Alex Ross and the EMC!

We received a message from our good friend at Irritable Hedgehog, David McIntire, that Alex Ross, critic of the New Yorker, had a blog post about Erik Satie’s Le Fils des Étoiles. David McIntire informed Ross about Chris Hobbs’s work on the whole version of this piece, and Ross has added a note about Chris’s work and that the EMC has released not only the first ur text of Fils (Hobbs created an edition from the manuscript, correcting many errors in the Salabert published score), but also the first recording of the corrected edition.

Most recordings of this incidental music to the pageant/play by Joséphin Péladan consist just of Satie’s three Preludes to the play’s acts. These Preludes are pretty well-known and performed frequently by most pianists who specialise in Satie. However, Satie wrote continuous music to accompany the play’s acts, forming Satie’s longest piece of through-composed music. Chris Hobbs played the first modern performance of the entire piece (i.e., after Satie premiered it), and its first recording, on London Hall Records, in 1989. However, that first performance used the published score, with its various errors. After Chris finished the new edition (published some years before the Bärenreiter Urtext Edition), he recorded the corrected edition for the EMC.

You can read Ross’s blog post here. The score is available (with a preface by the Satie scholar Robert Orledge) on the EMC Piano Catalogue and the CD (EMC 103) can be found here. There is a discount if you order both the CD and score together.

EMC2 Programmes, pt. 2

 

The EMC² Weekend at De Montfort University, Leicester, was a great success, with talks, concerts, and a chance for all to perform great music in the tradition of the Experimental Music Catalogue. This weekend was the brainchild of Kieran O’Riordan, with Anna Claydon of CoMA (Contemporary Music for All), and performed with energy and much skill by the members of East Midlands CoMA, the improvisation groups CHA (Bruce Coates, Chris Hobbs, Virginia Anderson) and the South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble (Lee Allatson, Rick Nance, Virginia Anderson, Bruce Coates and Chris Hobbs), guest expert composers and performers including John White, Hugh Shrapnel, Sarah Walker, Chris Hobbs, Virginia Anderson, and Bruce Coates. Papers were given on related subjects from Virginia Anderson, Hilary Bracefield and Tim Bausch. Much material has been created from this event; much needs to be sifted, edited, and collated for publication. The highlights of Friday and daytime Saturday appear in the previous post. But we would like to share a little more of the event as it went on:

Saturday, 25 March:

At 7.30 pm, came the second concert, Continuing Experiments:

Not all of these pieces are available yet on video, but here are two from the second half:

First, Carole Finer, Magic Carpet, and Cornelius Cardew, “Little Flower of the North” (from Schooltime Compositions), performed by the South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble (Lee Allatson, drums, Virginia Anderson, clarinets, Bruce Coates, saxes, Chris Hobbs, piano, Rick Nance Tibetan bowl and other instruments).

 

Then Christopher Hobbs, The Friesian Cow, part 2, performed by members of SLIE and the EMC All*Stars (including John Richards, electronics, and John White, helicon):

Sunday, 26 March:

After a welcome and rehearsals in the morning, there was the Experimental Frontiers concert, consisting of performers from all the events through the weekend.


This is the first half:

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

and the second half, which includes a video greeting from former EMC committee chair, Gavin Bryars, which wrapped up the approach and ethos for the festival, as Virginia Anderson’s talk began it.

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

Thanks to Kieran O’Riordan, Anna Claydon for putting the EMC² Festival on; to James Thompson and his team of technicians at DMU for fantastic lighting and sound (check out the final piece, Chris Hobbs’ CoMA Units, for an example of their work); to Rui and Conner at the University of Leicester for their roving and fixed video work; and to Lee Allatson for HD video on Saturday night. And, of course CoMA, and everyone who took part. It was an amazing weekend.

EMC2 Programmes

The EMC² Weekend at De Montfort University, Leicester, was a great success, with talks, concerts, and a chance for all to perform great music in the tradition of the Experimental Music Catalogue. This weekend was the brainchild of Kieran O’Riordan, with Anna Claydon of CoMA (Contemporary Music for All), and performed with energy and much skill by the members of East Midlands CoMA, the improvisation groups CHA (Bruce Coates, Chris Hobbs, Virginia Anderson) and the South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble (Lee Allatson, Rick Nance, Virginia Anderson, Bruce Coates and Chris Hobbs), guest expert composers and performers including John White, Hugh Shrapnel, Sarah Walker, Chris Hobbs, Virginia Anderson, and Bruce Coates. Papers were given on related subjects from Virginia Anderson, Hilary Bracefield and Tim Bausch. Much material has been created from this event; much needs to be sifted, edited, and collated for publication. But we would like to share a little taste of the event as it went on:

Friday, 24 March:

Schedule:

Session 1: Setting the Scene

1.45 pm: Virginia Anderson, “The Experimental Music Catalogue: Past, Present, and Future”

EMC festival talks programme

Recording of live feed:

The Experimental Music Catalogue

Posted by LUST on Friday, 24 March 2017

Rehearsals and tea, then

4.45pm: Hilary Bracefield, “From Birmingham to Belfast: Improvising and experimenting with students”

(talk notes above for abstract and bio)

Recording of live feed:

Hilary Bracefield, ‘From Birmingham to Belfast: improvising and experimenting with students’

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Friday, 24 March 2017

Evening concert, MTI Goes EMC²: Students and staff from DMU’s music technology department play music.

Saturday, 25 March:

Began with rehearsals for allcomers and tea, then lunch, then:

1.30 pm: Panel chaired by Sarah Walker, including Virginia Anderson, Chris Hobbs, John White and Hugh Shrapnel

Recording of live feed:

Panel Chaired by Sarah Walker, including Virginia Anderson, Chris Hobbs, John White and Hugh Shrapnel.

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Saturday, 25 March 2017

2.30: Concert 2: Keyboard Experiments

Programme:

Video awaiting processing, so we’ll have to wait for good quality clips, and for Howard Skempton’s In Tandem, performed by Antony Clare and Mick Peake.

However here are links to very short clips:

Chris Hobbs, premiere of solo version of Sudoku 82:

We're hoping to bring you not only the talking portion of the EMC2 weekend, but also audio and perhaps video records of these historic concerts. In the meantime, here are a few clips from the lunchtime Keyboard Experiments concert: first, a few seconds of Chris Hobbs, premiering the first solo version of his Cold Blue Sudoku 82.

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

Hugh Shrapnel and Sarah Walker, playing Hugh Shrapnel, Ladywell Station

We're hoping to bring you not only the talking portion of the EMC2 weekend, but also audio and perhaps video records of these historic concerts. In the meantime, here are a few clips from the lunchtime Keyboard Experiments concert: Here is Hugh Shrapnel and Sarah Walker performing Hugh's Ladywell Station.

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

Hugh Shrapnel, Cat Preludes, “…and mouse”, performed by Sarah Walker:

We're hoping to bring you not only the talking portion of the EMC2 weekend, but also audio and perhaps video records of these historic concerts. In the meantime, here are a few clips from the lunchtime Keyboard Experiments concert: Sarah Walker playing "…and mouse" from Hugh Shrapnel's Cat Preludes.

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

Also “Asleep”, from Cat Preludes

Here is Shrapnel playing his Nocturne:

We're hoping to bring you not only the talking portion of the EMC2 weekend, but also audio and perhaps video records of these historic concerts. In the meantime, here are a few clips from the lunchtime Keyboard Experiments concert: Hugh Shrapnel playing his Nocturne.

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

Chris Hobbs, with Terry Jennings’ Winter Trees:

We're hoping to bring you not only the talking portion of the EMC2 weekend, but also audio and perhaps video records of these historic concerts. In the meantime, here are a few clips from the lunchtime Keyboard Experiments concert: Chris Hobbs performing Terry Jennings' Winter Trees.

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

and John White, here playing most of Sonata 159, “Waiting for Batman”:

We're hoping to bring you not only the talking portion of the EMC2 weekend, but also audio and perhaps video records of these historic concerts. In the meantime, here are a few clips from the lunchtime Keyboard Experiments concert: John White performing his 2007 Piano Sonata 159, "Waiting for Batman".

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Sunday, 26 March 2017

At 5 pm (after more rehearsals), Tim Bausch gave a paper, “Repetition as Catalyst: The Process of Creation in the Music of Alvin Lucier.”

Tim Bausch, ‘Repetition as Catalyst: The Process of Creation in the Music of Alvin Lucier’

Posted by Experimental Music Catalogue on Saturday, 25 March 2017

We will get to the evening concert, Continuing Experiments, in another post.

 

EMC2: Remembering the Experimental Music Catalogue (schedule)

Hi, everyone:

Here’s the revised schedule for the concerts for EMC²: Remembering the Experimental Music Catalogue. The new version includes some of Terry Jennings’ pieces from the EMC Keyboard Anthology. If you like English experimental, systems, minimal and postminimal music, this is THE weekend!

yrs,

admin…..

Friday, 24 March:

  • Welcome
  • Virginia Anderson, The Experimental Music Catalogue: Past, Present, and Future [an introduction to the EMC, its original incarnation as a publishing project, its resurrection in 1999 as a website, and its current work in pdf, Bandcamp recordings, and Facebook page]
  • Hilary Bracefield, From Birmingham to Belfast: Improvising and experimenting with students [Bracefield, the co-founder of the new music magazine Contact, on university groups]
  • There will be rehearsals for CoMA members and an all-comers group throughout the day, including music by Christopher Hobbs, Hugh Shrapnel, and Gavin Bryars. The evening concert will be provided by DMU staff and students.

Saturday, 25 March:

Two concerts:
1) A lunchtime piano concert:
  • Howard Skempton: In Tandem
  • Christopher Hobbs: Sudoku 82 (first performance of version for solo piano)
  • Hugh Shrapnel: Ladywell Station / ‘…and mouse” / ‘Asleep’ / Nocturne
  • Terry Jennings: Winter Trees
  • John White: Four Sonatas
performers include: Christopher Hobbs, Hugh Shrapnel and Sarah Walker, and John White
2) an evening concert curated by Christopher Hobbs:
  • Gavin Bryars: Out of Zaleski’s Gazebo (Mick Peake, Antony Clare, John White and Christopher Hobbs, two pianos)
  • Howard Skempton:
    • Call
    • Melody for a First Christmas
    • A Card for Lucy (Virginia Anderson, B-flat clarinet)
  • Michael Parsons:
    • Two Landscapes—Virginia, Usk (Bruce Coates, soprano saxophone, Virginia Anderson, B-flat clarinet
    • Kucinata (Macedonian Dance), (Virginia Anderson, E-flat clarinet, Christopher Hobbs, drum)
  • CHA: Improvisation by Virginia Anderson, Bruce Coates and Christopher Hobbs

****Interval****

  • The South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble (Lee Allatson, Bruce Coates, Rick Nance, Christopher Hobbs, Virginia Anderson):
    • Carole Finer: Magic Carpet (from the Scratch Anthology of Compositions)
    • Cornelius Cardew: Little Flower of the North (from Schooltime Compositions)
  • and an all-star group (performers to be revealed soon):
    • Christopher Hobbs: The Friesian Cow part 2
  • There will also be papers during the day and a panel session, chaired by Sarah Walker, with Virginia Anderson, John White, Chris Hobbs and Hugh Shrapnel

Sunday, 26 March:

  • The big, grand, gala event will be the post-lunchtime (2 pm) COMA and all-comers concert of music by Hobbs, Shrapnel, Dave Smith and John White (new commissions) and by former EMC committee members Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman, performed by a wide group of players from DMU, COMA, and guest stars.
  • E. Midlands CoMA Ensemble
    • Christopher Hobbs: The Castle Keep
    • Michael Nyman: Bell Set no. 1
    • John White: New work (premiere commission)
    • Christopher Hobbs: The Friesian Cow  Part 1
    • Dave Smith: New work (premiere commission)
    • John White: St. Vitus’ Dance Music Assembly Machine

****Interval****

  • Allcomers’ Ensemble
    • Hugh Shrapnel: Something in the Air (premiere commission)
    • Christopher Hobbs: CoMA Units (premiere commission)
    • Gavin Bryars: 1, 2, 1-2-3-4

 

Christian Wolff in Interview

In 2015, Virginia Anderson gave an invited paper for the conference Christian Wolff at Orpheus, 28 and 29 September, a conference celebrating the work of the New York School composer Christian Wolff, with Wolff in attendance. You can read reports of the event here: http://experimentalmusic.co.uk/wp/news-from-ghent/

Today, Virginia Anderson has uploaded that paper, as read, on her Academia.edu page, here: https://www.academia.edu/31737395/Christian_Wolff_in_Interview

In this paper Virginia discusses an interview the American composer Barney Childs took with Wolff in 1972, especially about his then-new piece, Burdocks (1971), and the Scratch Orchestra performance he saw in London at Cecil Sharp House that year.

 

Bandcamp

The EMC has never been so happy to have our recordings on Bandcamp, who have made the decision to donate all their profits to the ACLU as a protest against the current U.S. government’s bans and walls. And over 200 Bandcamp labels are donating their profits to the ACLU and other human rights groups. Today, we suggest that you look at these other labels, and buy their goods. This offer lasts today, 3 February, from 12am Pacific time for 24 hours. Their statement is here: https://daily.bandcamp.com/2017/01/31/bandcamp-human-rights/

South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble on Bandcamp

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L-R: Trevor Lines, bass; Virginia Anderson, clarinets; Chris Hobbs, piano; Rick Nance, flugelhorn; Lee Allatson, drums; Bruce Coates, saxes

The monthly meeting of the South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble, affectionately known as SLIE, at Quad Studios, Leicester, on 3 November 2016, was very special. Normally each session features a guest artist, but this core-group session came up with some lovely sounds. Rick Nance recorded the session using some high-quality portable recording equipment and has released it on his bandcamp page, the wonderfully titled “The Avant God”. There’s a track called From Arrival, which shows the slow movement from friends greeting each other verbally to greeting each other musically, and then three tracks, including some chamber SLIE, in which members sat out to watch others perform.

For the moment you can download SLIE from The Avant God and name your price, including nothing! But, as we say with the EMC Bandcamp page, do think about a donation above and beyond the price if you can manage it: donations will keep Rick’s webpage afloat so he can bring you these wonderfully recorded snapshots.

https://theavantgod.bandcamp.com/album/s-l-i-e

Smith on Bandcamp!

dave-smithWe’re absolutely, positively thrilled to announce a new Bandcamp issue from the EMC. Dave Smith has allowed us to release two tracks. The first, Moderation in Nothing (1976, EMC-113), is a classic archive recording, featuring members of two of the great British systems music duos of the 1970s, playing together as a quartet: Howard Skempton on sopranino recorder and electric piano; Dave Smith on ocarina and guitar; Michael Parsons, on electric organ and cymbals; and on wine glasses, bell and voice. It appears in its premiere recording at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 31 October 1976. This extended-play track (over 23 minutes!) costs £3 (although you can give more) on our Bandcamp site.

The other track, Frivolous and Vexatious (2002, revised 2014; EMC-114) was first written for Dave Smith’s 8th Piano Concert and is dedicated to the composer and former Garden Furniture Music member Ben Mason. It is heard here in the premiere of the revised version, at Schott’s recital room, London, 25 July 2014. This even-more-extended-play track (over 34 minutes!) costs £3 (although you can give more) on our Bandcamp site.

So whether you’re frivolous, vexatious, or believe in moderation in nothing, it’s worth checking out these tracks for a free listen, and perhaps buy these goodies. We’ve migrated to a sleeker and more economical Bandcamp page just last week, but we still need support to keep this feature going. And for information, do check out Dave Smith’s composer page on this site for more information!

Meandering along a stream of Tenney thought

Besides revamping the EMC website, I have been researching a few projects — one short and nearly complete, the other very long. And it was in the research for the latter that I found myself carried away on a stream of linked subjects in a very pleasant manner.

Today I needed to look up basic data on the composer James Tenney (1934–2006). Although I had spoken to Tenney several times, it was only to answer the telephone at the composer Barney Childs’ house, hear, “Is Barney there? This is Jim Tenney”, and, being too shy to bother him, would hand the phone over to Barney immediately. I have a collection of Tenney’s Postal Pieces sent in his early years at CalArts (the early 1970s) to Childs. More about these pieces — classics in both mail art and music — can be found in a reproduction from Larry Polansky, “The Early Works of James Tenney”: VII Postal Pieces, in Peter Garland (ed.), Soundings Vol. 13: The Music of James Tenney (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Soundings Press, 1984). This reproduction of the first edition, in Soundings‘ typical typewritten style, was edited and expanded by Polansky for liner notes for a recording on New World Records, but the style of the original, and its reproduction of the pieces, is especially gratifying.

Tenney’s Wikipedia page, albeit a bit out-of-date, is full, with a link to an appreciation page on Kyle Gann’s excellent Postclassic blog, posted just after Tenney’s untimely death. There is also a link to recordings on UbuWeb (though the rights issues on this site are a bit unclear, as usual), beginning with the marvellous and influential tape piece Blue Suede. But here the Wikipedia article led me to another facet of Tenney’s work. He was not just a major electronic pioneer, nor a major composer in post-1960s indeterminate text and graphic notation, who stepped across the Uptown and Downtown New York City scenes with ease. He was also a pianist of note and a scholar of experimental music history. Here is Tenney performing the first two of Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes at the Schindler House in 2002, on the tenth anniversary of Cage’s death.

It is a ravishing setting, and a beautiful performance. It recalls James Pritchett’s Six Views of Sonatas and Interludes, which appears among the holdings of his site and blog, The Piano in My Life. Pritchett’s blog on Cage, Feldman, and others is well worth meandering down,* and it is definitely worth reading the “Six Views” article in connection with Tenney’s performance, meditating on the ways in which this particular performance exemplifies those views.

And now, having meandered from my original research, I must meander back to it.

* On a Facebook thread just today, the theorist Kevin Holm-Hudson cited Gann’s Postclassic and Pritchett’s The Piano in My Life as two of the best “public musicology” (meaning jargon-free and useful) websites.