Sunday, September 23
- Composition in Retrospect – lecturer Adam Tendler
- Piano Duo – (Cartridge Music) duo for piano
- Litany for the WHALE – duo for voices
- Credo in US – “a dramatic playlet for two characters” percussion ensemble, radio and piano
Artists: Elevator Rose (Vasudevan Panicker, Joe Fee, Ela Polak, Fred Trumpy), Sarah J Davis, Leighanne Saltsman, Melinda Faylor, Adam Tendler.
Piano Duet, (Cartridge Music) (1960), “music for amplified small sounds”. The word ‘Cartridge’ refers to the cartridge of old phonographic pick-ups, where one can put needle into the apertures. In ‘Cartridge Music’ one inserts all kinds of small objects into the cartridges, such as pipe-cleaners, matches, feathers, wires etc. Furniture is used as well, with contact microphones connected to them. All sounds are to be amplified and controlled by the performer(s). Each performer makes his part from the materials provided: 20 numbered sheets with irregular shapes (the number of shapes corresponding to the number of the sheet) and 4 transparencies, one with points, one with circles, another with a circle marked like a stopwatch and the last with a dotted curving line, with a circle at one end. These transparencies should be superimposed on one of the 20 sheets, in order to create a constellation from where one can create one’s part. In this realization, pianists Melinda Faylor and Adam Tendler will be playing the inside outside of the piano in Cage’s Piano Duet version of the score, which requires amplification and contact microphones to the inside of the instrument.
The text for Litany for the Whale (1980) consists of the letters for the word WHALE, with a specific pitch attached to each letter of the word. A ‘word’ is sung in one breath by pronouncing each letter seperately and giving the same time to each letter, except the last one, which is to be sung longer than the others. The first singer sings the recitation, the second singer sings the response. A silence follows being continued by the second recitation to be sung by the second singer as well. The first singer gives the second response etcetera. Everything should be performed quietly and without dynamic changes.
Credo in Us (1942) is a musical composition by the American experimental music composer, writer and visual artist John Cage. It was written in July 1942 and revised in October of that year. In the wake of Pearl Harbor, this piece avoided the populist tendencies of fellow American composers at the time, while the piece’s title is thought to be a call to collective unity.
Styled as “a dramatic playlet for Two Characters”, Cage described Credo in Us as a “a suite with a satirical character”. One of a number of Cage’s percussive works, Credo in Us is unusual in using sound samples from recordings of other works, fragments of radio broadcast, popular music, tin cans and tom toms. The instrumentation for the original performance included four performers: a pianist; two percussionists playing muted gongs, tin cans, electric buzzer and tom-toms; and a fourth performer operating a radio and a phonograph. For the phonograph, Cage suggests using something “classic” such as Dvořák, Beethoven, Sibelius or Shostakovich; and for the radio, to use any station but avoid news programs in the case of a “national emergency”. Jean Erdman recalls that for the first performance a ‘tack-piano’ was used—one of Cage’s prepared pianos, though the pianist is also called upon to play the soundbox of the instrument as a percussionist.
Written in his characteristic “mesostics” (linked lines of prose poetry), Composition in Retrospect (1992) is a statement of methodology in which composer John Cage examines the central issues of his work: Indeterminacy, non-understanding, inconsistency, imitation, variable structure, contingency. Finished only shortly before his death in 1992, Composition in Retrospect completes the documentation of Cage’s thought that began with his classic book Silence (1961), but it is an introduction and invitation to his work as much as a summary or conclusion.
South Oxford Space
138 S. Oxford St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
bet. Hanson Pl & Atlantic Ave
Subway: A/C to Lafayette Ave, B/Q to Atlantic Ave, G to Fulton St