Thursday, April 29, 2010

Have You No Glass?

Vappu, or May Day, is traditionally a labor holiday in parts of this continent, with parades and political speech. However, in Finland it's a day of fun and frivolity, the latter of which I appreciate, while avoiding the local manifestation of the former. In the spirit of the occasion, I offer a sub rosa exchange picked up on yesterday's wires, with names redacted for security reasons. (Hat tip to Capt. H below for the title.)

Dear Member [sic] of the XxxX teaching staff,

Apart from the academic overkill of 'Love To Love You Baby' and 'I Feel Love' by Donna Summer, 'Music Is The Answer' by Danny Tenaglia, and 'Out There Somewhere?' by Orbital, did you or did you not (either directly or via one of your associates) also infect the minds of Our Youngest and Most Innocent with the 1987 CBS recording of Philip Glass' "Akhnaten" (M2K 42457)? Think carefully before answering, and please be honest.

If 'yes', you have left behind something we don't need, at the nearby Auditorium. Please pick it up (either directly or via one of your associates) at the Xxxxxxxx Academy Command Centre ("Reference Library", 5th floor). Note that we are closed on Kaatripäev (1.5.), and close already at 4pm on Walpurgisnacht (this Friday). Apart from that, normal visiting hours apply.

We would like to remind you that we know where you live and we have eyes on your kid.

Most kindly,

capt. H.
Xxxxxxxx Academy Library Command Centre
The "Stiftskapitel Modernismus" Project
Star Year 20100428-1346

The ominous reply:

From: M.
To: H.
Subject: RE: Have You No Glass?

Dear Sir,

You have in your possession documents of a classified nature belonging to one of our associates in the Minimalist Underground, an off-book government-sponsored organization. How they came into your possession is irrelevant. Failure to immediately surrender the aforementioned documents back into our possession, and to sign a non-disclosure agreement restricting your rights to divulge any information contained therein, will result in the severest penalties, as detailed in Minimal Law no. 413, Par. 48b, Subsection 4. Previous violators have been subjected to days of continuous diatonicism, in accordance with approved interrogation practices. The results have not been pretty.

Our Dear Leader will personally collect the documents in question on Friday by no later than HH:MM local time (GMT +2). Until such time, the documents shall be kept secure by you in a non-recyclable plastic pouch, vacuum sealed and date-marked, with such mark's authenticity to be notarized. Failure to do so will result in penalties under ML no. 418, Par. 15, SS 4'33", or the so-called "Reich treatment".

Finally, as neither you nor any of your associates have ever been to our Headquarters, we doubt the veracity of your surveillance claim. However, given the events of the past weekend, if you would like to remove our firstborn from our care, we will not stand in your way.


Mxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx
Committee for Minimalist Re-education
Finland Chapter

Followed the next morning by the offender's panicked missive, and the organization's response:

From: N.
To: M.
Subejct: please read this

Dear M.,

Please understand this is highly confidential. I need help.

Today I received two extremely ominous messages. Curiously, they were brought to my attention by one H. , and - ever stranger - they seem to be picked up from your FaceBook pages. The documents concern a recording of the "opera" Akhnaten by the "composer" Philip Glass, a CD which apparently has been found in the auditorium where I gave a lecture last Friday. The tone of the documents was nothing short of threatening, and they contained hideous accusations and insinuations. M., you know me and my music. You know that I am not now nor have I ever been a Minimalist! My 'Urbaner Nachtstück' contains a dodecaphonic inversion canon! The only phase shifting in my music has been the result of the bloody violinists not managing to stay together! I don't know where the measure repeat sign is in Finale! I. I was. I was. I was educated. I was educated in. I was educated in the. I was educated in the Xxxxxxxx. I was educated in the Xxxxxxxx Academy. How dare they! How dare they! How dare they! How Now?

M., I'm afraid things look bad for me. Because it's true: I did in fact play a bit of that Glass "opera" during my lecture but this was only to demonstrate that it's nothing more than brainless disco music with lyrics in Akkadian. I'm afraid there's more. In April, 1987, I paid a short visit to Glass's studios in New York, precisely at the moment when they were mixing the said CBS CD. But I swear this was only because my then girlfriend needed to use the bathroom there. OK, I might have talked a little bit to Mr. Glass. Yes, I might even have written something about that but this was largely incomprehensible, in Finnish, and in a musicology students' magazine. They can't have found about that, can they?

I'm scared. They mentioned the Reich Treatment. I believe that's the one that involves Reed Phase. That would be the end of me. Please help. What should I do? Should I do as instructed and pick up the CD from the Xxxxxxx? Or do you think it's a (pitch class) set-up?


From: M.
To: N.
Subject: RE: please read this

Dear Brother,

Your worries are well-founded, but ultimately groundless. Had you still been involved in minimalist-type activities, or any other activities that could be construed as aesthetic threats toward the dominant national order, you would indeed be in line for serious penalties. However, given my status as double agent within the administration, I was able to convince the authorities that you have, in fact, reformed, that your modernist credentials are valid and your convictions deeply held. There was some doubt, but I was able to make them believe that you pose no threat at this time. Your earlier public flirtation with forbidden stylistic elements and pamphleteering was, they came to accept, a youthful indiscretion.

As to the return of the incriminating documents, I believe it to be safe for you to meet with the contact for the Row Police who has them in his possession. The Reich Treatment (known to include, but not be limited to the playing of Four Organs at high volume) will not be applied to you, as you have confessed to your earlier failings and have come to accept the Truth of the Old Order (equally truthful in retrograde inversion, if almost unrecognizable). This extreme form of interrogation is reserved for the unrepentant. However, if you still have concerns for your safety, I can and will make the meeting tomorrow and return the evidence to you, whereupon I highly recommend that you destroy it for the sake of our personal safety, and that of the movement.

Fear not, young soldier, the Revolution is at hand. Glorious will be the fall of the Old Order, and history will sing our praises in four- to eight-bar repeating modules for all eternity.


Mxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx
Co-chair, etc.


Anna said...

You're killing me.

Joanna said...


Anonymous said...

My name and address is:

Antonio Osorio
Paseo de la Alameda 7-A-8º
46010 España

I’m doing a musicology study of the Christmas responsorial “O Magnum Mysterium", along the history of occidental sacred music. I have more than 390 references of that work in my actual study, and 128 scores.

Browsing in the web I have encountered the notice of your work for chorus of that respond.

Could you help me in the way to access to a copy of that score?

Thanks in advance for your answer.

Antonio Osorio