Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ted Hearne's new piano suite "Parlor Diplomacy" (and its political corollary, "Timocracy")

This morning, I listened online to a new 20-minute contemporary piano suite called “Parlor Diplomacy” by Ted Hearne, performed (and written for) Timo Andres.  You can listen to the entire piano work on Ted’s site, here .  As I noted on a post-script on my Dec. 11, 2010 posting here, the work seems to have a satirical political meaning.  “Parlor diplomacy” is one thing, maybe how things get done (remember Jimmy Carter’s 1978 Camp David talks with Menachem Begin).  But Timo’s recent posting (link) enriched the meaning.  “Parlour Timocracy” might mean “local autocracy” over one’s life (following one’s own goals in an Ayn Rand-like manner rather than paying too much attention to the opinions of others), or it might mean a tight, if benevolent political system where things “really” get done. Facebook is something like that (a timocracy, or perhaps a zuckocracy) already, leading to results like Arab Spring.  The coined word is funny, given all the criticism of gridlock and partisan bickering in our own government in the US, and calls that the US needs a parliamentary system like Britain’s.

"Technically", the music emphasizes leggiero, with a lot of passage work in higher registers and bizarre, shifting meters. The second movement (the slow movement) actually recalls Brahms toward the very end, however.   

Is this music for libertarians?  Music for conservatives?  Let the Washington Times review it.  And let Fareed Zakaria analyze the “word”. And maybe "Barack" will play it on his laptop while on his Martha's Vineyard "vacances". 

Here's a YouTube clip from Ted Hearne's "Katrina Ballads", winner of the 2009 Gaudeamus Prize.


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