Tuesday, October 7, 2008


The Italian composer Pangloni is a bit of an acquired taste---considered by many to be mentally unhinged. This reputation stems from the fact that he once created an entire symphony based on shattering, mutilating, or otherwise destroying a series of small glass objects in sequence. Several musicians refuse to perform these acts for fear of severely cutting themselves in the process. The public finds his radical concepts intriguing but often fail to show up for their performances. The New York Times at least bothers to review the piece for their Sunday supplement, though the comments made to describe the event are hardly encouraging nor particularly favorable.

Even more salacious and unpopular was Pangloni's series of piano etudes, each requiring a performer to file and hack away at the heavy wire of the instrument, producing an abrasive, annoying sound that sounds not unlike fingers on a chalk board. As theoretical constructs, the conductor's ideas are fascinating. As effective performances, however, they are utterly disastrous. Pagloni will always remain a curiosity, but will toil in obscurity for the remainder of his days.

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