Spent a few hours listening to the performances at the BANG ON A CANMarathon 2009 with a friend of mine who has little patience for la sonorité artistique. She described much of what she heard as "beehive music." I had to laugh. She wasn't wrong.
Repetition breeds familiarity. Maybe familiarity breeds the opposite of contempt ... narcosis? Anyway, it was Phil Kline's "John the Revelator" -- performed by the vocal ensemble Lionheart and the string quartet ETHEL -- that turned out to be what I liked best, even though I'm no fan of churchy music. (Sorry, no video.)
Incidental intelligence: During the performance of Gavin Bryars' "The Sinking of the Titanic," also played by the Smith Quartet, news came that the Titanic's last survivor had just died. I presume the music had nothing to do with it.
Postscript: "Look at these photos," a friend writes, "and think of a bunch of dipshits making music with coffee grinders or Volan's arty little piece appropriating South African tunes to make another of the limp-spined Left's innocuous, feel-good, PC statements (and written about 30 years ago which makes its status as new music rather questionable). Beehive music is a good term for Bang on a Can. It's a collective of yuppie drones and worker bees legitimizing blinkered Honkiness with cute Kultur."