I was occasionally in the presence of the wonderful photographer Irving Penn in the 80's. I will never forget a simple statement he made then, "I keep getting better the older I get because I do learn more as I go along."
There is a pedagogic nature to the writing, as the pieces teach you what they are about as they go along, and they are written in spiral form, whereby each successive phrase, and quartet, is an elaboration or development on the previous.
The established model of presenting new works to audiences is changing and the audiences are changing dramatically too. An entire generation of composers and performers are taking the presentation of their works into their own hands.
This seemingly evasive conceit reflects a decidedly nuanced approach to the storied, well-trodden path that is Opera -- openly acknowledging more recent "experimental" precedents even while turning further back in operatic history for creative inspiration.
While the genres of punk and metal may seem like the unlikeliest of bedfellows for a musical tradition born out of religious practice, their common American music ancestry may help to explain Sacred Harp's cultural staying power.
Composer and pianist Timothy Andres's take on the subject of demigods in art is far removed from conventional Romanticism: "We like to imagine that our artists have this kind of divine inspiration. I think if they say they do, they're probably having you on," says Andres.
"This piece is different from the other pieces I wrote, a lot of them, because this is a very different aesthetic. This music about playing very few notes, but to really emphasize the subtlety between notes other than the orchestra piece maybe you heard."