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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Musica Nova

Arvo, Teiji, James, Conlon.

Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt is an Estonian. Born in 1935. Started by composing serial music. Then, for a long period he did not compose any more. He felt that serial music was not his road, that he should look for something else.

So he searched his own way: Renascentist music, Gregorian cant, Orthodox liturgical music. He started to compose again in 1977: Summa, Fratres, Magnificat, Christmas Antiphons, the Beatitudes... and many others. Spiegel im Spiegel, Festina Lente. Choral music, chamber music... I'm listening some amazing works: a CD that came to me from England: now I realize what Minimalism means in music... only one sound, well chosen, that's enough... then silence, to give you space to meditate that only sound. And quiet development of music, with few sounds, and with periods of silence, filled deeply with music.

Teiji Ito
Teiji Ito was born in Japan, lived in New York. No regular musical studies. Only he knew to play any instrument, whatever weird, whatever new for him, Nippon flutes, bottles with water, drums, marimba, toy pianos, fish scales, anything. He knew also how to process the magnetic tape, so he was composing for each instrument (mainly exotic instruments, from Japan or Latin America). then he was performing on each instrument and recording. And after processing the records, the outcome was polyphony. He scored two movies of Maya Deren, so he became known, Then he composed a genial suite, Ubu King, then Teno... and much more, only these ones are available on market.

Ubu King is crazily amazing. Each part is coming unexpectedly: you think you are in Japan, at a Kabuki theater, the next part brings you somewhere on Bolivian plateaus, the next one takes you in a bar in Argentina, and you are listening an emotional tango. Then comes the next part that leaves you in a basement in SoHo, among drunkards, listening kind of a blues, performed at a weird instrument, a toy piano accompanied by bottles full of water.

He died relatively young, on one of his travels in Haiti.

James Tenney

James Tenney: Hodos, Meta Hodos, Meta Meta Hodos. Ergodic music. Hodos means road. The road for Musica Nova. Meta Hodos is the method for this road. Meta Meta Hodos formalizes the method. Ergos is the work you are doing on the Hodos, on the road of Musica Nova.

Conlon Nancarrow was the wizard of the player-piano: working one year for five minutes of music. The purity of harpsichord. Jazz structured by counterpoint. Actually much, much more: his counterpoint is phenomenal. His studies for player-piano are Das Wohltemperierte Clavier of the twentieth century.

Conlon Nancarrow

(By Brakhage)


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