One of the pleasures of Alex Ross’ The Rest Is Noise is that he has a good ear for an anecdote – which resonate even when you can barely recall the individuals involved. Take this exchange between the composer Morton Feldman and his teacher, the radical (sometime communist) Stefan Wolpe (pictured above). Ross writes:
Teacher and student would have long arguments about music’s role in society; once, when Wolpe pointed out the window of his Greenwich Village studio and exclaimed that one must write for the man in the street, Fledman looked down and saw, to his ironic delight, Jackson Pollock walking by.
The photo of Wolpe comes via the independent San Francisico public radio station KALW 91.7’s website (and programme) Music For Other Minds.