Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Greg Davis, Toby Aronson (Oak) and TickTick have scheduled yet another wonderful
experimental music show in Burlington, and this one is definitely a not-to-miss
event. There's even a possibility that your's truly may be joining in on the

Here's the press release:

we are pleased to have duane pitre coming to burlington to present his chamber
ensemble piece 'The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th and a Pump Organ Base".
we will also be performing pieces by christian
and james tenney. it should be a great night of music.

An Evening of Experimental Music:

Duane Pitre "The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th and a Pump
Organ Base"
Christian Wolff "Stones" (1969)
James Tenney "Swell Piece No. 2 (for Pauline Oliveros)" (1971)

kriya studio
333 n. winooski
burlington, vt
saturday, december 8th, 2007
7:30 p.m.

Duane Pitre (with Ensemble)

The ensemble will consist Duane Pitre, Craig Colorusso, Greg Davis,
and UVM students, playing violin, cello, contra bass, oboe, alto
saxaphone, bowed guitars, electric tone generator, and organ.

"The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th and a Pump Organ Base" This
composition varies from the traditional sort as it is rule-based with
the score consisting of a set tonic, set pitch classes, playing
methods, technique restrictions, and spontaneous conduction. The score
is a structure for the performing ensemble to improvise onĂ³order
spawning chaos producing order that is different on each occasion of a
performance or recording. Ensemble Drones is discipline and freedom,
both within each other, the first major focus of the work. Variance is
the second major focus of the composition; with instrumentation,
ensemble performers, tonic, pitch classes, and the physical space
varying from performance to performance, the results can never be the
same. One way to view Ensemble Drones is like a compositional "body,"
as in the composition taking human form. The score is the skeletal
structure that gives the "body" its general shape and feel. The pump
organ, for instance, could serve as the circulatory system, the bass
clarinet as the muscles, cello and saxophones as the internal organs,
the electrically generated tones as the nervous system, guitars as the
flesh, viola as the skin, violin as strands of hair, and the
the listener acts as the eyes. Not in the sense of vision,
though each listener will "view" the same compositional body differently, and, in
return, the body will view itself differently with each new set of
eyes. This helps to analogize the last major focus of the Ensemble
Drones score/composition, which is perception.

Christian Wolff

Wolff was born in Nice in France of German parentage. His family moved
to the United States in 1941, and he became an American citizen in
1946. He studied classics at Harvard University (he is a specialist in
the work of Euripides) and upon graduating took up a teaching post
there which he kept until 1970 when he began to teach classics,
comparative literature, and music at Dartmouth College until his
retirement in 1999. His early work includes a lot of silence and was
based initially on complicated rhythmic schema, and later on a system
of aural cues. Wolff innovated unique notational methods in his early
scores and found creative ways of dealing with improvisation within
his written music. Later pieces also often give a degree of freedom to
the performers such as the sequence of pieces entitled Exercises
(1973-). Some works, such as Changing the System (1973), Braverman
Music (1978, after Harry Braverman), and the series of pieces entitled
Peace March (1983-2005) have an explicit political dimension
responding to contemporary world events and broader political ideals.
At the age of sixteen Wolff was sent by his piano teacher Grete Sultan
for lessons in composition with the composer John Cage and quickly
became a close associate of Cage and his artistic circle which
included composers Earle Brown and Morton Feldman, pianist David
Tudor, and dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. During the 1960s
he developed associations with the composers Frederic Rzewski and
Cornelius Cardew who spurred each other on in their respective
explorations of experimental composition techniques and musical
improvisation, and then from the early 1970s in their respective
attempts to engage with political matters in their music. For Wolff
this often involved the use of music and texts associated with protest
and political movements such as the Wobblies. Wolff recently said of
his work that it is motivated by his desire, "To turn the making of
music into a collaborative and transforming activity (performer into
composer into listener into composer into performer, etc.), the
cooperative character of the activity to the exact source of the
music. To stir up, through the production of the music, a sense of
social conditions in which we live and of how these might be changed."

James Tenney

Tenney was born in Silver City, New Mexico, and grew up in Arizona and
Colorado. He attended the University of Denver, the Juilliard School
of Music, Bennington College (B.A., 1958) and the University of
Illinois (M.A., 1961). He studied piano with Eduard Steuermann and
composition with Chou Wen-chung, Lionel Nowak, Paul Boepple, Henry
Brant, Carl Ruggles, Kenneth Gaburo, Lejaren Hiller, John Cage, Harry
Partch, and Edgard VarËse. He also studied information theory under
Lejaren Hiller, and composed stochastic early computer music before
turning almost completely to writing for instruments with the
occasional tape delay, often using just intonation and alternative
tunings. Tenney's notable students include John Luther Adams, Larry
Polansky, and Peter Garland. He performed with John Cage, as well as
with the ensembles of Harry Partch, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass.
Tenney's work deals simply and artfully with perception (For Ann
(rising), see Shepard tone), just intonation (Clang, see gestalt),
stochastic elements (Music for Player Piano), information theory
(Ergodos, see Ergodic theory), and with what he calls 'swell' (Koan:
Having Never Written A Note For Percussion for John Bergamo), which is
basically arch form. His pieces are most often tributes and subtitled
as such. Tenney wrote the seminal Meta (+) Hodos (one of, if not the,
earliest applications of gestalt theory and cognitive science to
music), the later Hierarchical temporal gestalt perception in music :
a metric space model with Larry Polansky, and other works. Nearly a
quarter of a 657-page volume of the academic journal Perspectives of
New Music was devoted to Tenney's music (Polansky and Rosenboom 1987).

Tenney also wrote the in-depth liner notes to Wergo's edition of
Conlon Nancarrow's Studies for Player Piano. (Nancarrow, as a favor,
punched the roll for Tenney's Spectral Canon for Conlon Nancarrow). He
taught at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, the California
Institute of the Arts, the University of California, and York
University in Toronto. He died on 24 August 2006 of lung cancer in
Valencia, California.


1 comment:

Tanner M. said...

Euripides is my favorite of the greek playrights. cool.