Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-12-03 - 12:28 p.m.

The Ligeti S-Qs have arrived. No 1 is new to me but sounded really good on a first listen through. In the notes Ligeti explains that he was inspired by Bartok 3 & 4 and this may be why it sounds well to my ears. It reminded me a bit of Britten - possibly his No 2. So far so good with Ligeti No 2 as well which may be easier to realize in the recording studio than in performance. Apparently this S-Q looked back at Berg’s Lyric Suite which I vaguely remember was also inspired - or maybe provoked - by Bartok.

There is something about the S-Q palette that suits all this - whatever ‘this’ may be. I played the Lyric Suite arrangement for orchestra earlier in the week and I thought it sounded dreadful - it lost all its elegance and become pompous. That CD also has Wozcek and Lulu Suites which sound much better - the music is about that richer sounder palette. There is something very compelling about Adorno’s hypothesis that in Berg the musical material develops by consuming its own substance. It makes you wonder whether there is any music which doesn’t do this for example? That’s the thing about Adorno - its hard work but there’s an occasional idea that you get hold of and is really powerful. Like the idea that in late Beethoven he has become alienated from his material.

I am in L-town this weekend. Tomorrow is the Dave Douglas day with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group - but not the concert which will happen on James‘ next birthday and will include both the new DD work and DD playing the Webern trumpet concerto. BCMG have commissioned a piece from DD and he has flown in from NYC for four days to rehearse it - and tomorrow they open the doors on the process.

I was looking at the referrers to this site and I saw that one had come in on the CZ101 - also googled up was a site dedicated to abusing devices. The CZ101 is apparently an abusable device - mine is so abused that it has stopped working. The site also has downloadable files of other devices being abused - one of which is the early 80s Texas maths tuition device - so I took this down and began to cut it up and harmonise bits and repeat bits and generally Wavelab around with it. Then I started to put some guitar chords on. Then the door buzzer went - this is a very rare event. It was the police. I went to the front door and they had the wrong flat. But it was a salient moment.

Generally I have lost the point on making music for a bit - and I have been concentrating on technology education. Children in the OECD countries by and large are much less keen on this than their counterparts in the developing countries and everywhere boys are less keen than girls. This is put down to a rise in antiscience sentiments -a phenomenon which has been detected at other times. For example between 1932 and 1939 applications to technical high schools in Germany dropped by half.

The project of making science education more relevant was one I was involved in for about a year 30 years ago and I have been looking at various successor initiatives. One of the reasons for the rise of anti-science is thought by some to be the ideas that some of the people that knew back then were working on - obviously there’s more to it than a few people in Edinburgh having weird ideas. The student revolution of 1968 also comes into it.

Anyway I have been pulling some of this stuff together (on chargeable time) and also buying a few books on the client.

One arrived yesterday - the most recent by Bruno Latour. It is quite French. Latour fell out with one of the people I knew in Edinburgh and in this book he is clearly pissed off with being blamed for the rise of anti-science. I skimmed the first 100 or so pages yesterday. I think I need to triangulate this book with one of the Knowledge Management books I bought about six months ago - which is co written by Cohendet and Amin - a geographer in Durham - and also with Brian Smith’s book on object based programming. . Maybe Latour has worked out why computer systems so rarely deliver.

I have a bit of a thing about the French and technology at the moment - I found a great article yesterday about how Renault sharpened their product development approach in the 90s. I have been invited to a lunchtime seminar at the Said Business School in Oxford on Wednesday which I have had to decline and I was ferreting around on the MIT site where the seminar host publishes some of her stuff. I found an associate of hers who is at the Ecole Normale and discovered he had written the Renault thing up. (I am actually going to be in Oxford on Wednesday night for the Davy Graham - Les Cousins event.)

All of this has some currency because G Brown is in the middle of a massive binge on technology and enterprise. Since the economy has fallen over he needs some new riffs to bolster his rep. There will be even more on Monday when the Leitch Review is published on whether the economy produces the right portfolio of skills for the Brownian vision.

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