This morning Ableton debuted its new documentary, featuring Hendrik Weber, aka Pantha du Prince, collaborating with The Bell Laboratory in a performance of Terry Riley‘s seminal minimal composition, In C, at London’s Barbican Theatre.
Riley’s In C, composed in 1964, consists of 53 musical phrases, to be played by any number of people on any instruments. The phrases are to be played by each musician any number of times, as long as the musicians stay within a few phrases of each other. Because of the compositional rules of the work, performances can be very different in sound an length.
Members of The Bell Laboratory play the piece on a broad range of percussion instruments. Weber uses Ableton Live on his laptop and samples and loops the percussionists’ instruments, adding his performance to the minimalist classic. Continue reading →
The Second International Conference on Music and Minimalism will occur September 2-6, 2009, at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, directed by Kyle Gann and David McIntire.
All scholars in this area are invited to submit papers. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
both American and European (and other) minimalist music;
early minimalism of the 1950s and ?60s;
outgrowths of minimalism into postminimalism, totalism, and oher movements;
minimalist music?s relation to pop music or visual art;
performance problems in minimalist music;
analyses or investigation of music by La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars;
especially encouraged are papers on crucial but less public figures such as Tony Conrad, Phill Niblock, Jon Gibson, Eliane Radigue, Rhys Chatham, Barbara Benary, Julius Eastman, and so on.
Contributions are welcomed in the form of individual papers (20 minutes). Abstracts containing a maximum of 500 words should be sent as email attachments, by October 31, 2008, to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
The Society for Minimalist Music exists to promote the intellectual and scholarly study of the music known as minimalism, and originating in the 1960s activities of composers La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Tony Conrad, Terry Jennings, Jon Gibson, Charlemagne Palestine, Phill Niblock, Barbara Benary, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and others. The Society’s interests are not limited to the music of that period, but also to ensuing streams of music developed from minimalist origins, and also in the relationship of music to minimalism in the other arts. Specifically, the Society recognizes minimalism not only in its familiar idiom of motivic repetition, but also its more general concern with drones and stasis.
MSLP attempts to create a virtual library containing all public domain musical scores, as well as scores from composers who are willing to share their music with the world without charge. You can read the full list of goals that IMSLP will try to achieve.
IMSLP also encourages the exchange of musical ideas, both in the form of musical works, and in the analysis of existing ones. Therefore, feel free to create/edit a page with your analysis of a particular piece (please use the “Discussion” link on the work page of that particular piece).
The site already offers over 17,000 scores.
Unfortunately, the “modern” category (post 1945) is woefully underrepresented, because of copyright laws.
I was able to download a PDF of Terry Riley’s In C, one of the seminal works of minimalist music, but only 69 composers are currently represented at all in this category.
If you’re creating music that uses traditional, or even non-traditional, notation, check out the IMSLP and consider sharing your scores via the site.
The LA Times has a review of seminal minimalist composer Terry Riley‘s Sunday performance at the Walt Disney concert hall.
“Minimalist” is a strange tag for Riley. It suits him in that he has never lost his love for interlocking repetitive figures imbued with the strength to send the brain into psychedelic reverie. But Riley is really a musical accumulator.
Years of study in India have made him a master of raga, played on the keyboard and sung. A virtuosic pianist and inspired improviser, he began as a jazz player and, at 72, remains a brilliant jazz player. Hardly remaining in or anywhere near C, he roams through modes and microtones continually enriching his harmonic palate. Melodically and rhythmically he flows naturally between East and West, ancient times, recent music history and the present.
For the first half of his program, Riley revised two classic pieces, first updating Persian Surgery Dervishes, a study in whirling repetitions for electric keyboard and tape delay. (A famous performance of that was given and recorded in Los Angeles in 1971).
Sunday’s new A Persian Surgery Dervish in the Nursery made his performance on the old electronic technology seem downright primitive. On Disney’s instrument, Riley achieved a sense of awe-inspiring vastness with thick church-like diapason textures. For an arrangement of a few themes from his epic 1985 string quartet, Salome Dances for Peace, Riley began with spellbinding rumbling of low notes and then traced trilling fanciful melodies, at one point adding raga-like vocalization.
My expectations for Sunday’s concert were impossibly high. They were exceeded.
Most fans of electronic music are aware of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, and on the influence they have had on electronic musicians.
You can’t understand minimalism, though, without listening to some of the 60’s work of La Monte Young and Terry Riley, two living classical composers whose influence is immeasurable.