Music

The Score

Coda: Departure

The Score

HECTOR BERLIOZ

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I never expected The Score to last eight months, let alone eight years, a veritable eon in newspaper publishing. It's time for me to stop before I go stale. I do so happily; I need to spend more time on my own music.

As a composer, my feelings for the strange business of writing about music are best encapsulated by Hector Berlioz (1803–1869). Famed for concocting that seminal symphony of the Romantic Era, the Symphonie Fantastique (1830), Berlioz anchors a lineage of composers great and small who wrote about music to propagate their aesthetic beliefs, discover and publicize fellow musicians, and, of course, put food on the table. In his Memoirs, the great French composer and critic reflected: "In justice to myself, I can at least say that never for any consideration whatever have I been put off expressing in the most ungrudging terms what I feel about works or artists that I admire. I have warmly praised men who have done me a great deal of harm and with whom I am no longer on speaking terms. Indeed, the sole compensation that journalism offers me for all its torments is the scope it gives to my passion for the true, the great, the beautiful, wherever they exist. It is sweet to me to praise an enemy who has merit—as well as being a duty which any honest man takes pride in fulfilling."

I had immense help: I want to thank my editors Jennifer Maerz, Dave Segal, Megan Seling, Jonathan Zwickel, Eric Grandy, and Jen Graves, along with copy mavens Scott McGeath, Anne Mathews, Amy Kate Horn, Kim Hayden, Gillian Anderson, Jesse Vernon, and everyone else who perused (and sometimes rescued) my paragraphs before a looming deadline. All of you made me a better writer. I'm grateful to art and layout gurus Kelly O, Aaron Huffman, Dan Paulus, Madeline Macomber, and Ananda La Vita, as well as to the numerous artists whose photos and illustrations elegantly accompanied this column.

Devouring acres of music while writing The Score humbled me. Writing in the Village Voice about "the critic as composer," Kyle Gann declared: "He is not allowed to believe, as other composers so often do, that his own compositional idiom is the only valid one. Faced with the entire panoply of current styles, and obliged to spend some time inside the head of every composer he hears, he has hammered home on a weekly basis the contingency and relativity of his compositional choices." Amen.

If I end up following in the footsteps of other composer-journalists who wrote terrific music, including Berlioz, Robert Schumann, Claude Debussy, Roberto Gerhard, Virgil Thomson, Benjamin Boretz, Tom Johnson, and Gann, I shall only be too happy. Farewell! recommended

 

Comments (16) RSS

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1
This is distressing news indeed!

Thank you so much for your years of service to the arts in Seattle, Christopher. You have shed light on some woefully underappreciated facets of the music world in this city. Your shoes would be pretty much impossible to fill, but I do hope there is a plan to keep a version of this column running under a new author.

Best of luck in all your future creative endeavors.
Posted by Levislade http://ballofwax.org on May 26, 2010 at 2:16 PM · Report this
2
thank you Christopher for your always intelligent, always thoughtful column, and for turning us on to the unusual and eccentric events that somehow get overlooked by pretty much everyone else. you continued a long illustrious Seattle tradition, dating back to KRAB radio (Herb Levy, Soundworks), continuing on with Phil Woods' 'Outer Limits' on KCMU (KEXP). best of luck with your music!
Posted by musicslug on May 26, 2010 at 7:41 PM · Report this
blackhook 3
Say it ain't so Christopher!

Over the years you have commented cogently - and entertainingly - on a wider range of music than any commentator in memory.

To say you will be missed is a gross understatement of our new reality - which is that i don't see anyone replacing your humanistic & thoughtful voice. I hope you'll consider coming back...if only in a sporadic way, or to comment on special events as you see fit.

Thanks again for your wonderful commentaries that touched the outer orbit of musical sensibilities. I wish you all the best in your composing endeavors, and here's hoping that we haven't heard the last from you as a keen observer of all things musical.

And especially I look forward to hearing your next opus(es), however obliquely they may be influenced by the Symphonie Fantastique or La Mer or the ethereal harmonies & sardonic wit of the Velvet Gentleman.
Posted by blackhook on May 27, 2010 at 3:05 AM · Report this
4
NO! Don't leave us, Christopher! Your column has been the only reason I pick up "The Stranger" -- and one of the only writers left in the area who reviews adventurous music (jazz and beyond)...!
Keep up the good works, anyway...

-/:}>
Posted by broo on May 27, 2010 at 12:56 PM · Report this
5
With CDL's departure, I fear that nobody else will give voice to intelligent, exploratory music in any of our city's more visible publications. Going back to his tenure as co-publisher of the late, lamented Tentacle journal of Northwest creative music in the 1990s, Christopher has consistently championed the many underexposed and unrewarded creative musicians and composers who have labored in the shadows in a city otherwise dominated by ephemeral, superficial 'indie rock.' I know I speak for hundreds of other area musicians and music lovers in mourning the loss of his authoritative and eloquent voice. I wish him the very best in his unfolding career as a composer of rare gifts.
Alas, The Score will no doubt be replaced by another alt-rock gossip column detailing the sophomoric antics of overgrown adolescents, more's the pity.
Posted by nunatak on May 27, 2010 at 3:29 PM · Report this
6
With CDL's departure, I fear that nobody else will give voice to intelligent, exploratory music in any of our city's more visible publications. Going back to his tenure as co-publisher of the late, lamented Tentacle journal of Northwest creative music in the 1990s, Christopher has consistently championed the many underexposed and unrewarded creative musicians and composers who have labored in the shadows in a city otherwise dominated by ephemeral, superficial 'indie rock.' I know I speak for hundreds of other area musicians and music lovers in mourning the loss of his authoritative and eloquent voice. I wish him the very best in his unfolding career as a composer of rare gifts.
Alas, The Score will no doubt be replaced by another alt-rock gossip column detailing the sophomoric antics of overgrown adolescents, more's the pity.
Posted by nunatak on May 27, 2010 at 3:32 PM · Report this
7
This is a sad, sad day. What is so damned wrong with going stale?!? Thanks for these great columns for many years, and I only hope the Stranger will find another way to pay attention to creative and experimental music. Go well.
Posted by tbaker on May 28, 2010 at 4:27 PM · Report this
SLL 8
Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!
Posted by SLL on May 28, 2010 at 8:24 PM · Report this
SLL 9
Then again, if Chris isn't working for you guys I don't see any conflict of interest in giving him your first Stranger Music Genius award...
Posted by SLL on May 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM · Report this
10
Nooooo! You are the only Stranger music writer who actually matters! This is very sad, indeed.
Posted by j-han on May 29, 2010 at 7:40 AM · Report this
11
Ah man Chris, yours was the only music column worth reading here. But I look forward to hearing more of your music. Best of luck on all your further endeavors.
Posted by Big Unshaven Man on May 29, 2010 at 11:19 AM · Report this
12
aw maaaaan, will be sad to see you not at stranger---THANK YOU for your support. Happy having more time to compose! best tom varner
Posted by tomvarner on June 1, 2010 at 12:22 PM · Report this
13
This is a great loss. Seldom do we hear a knowledgeable voice reviewing music, contemporary or otherwise. I've really enjoyed reading all you have to say. Your open mind and thoughtful observations will be missed.
Posted by PaulRucker on June 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM · Report this
14
Dear Mr. Delaurenti,

I for one must say that I am happy to see you stop writing music criticism. In particular, I thought the hatchet job you did on the opera "Amelia."

May others treat your work with more respect than you treat theirs!
Posted by Cheeky Boy on June 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Christopher DeLaurenti 15
Thank you for the kind comments everyone - farewell!
Posted by Christopher DeLaurenti http://www.delaurenti.net/ on June 9, 2010 at 10:46 AM · Report this
16
Thank you for your knowledge and support of jazz, classical, and new musics. I will really miss reading your column. All best, Carolyn Graye
Posted by Carolyn Graye on June 28, 2010 at 9:58 PM · Report this

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