John Zorn

John Zorn

Tradition and Transgression
John Brackett
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/19/2008
Format: Paperback 28 b&w photos, 46 figures
ISBN: 978-0-253-22025-7
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John Zorn is one of the most prolific and active American composers/performers working today. He has been a fixture of New York's "Downtown Scene" since the mid-70s as a tireless proponent of avant-garde and experimental music. Despite the acclaim and respect he has achieved in America and abroad, very little attention has been paid to Zorn by musicologists or music theorists. Author John Brackett suggests that the reason for the relative paucity of writing on Zorn's music and musical thought has to do with the difficulties and challenges they present both for listeners and scholars. Zorn's musical language—an amalgam of seemingly incongruous techniques, sounds, styles, and genres—creates complex and sometimes confusing listening experiences that are difficult to categorize in terms of overarching thematic or narrative design. Brackett offers a number of perspectives for understanding Zorn's music and musical practices, while challenging certain assumptions that limit the ways in which contemporary music is typically addressed.

Author Bio

John Brackett lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


“A historically situated set of analyses is just what John Zorn deserves as a major artist of our time. The present volume will be important in furthering an understanding of his work.”
 — George Lewis, Columbia University

“Brackett's groundbreaking book . . . confronts Zorn's contradictory modes of expression that couple the aesthetics of Stravinsky, Boulez, Duchamp and Godard with the transgressive sexuality and violence of Bataille, Genet and Maruo, brilliantly demonstrating how these powerful dualities of thought—real yet fantastic, pleasing yet horrifying—synergize to make Zorn's compositional voice unique and seminal in the 21st century.”
 — Severine Neff, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Table of Contents

Foreword by John Zorn
1. From the Fantastic to the Dangerously Real: Reading John Zorn's Artwork
2. Magick and Mysticism in Zorn's Recent Works
3. Tradition, Gifts, and Zorn's Musical Homages
4. Continuing the Spiral: Aporias and the Prisms of Tradition

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