a guide to the ruins: 80s&90s
Anthony Braxton, composer, multi-instrumentalist, teacher and conductor, is an acknowledged leader in the fields of closed-and-open-form composition, systematic approaches to the languages of improvisation, and extended performance techniques. He is a musical scientist and artist who, in his ongoing quest for knowledge and self-expression, rejects no piece of information, musical or other, that might help him realize his creative and philosophical vision.
It was David Rosenboom's Systems of Judgment that seemed to fulfill a dozen 20th century promises at once, the most intellectual -- in all good senses of the word -- new work I've heard in a long, long time. "There is a conceptual paradigm which guided the creation of the musical form. It attempts to elucidate parallel views of evolution by examining and speculating about processes which we, any organism, or any system must use to learn to make differentiations, be self-reflexive, and arrive at judgments from which language may be formulated."
Larry Polansky is one of our major post-'70s experimentalists. B'rey'sheet (In the beginning . . .) with Jody Diamond chanting over an electronic bleep forest, sounds generically chaotic at first, but keep listening. Polansky's logic, like James Tenney's gels elegantly by piece's end.
Chris Brown's LAVA: for brass quartet, 4 percussion, and 4 channels of electronic sound generated interactively by a computer controlled signal processing system. It uses simultaneously occurring multiple tempi, with independent rates of change of speed to imitate the motion of molten lava streams. It is a complex phasing of turbulent, yet gradually changing parts, played out in rhythmic counterpoint to spatialization patterns formed by sound from the instrumentalists being captured, transformed, delayed, and placed electronically at different locations around the hall.
Paul Matzner's SAN FRANCISCO BAY WILDLIFE ENVIRONMENT is a 10 minute recreation of the sounds of a tidal saltmarsh/mudflat environment in early summer on the shores of San Francisco Bay. The gentle sounds of the outgoing tide are punctuated by the cries of shorebirds who forage for worms, clams and other muddy delicacies by probing the mud with their long bills. Gathering in large flocks during the non-breeding season, these birds emit periodic cries to signal their finding of food and to alert and keep contact with other flock members.
HIGH TIDES: INTERSECTION FOR THE ARTS Presents the 3rd Annual San Francisco Festival of New Music by Bay Area Composers. Ed Osborn / Victoria Jordanova / Tim Perkis / Barbara Imhoff / and a special "Didjeridu Summit" featuring the Mills College Didjeridu Ensemble with special guest Didjeridu performers.
Randall Packer: various mailers from New Music Theatre, founded in 1988: NEW MUSIC THEATRE. October 24. 8:30PM. San Francisco Tape Music Center Retrospective 1963-66. Tony Martin, Pauline Oliveros, Ramon Sender, Morton Subotnick. November 14,15. 8:30 PM, Music Theatre works by Charles Amirkhanian, Margaret Fisher, Rene Claire, Erik Satie, Mauricio Kagel. New Music Theatre will explore the Interaction between music and other art forms and the application of recent music, theatre, and media technology.
New Langton Arts: K. Atchley presented "Listen Close", four pieces concerned with communication. Musically this concern is expressed in his involvement with ensemble and thematically by "communication with Angles, the dead, those in other realms including the future, and with those of us in the present." Performing with Atchley on "Light of Hand (Lumiere de Main)" were vocalists Barbara Golden, Jean Moncrieff, Maggi Payne, and Melody Sumner with computer work by Brian Reinbolt. From his opera "Edison's Last Project(ion)" Atchley presented "dialogue and interpretation in an experimental laboratory setting" in which questioner Phil Harmonic probed for insight from Atchley as answerer. Mary Oliver (on computer) joined Atchley in "Marconi--The Last Seven Words." This work concerns attempts made by Gugliemo Marconi to receive (retrieve) the last words of Christ on the cross via technological means. Also collaborating with Atchley this evening were Jay Cloidt and Mark Trayle.
Good Sound: The Enhanced Piano by Loren Rush, Janis Mattox, and Alfred Owens. The Enhanced Piano (TM) was developed at Good Sound Foundation's Skyline Studio in Woodside, California, where two pianos, tuned in Just Intonation, have been enhanced to increase their perceived resonance, sustaining, coloristic, and expressive capabilities. The enhanced piano is performed within A Virtual Acoustical Environment (VAE (TM)) -- an electroacoustical performance-space enhancement system that creates the perceptual characteristics of a variety of acoustical environments in ordinary performance spaces.
Exploratorium: AEOLIAN HARP BY DOUGLAS HOLLIS. Named after Aeolis, the Greek goddess of wind, this wind-activated acoustic sculpture is mounted on the roof of the Exploratorium. The sounds produced by the wind blowing across the choir of strings are transmitted mechano-acoustically to speakers located just above the north entrance to the building.
"A Plethora of Avant Garde Sounds" by Liz Sizensky. Below are not one, but 22, Bay Area avant-garde artists to watch for in 1991. One word can describe the Bay Area's large avant-garde music scene: plurality. There is no single type of avant-garde music -- there are wide ranging influences as each musician puts together a particular combination to come up with his or her version of the avant-garde.
New Music Bay Area: February 1989-July 1989: Calender provided at concerts by the new music coalition.
Elinor Armer: Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts, is an ambitious and adventurous collaboration between award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin and composer Elinor Armer. It chronicles Armer and Le Guin's fantasy exploration through a mythical archipelago where imagined cultures utilize music in extraordinary ways: as food, water, weather, roads, walls, love potion, even as a means of survival. More than 200 of the San Francisco Bay Area's finest musicians are featured on this recording.
Cabrillo Festival: Now celebrating more than three decades, Cabrillo Music Festival has carved out a unique role in the American musical landscape through its commitment to nurturing the creative spirit of today's composers. Each August more than seventy professional musicians come together in downtown Santa Cruz to share and be part of a contemporary classical music Festival unlike any other in this country. The Festival and its award-winning orchestra have been host to a veritable who's who in the world of contemporary classical music from Aaron Copland and John Cage, to Phillip Glass and John Adams.