Proposal for More On Innovative Music(ian)s, a second book of RK essays on music

About its predecessor, On Innovative Music(ian)s (Limelight, 1989), reviewers said:

The musics mentioned [in On Innovative Music(ian)s] are rock, contemporary music, blues. Kostelanetz continues to be Kostelanetz, an original voice in American letters, fiercely independent, alive to the nuances of various ages, a fighter for wars never quite declared. Highly literate essays from three decades.--The Book Reader (March/April 1990)

Culled from more than two decades of his writings on music, these highly readable essays [in On Innovative Music(ian)s] reveal Kostelanetz as a critic of wide range and eclectic taste. Consistent with his literary criticism, he is an advocate of the new and experimental. His strongest work deals with the classical avant-garde. One could not wish for a more understanding and articulate guide to the demanding world of contemporary composition than Kostelanetz.--Lawrence Rungren, Small Press (June 1990)

This week, I would like to talk about a writer who, more than any other I know, has managed to embrace all that variety in its full complexity, from the blues of B. B. King to the intricacies of the 12-tone system, from the profound simplicities of Alan Hovhaness to the convolutions of Elliott Carter whose hard-core audience he defines quite precisely as "that sophisticated and discriminating audience who finds Babbitt too difficult and Cage too trivial." The writer I have been quoting is Richard Kostelanetz, and a collection of his essays, On Innovative Music(ian)s has just been published.--Joe McLellan, WETA-FM (Washington, DC, 11/20/1989)

For stylish writing, one turns to Richard Kostelanetz's hundred-and-umpteenth publication, On Innovative Music(ian)s. . . . My favorite article is a jaundiced overview of writings on contemporary music, ranging from The New Yorker to George Perle's theoretical treatises, called "Music Criticism and the Literate Layman"; published in 1967 in Perspectives of New Music, it reads as though penned yesterday. . . . Kostelanetz is best at evoking personal glimpses of shadowy figures: Alan Hovhaness, Glenn Gould, P. D. Q. Bach's alter ego. Didn't you want to know that Peter Schickele's ear-training course was Phil Glass's favorite course at Juilliard? Kostelanetz always segues to a judgment, and in concentrated doses, his glinting flakes of bravado snowball into presumptuousness. But his opinions are surgically precise, so uncontaminated by generality that the offending ones are easy to pick out. What remains is priceless.--Kyle Gann, Village Voice (October 9, 1990)


The book will be divided into three sections, one about subjects, the other about individuals, a third of interviews: For the first I have essays on Text-Sound Poetry, Twenty-Five Years of Concerts, the radio plays of Glenn Gould, John Cage's work in German radio, the music department of the National Endowment for the Arts, my own composition Kaddish. The second will have have previously uncollected profiles of Arvo Part, Lou Harrison, Nicolas Slonimsky, Peter Schickele, Alan Hovhaness, Bobby McFerrin. The concluding section will reprint, from A Musical Quarterly, extended interviews with both Lou Harrison and Nicolas Slonimsky. The other pieces originally appeared in magazines such as Boulevard, Journal of Musicology, Connoisseur, The World & I, Precisely, Ear. Another option for this new book could include reprinting choice essays from the previous collection. In that case, the more appropriate title might be ON INNOVATIVE MUSIC(IAN)S AGAIN. Publishers wishing to consider a manuscript are invited to contact the author. Thank you.