.
It was so academic which for me from my first observation is not what music is all about, but I am not sure what music is all about to tell you the truth. I know that music is not all academic, it is emotional, sincere, pure and hopefully listenable and not noise. Music has to have melody, harmony, rhythm, orchestration, and form that we can hear and understand. Well most of the pieces had all of this, but at times it got confusing. I am sure there will be people who disagree with me on my understanding of what music is, but that is OK.


Paul Commented: I agree with a lot of your feelings about the concert. Lots of that stuff is "academic" music. Most of those pieces are played once and then never again. There is a reason for that. That's why I always felt that modern pieces should be mixed in with traditional ones. You get a sense of perspective—where the new piece fits in stylistically and historically.

Flute:Paul Said talking about his work, "Just got my flute fixed. Found out it had a million leaks. When it doesn't sound good I figure it is me." Working the Royal Ballet next week and will be busy. I'd like to get out to Chicago after I finish and before I have to go to Saratoga with the NYC Ballet. Paul invited me to his apartment to work on the flute with me. Maybe you could come down sometime at the end of next week when the schedule winds down a bit. Trying also to work on a piece for band but I am stuck. Paul is taking on too much I think.

Paul made a CD's of his last Flute Concert at the NY Flute Club and is trying to raise money for its distribution. My idea to help him do that. I went to a concert, or fund raising concert for opera once invited by my x-school, University of North Texas music here in NY. They flew up an opera group to perform two or three contemporary operas to raise money for the opera company, here and it was down around 34 street and fifth avenue speak easy bar, which was a big old house. The place was awful for music, but I soon found out it wasn't about the music it was about raising money for the opera company and the young singers were there to promote this idea.

They even had a program about the fund raising. And handed out forms for people to donate money. I think you (Paul Dunkel) should put on one of these programs for your cd's promotions. Mary Ann Tu is a fund raising person and is active in promoting fund raising events who is the director of the ensemble program at the flute club; I think you should put on one of these programs for your cd's promotions. I was a member of the ensemble for a few months when I decided it wasn't for me. But she is a well meaning person and I believe she has connections too, from her work with banks I believe. "not sure" I am sure she would love to help you because of your back ground, position and experience.

Everyday life with Greg Henry Waters: Just got back from shopping and a long walk to rite aid and a corner store and bought some food. My grand children just called me they were so happy I bought them three skate boards all the same kind. The three boys, they have to play you know.
The girls, two of them were left out, is that discrimination? Modern women would think so. My GF from Hawaii just sent me e-mail she finally handed in the divorce papers to the court. I think that was really bothering her. She told me to write her more. I stopped writing really.
It is too bad we have to go through these drama periods in life.

My Mother said, I am at the non-working age now, what do you think? We contributed enough to life what else can we really do? We can laugh at life. I saw a Woody Allen movie so funny, He keeps saying life is meaningless over and over again. He tries every religion and doesn't like any of them.

Paul, well at least you are in the working pool. I am not into anything except my web site which doesn't produce anything. So I am laughing at that or is it crying? Not Sure. Paul leads an active musical life in NYC playing classical flute with the NY City Ballet at Lincoln Center.
Keep in touch when you can. Greg

Performers The Orchestra of the League of Composers Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 8 PM Miller Theatre, New York City

with Conductors

Louis Karchin and Scott Voyles,

Singers Heather Buck, Soprano and Ethan Herschenfeld, Bass



Composers: First half, Irving Fine (Notturno for Strings and Harp 1951) and David Felder (Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux (2013)) , Second Half Morris Rosenzweig A league of Notions, World Premiere and Kaija Saariaho Leinolaulut Songs: 4 movements.