David Gutkin :: Drastique ou plastique ? Les liens avec « Musik und Graphik » de Stockhausen, 1959 @ PaaLabRes

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David Tudor :: Recordings 1956-1960 / Hat Hut Records, 1996


American experimental music's foremost performer, pianist David Tudor remains as inextricably linked to many of the most groundbreaking pieces in the modern canon as their respective composers; long John Cage's most intimate associate, he also delivered virtuoso early performances of landmark works by Pierre Boulez, Earle Brown, Sylvano Bussotti, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and La Monte Young, many of them written expressly with Tudor in mind. He was born in Philadelphia on January 20, 1926, and throughout his teens played organ at the city's St. Mark's Church, later studying theory and composition under H. William Hawke and Stefan Wolpe. In New York on December 17, 1950, Tudor delivered the American premiere of Boulez's Deuxième Sonate pour Piano -- just the second performance of the piece anywhere, it immediately launched him to the vanguard of the experimental community.

Tudor's extended collaboration with Cage began during the early '50s, and in 1952 he premiered the composer's notorious 4'33"; Cage later stated that virtually all of his work from that point until around 1970 was written either directly for Tudor or for his consideration. Tudor was widely praised for his imaginative solutions to the often deliberate challenges of notation and performance presented by the pieces he tackled, and in time his genius began to influence directly the composers whose work he interpreted, becoming an essential component of their creative processes. Also serving as an instructor and pianist-in-residence at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and at the Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany, during the late '50s he began experimenting with the electronic modification of sound sources, additionally teaming with Cage on his Project of Music for Magnetic Tape.

As the next decade approached, Tudor began initiating the move away from taped sources toward live electronic music; by the end of the 1960s he brought his career as a pianist to a close, with electronic performance and composition becoming his sole focus in the years to follow. Manufacturing and designing his own instruments and technological equipment, he mounted works closely tied to visual media including light systems, dance, television, theater, film, and four-color laser projections -- 1966's Bandoneon!, for example, employed lighting and audio circuitry, moving loudspeaker sculptures, and projected video images. In 1968, Tudor collaborated with Cage, Lowell Cross, Marcel Duchamp, and Gordon Mumma on Reunion; between 1969 and 1977, he also teamed with Cross and Carson Jeffries on a series of works for video and/or laser display.

While collaborating on the design of the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan, Tudor composed and performed several new works, among them an early version of the seminal Microphone. As his work in electronic music continued, he increasingly experimented with new components, circuitry, and interconnections, with the end results determining both compositional and performing strategies. Much of Tudor's major work of the period was commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, with whom he'd been affiliated since their 1953 inception; these compositions included 1974's Toneburst, 1976's Forest Speech, 1978's Weatherings, 1981's Phonemes, 1987's Webwork, and 1990's Virtual Focus. After Cage's 1992 death, Tudor succeeded him as the Cunningham troupe's musical director; Tudor himself died at his home in Tomkins Cove, NY, on August 13, 1996. ~ Jason Ankeny

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John Cage :: Fontana Mix - Notation (1958)

John Cage :: Fontana Mix (1958)

Composed in 1958. Premiered in Rome, January 5, 1959, with Aria.

Experimental Music Notation Strategies @ IIIIII blog - Sylvano Bussotti :: Piano Piece 1 for David Tudor (1959)

Sylvano Bussotti :: «Piano Piece 1 for David Tudor» (1959)

As somebody with one foot in the visual art world and the other in sound world, I have always been interested in the experimental music notation strategies. Aside from the fact that these are often beautiful artifacts, I love thinking about the “utility” of images: how/when image becomes an “instruction”.
I think the new |||||||| forum, with it’s expanded conceptual ambition, ought to have a thread devoted to this aspect of new and experimental music. Let’s share resources, files, images, links and anything you might have collected related to this esoteric and fascinating point on confluence between image, language and sound.
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David Gutkin :: Unsettling the Score: Experiments in Notation, Part I & II / Sylvano Bussotti :: Piano Piece 3 for David Tudor

Sylvano Bussotti «Piano Piece 3 for David Tudor» (1959)

David Gutkin :: Unsettling the Score: Experiments in Notation, Part I & II

"Schematically speaking, the experimentation with so-called graphic notation on the one hand, and text-based scores on the other, might be construed as the two dominant poles of these post-war innovations in musical notation. On the “graphic” side we might take “Piece 3” from Sylvano Bussotti’s Five Piano Pieces for David Tudor from 1959 as a prime example. The score consists of approximately one-hundred hand-drawn, rather irregular, horizontal lines that collectively form a rectangle. Scattered among and within these lines are little figurations: an arc, a parallelogram, a profusion of dots. [See example 7 above.] There are no instructions for performance. Confronted with this score Tudor, the titular pianist who made a specialty of playing non-conventionally notated, avant-garde works, cut right to the chase: “Should everything be interpreted? Black and white? Only black? Only white? All lines?
Although the entire effect of Bussotti’s score would have been compromised if he had added instructions, some composers chose to accompany their graphically idiosyncratic scores with increasingly lengthy directions. In fact, for many, text would eventually constitute the entire score. The text (or mostly text) scores by Allan Kaprow, Yoko Ono, and Dick Higgins, among others, were inspired by John Cage’s work and exemplify a shift in emphasis from aesthetic to social forms that accompanied the “deskilling” of traditional notational competence. Thus the “anti-aesthetic” impetus, and often explicitly political content of “neo-avant-garde” art practices of the period partially stemmed from notational developments that had once been tethered to the narrower field of music."

"After working on She Was a Visitor, we moved to the main event: a group performance of two pages from Cornelius Cardew’s graphic score, Treatise (1963–67). All in all, Treatise consists of 193 pages of finely drawn lines, bulbous shapes, and other pictorially elegant geometric figurations with only the occasional vestige of conventional notational symbols and no accompanying directions. [See example 8 at the top of this page.] Although the graphics in Treatise stand in no clear relation to any specific sonic content, Cardew did not intend his score to function as a vague stimulus for improvisation. He writes: “The score must govern the music. It must have authority, and not merely be an arbitrary jumping-off point for improvisation, with no internal consistency.” Cardew also criticized the purely pictorial “aesthetic notations” of composers like Bussotti."