Music from Mills (1986)
- A1 Lou Harrison – Sonata No. 2 2:43
Harpsichord – Susan Summerfield
Lou Harrison was born May 14, 1917, in Portland, Oregon. He attended San Francisco State College and studied with Henry Cowell; his other composition teachers were the equally prominent musicians Arnold Schoenberg and Virgil Thomson. Harrison is the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and grants, including the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Fulbright. He is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Harrison's music is known for his original and sensitive use of percussion-the ,orchestra' of which his music has enlarged--as well as for his employment of just intonation and subtle use of fine pitch distinctions and relationships. It is also widely recognized for its lyricism and its wide assimilation of techniques from both Eastern and Western musics. Harrison conducted some of his experiments in percussion at Mills in the 1930's and returned to teach in 1980, initially as Darius Milhaud Professor of Music.
"Written during the years 1936-1940, the Six Sonatas for Cembalo reflect what Mr. Harrison calls the Californian or Mission Style: there are alternating pieces written to portray either Spanish or Amer-Indian influences in architecture and music of the New World. The Sonatas first appeared in 1943 as an entire quarterly edition of New Music Editions, landmark collections published by Henry Cowell. They were subsequently performed all over the world during the Second World War by such noted players as Sylvia Marlowe and Ralph Kirkpatrick. The Sonatas precede by several years the American revival of baroque literature as seen in the work of Landowska and Kirkpatrick, and they are particularly well suited for today's attention to the rococo and baroque eras. They are all written in the two-reprise sonata form of the baroque, a form which we know was a favorite of Scarlatti.
Sonata No. 2, which appears in this album, is an example of the Amer-Indian style. In each repeated section, I have added ornaments to decorate the fast-moving repeated notes and trills which are written into the music." (Susan Summerfield)
Susan Summerfield is Associate Professor of Music at Mills and has been teaching there since 1977. She is an organist, harpsichordist and historian of early keyboard performance, with a particular love of the art of improvisation.
- A2 Terry Riley – The Ethereal Time Shadow (Excerpt) 9:20
Voice, Synthesizer – Terry Riley
Terry Riley's composition In C in its first performance in 1964 revolutionized an art form, pioneering the practice of gradual process in Western music. John Rockwell of the New York Times listed it as one of the ten most important compositions of the past two decades. Riley has since carried his ideas about the beauty of melodic development through repetition and slow change into the realm of improvisation. His music, layered and rich, gives the feeling of an entire wind ensemble; its softly twisting, melodic lines weave through space with a style that has been compared to Eastern music. Riley has, in fact, been a devoted student of North Indian master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath since 1970, appearing with him in numerous concerts both on tabla and as a vocal accompanist. As a soloist, he has appeared in many concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and India and has become recognized as one of the leading forces in contemporary World Music. He is best known through his recordings for Columbia Masterworks, In C, Rainbow in Curved Air, and Shri Camel, as well as his recordings for European labels.
The Ethereal Time Shadow: "In 1980, while teaching at Mills, I received a John Simon Guggenheim grant to make a setting for some of the ecstatic, devotional poems that appear in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna Parmahansa, the great Bengali saint who lived in the latter part of the 19th century at Dakshineschwar, a marvelous temple complex on the banks of the sacred Ganges river near Calcutta. These poems were sung as Bhajans (devotional songs) by him and his many devotees and musician friends, who would congregate at the temple from time to time.
I have never heard these particular Bhajans sung in Bengali with their original melodies, but I was struck by the spiritual power of their words even in the English translations. I felt a desire to recreate a setting for these poems and worked on three of them in their English translations: 1) O When Will Dawn That Blessed Day, 2) Remember This, Oh Mind, and 3) O Mother Make Me Mad With Thy Love. I treated both the wording and musical form . in quite an improvised manner, while giving the sections a definite formal outline.
This is in no way a new raga, but is rather a raga-inspired form which arose naturally, with its particular pitch emphasis caused by the sets of just-tuned intervals I designed for this composition on two Prophet V synthesizers. Of the two synthesizers, one is playing a quite long sequenced program, while the other is used as a solo instrument with extensive utilization of the pitch bend wheel to mix notes and shadow the vocal line." (Terry Riley)
- A3 Luciano Berio – Chamber Music 7:10
Cello – Bonnie Hampton
Clarinet – Donald O'Brien
Conductor – Jean-Louis LeRoux
Harp – Marcella DeCray
Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Olivia Stapp
Performer – Mills Performing Group
Luciano Berio was born into a musical family in Oniglia, Italy, in 1925. His first music teacher was his father, who was an organist and composer. He studied composition at the Music Academy in Milan with Giorgio Ghedini and Giulio Paribeni, and later with Luigi Dallapiccola at Tanglewood. He taught at Mills from 1961 to 1964 and is regarded as a leading figure of the mid-twentieth century avant garde. Berio's later compositions include chamber music for diverse instruments, electronic, orchestral and vocal works.
Chamber Music was written in 1953 and is an example of Berio's early serial music. The text for female voice comes from James Joyce, a frequent choice for Berio, and is accompanied by clarinet, cello and harp. The refined and sonorous texture of the piece is created by a mixture of restrained lyricism and pointillistic writing. In three sections, the work begins with a strict twelve-tone part, followed by a rhythmic study on the note A, with the final section containing timbral and melodic imitations among the cello, clarinet and harp.
- A4 Dave Brubeck – Summer Song 2:56
Arranged By [Orchestral Setting], Conductor – Howard Brubeck
Bass – Eugene Wright
Concertmaster – Max Pollikoff
Drums – Joe Morello
Performer – Dave Brubeck Quartet With Orchestra, The*
Piano – Dave Brubeck
Saxophone – Paul Desmond
This work originally appeared on the album Brandenburg Gate: Revisited, Columbia Records album #CL-1963, released in 1963 and recorded in Summer, 1961.
Thanks also to Richard Jeweler and Russell Gloyd for their kind assistance, Phil Elwood and Gary Larsen for discographic research, and Andrea Finkelstein of CBS Records.
Dave Brubeck was born in Concord, California, in 1920, one of three soak of a cattleman. Trained in classical piano by his mother, he began developing his own musical language at an early age, improvising on classical themes and reworking popular tunes he heard on radio. He entered the University of the Pacific in Stockton with the intention of becoming a veterinarian but graduated in 1942 as a music major instead. Strongly influenced by Darius Milhaud, with whom he studied at Mills, Brubeck decided to seek a dual career in composition and jazz. From the early 1950's to the mid-1960's, Dave Brubeck concentrated on the development of his famous Quartet, writing music primarily for their use in concerts and in recordings. In later years, he has composed music in a variety of classical forms, including cantata, mass, oratorio, and music for a ballet, while remaining in the mainstream of jazz activity. Brubeck was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree by Mills College in 1982.
"Summer Song was originally heard on the album Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A. (Columbia Records CL-984). The present version was my first arrangement of one of Dave's tunes. It was written for the Quartet's first performance with the San Diego Symphony in 1958 and was performed later that summer at the first Monterey Jazz Festival. In the meantime, a vocal version with Louis Armstrong and Dave appeared on The Real Ambassadors (Columbia Records CS-2250) with lyrics by Dave and Iola, his wife. Some of its potential as a 'standard' is evidenced by its adaptability in each of the different treatments which it has received thus far." (Howard Brubeck)
- B1 David Rosenboom – In The Beginning: Etude I (Trombones) 9:48
Computer [Macintosh Computer Program For Just Intonation Guide Tones] – Scot Gresham-Lancaster
Trombone – Toyoji Tomita
David Rosenboom was born in Fairfield, Iowa, in 1947 and grew up on a farm near Quincy, Illinois. He is known as an innovator in composition for instruments, electronics, and multi-media, an accomplished performer, author and developer of computer applications in interdisciplinary arts. He is acclaimed for pioneering research in extended musical interface with the human nervous system. Rosenboom studied composition and electronic and computer music with Gordon Binkerd, Salvatore Martirano, Kenneth Gaburo, and Lejaren Hiller and engaged in special studies in physics, computer science and experimental psychology. Since then he has received numerous commissions and research grants and has produced many recordings and publications.
In the late 1960's he was a Creative Associate Rockefeller Fellow at SUNY in Buffalo, Artistic Coordinator of New York's multi-media palace The Electric Circus, co-founder of Neurona Co. (electronics R&D in the arts), and an independent writer/producer of music for television and other media. His music explored unique notation systems, extended instrument techniques, multi-media, theater, live electronics and improvisation in works like A Precipice in Time, She Loves Me She Loves Me Not..., and How Much Better If Plymouth Rock Had Landed On The Pilgrims.
In the 1970's he was co-founder of the Music Department at York University in Toronto, the Aesthetic Research Centre of Canada and the performance art collective Maple Sugar. He carried out extensive studies in information processing in the brain in relation to aesthetic experience and produced musical realizations of the results as heard on the albums Brainwave Music and On Being Invisible and seen in the books Biofeedback and the Arts and Selected Articles 1968-1982. His music explored improvisation, performance art, instrumental music and applications of artificial intelligence to computer-aided performance. He collaborated with noted artists such as pianist J.B. Floyd and mrdangam master Trichy Sankaran on the album Suitable for Framing, artist/film maker George Manupelli and many others.
In 1979-1980, he developed a computerized keyboard instrument, the Touché, in collaboration with Donald Buchla. He taught music, interdisciplinary art and artificial intelligence at the San Francisco Art Institute, 1981-1985, and co-founded an electronic arts program. In recent years he has composed several collections of works which explore new song forms (Daytime Viewing and J. Jasmine. . My New Music, both with Jacqueline Humbert), live electronics (Future Travel), new harmonic and melodic languages (In The Beginning), and models of evolution (Zones of Influence). In 1979 he joined the faculty at Mills where he is currently Head of the Music Department and Director of the Center for Contemporary Music.
"In the Beginning is a macro-title referring to a series of nine works created from 1978 through 1981. They are written for large and small instrumental ensembles, computer-aided electronic instruments, film/video, and synthetic speech. A unique harmonic, rhythmic and melodic language is developed in the works inspired by research on a model of proportional structures in music and an evolving, topologically modeled theory of musical 'shape' perception.
There is programmatic content in the works which explores human beings' propensity to attempt to double themselves, in both religion and technology. A scenario for the evolution of human consciousness toward the birth of a macroscopic Earth-organism, to which all individual entities contribute, unfolds. This 'Etude' juxtaposes two elements in that scenario. A slow chorale represents the idea of resonance as a key to creation within an initially smooth medium, like undifferentiated space. Faster, short note parts mirror nature in the creation of singularities within the medium, like particles, or differentiated units of perception. Cycles of growth and decay result from the natural reinforcement of proportions with each other, while stochastic methods are used to control the quality of transitions from one. section to another." (David Rosenboom)
- B2 Robert Ashley – Flying Saucer Dialogue 7:14
Keyboards, Engineer [Sound Design], Mixed By, Producer – Paul Shorr
Producer – Lawrence Brickman
Voice – Jacqueline Humbert
Voice, Keyboards, Producer – Robert Ashley
Robert Ashley is known as a pioneer in the development of large-scale, collaborative performance works and new forms of opera such as That Morning Thing and In Memoriam... Kit Carson. Landmark recordings, such as She was a Visitor and In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women, have pointed the way to new uses of language in a musical setting. His current works, operas for television entitled Perfect Lives, Atalanta (Acts of God), and Now Eleanor's Idea, are continuations of his long-time interest in and use of visual media to express musical ideas.
Ashley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1930. He studied and worked at the Speech Research Laboratories at the University of Michigan, and was a Research Assistant in Acoustics at the Architectural Research Laboratory. He studied composition with Ross Lee Finney, Leslie Bassett, Roberto Gerhard and Wallingford Riegger.
During the 1960s, he was co-organizer of the ONCE Festival in Ann Arbor which, from 1961 to 1969, presented many of the decade's major artists. He organized and directed the legendary ONCE Group, a music-theater collaborative that toured from 1965 to 1969. From 1966 to 1976. he toured with the Sonic Arts Union, the composers' collective that included David Behrman, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma. During 1975 and 1976 he produced and directed his fisrt television opera Music with Roots in the Aether (Video Portraits of Composers and their Music), which documented the work and ideas of seven major American composers. From 1969 to 1981, Ashley was Director of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills.
Atalanta (Acts of God) is a comic opera in ten scenes with multi-projector slide show. Its "subject" is the character of three men who "stood apart" from their society by virtue of their genius: Max Ernst (surrealist painter), Willard Reynolds (shaman-storyteller) and Bud Powell (pianist-composer). The music and texts were composed in the form of anecdotes or "moral fables" composed and performed in the spirit of "divine inspiration" or heedlessness. It is Ashley's intention to invoke the characters of the opera through this method. Atalanta (Acts of God), whose theme is architecture, is the first part of a trilogy of narrative works ("operas"), of which Perfect Lives, whose theme is agriculture, is the second part, and Now Eleanor's Idea, whose theme is geneaolgy, is part three.
"Flying Saucer has come to Earth for important indicator event concerning humans: The Marriage of Atalanta. Problem: Apples. ('Apples, even golden ones, for one of the greatest living humans?') Log: 'Pick up the apples, in whatever form, and take them to Earth-base for analysis. You will know them. This has been arranged. After analysis they are to be returned to where you got them. No evidence that they were gone. What we need to know is what they are and what is their attraction for this great human.' Flying Saucer briefed on 'current' human concerns, specifically, architecture: shelters, power generators; monuments (functional, creative, symbolic space; i.e., images of vision, narrative and sound). Simple Flying Saucer Mission. What could be easier?
Flying Saucer misses the mark by thousands of years. Arrives mid-twentieth century. Picks up three, charming men. Earth base now a small-town bank in Illinois. Put them in the bank for a moment, where they will be seen, take them back to where they came from. All this in zero-time. Situation getting worse. Morale is 'falling.' Flying Saucer personnel in advanced stages of enchantment, picking up bad habits, two hours in the bathroom in the morning, all-night parties, drinking, drugs, always humming songs ('working on the changes, sir'), god knows what next. Personnel is not immune to imagination. Affects them like a virus. Next thing you know, some will want to stay ('you know, sir, I'm really getting to like it here'). Some apples." (Robert Ashley)
- B3 Anthony Braxton – Composition No. 62 ( + 30 + 96) 5:48
Soprano Saxophone – Anthony Braxton
Synthesizer [Kurzweil 250 Digital Synthesizer] – David Rosenboom
Anthony Braxton, composer, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and conductor, was born in Chicago, where he began studying music at age 11. After service in Korea with the 8th Army Band, he returned to Chicago and enrolled in Roosevelt University and Chicago Music College, studying philosophy and music composition and harmony. In 1966, Braxton joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in Chicago, an organization considered to be instrumental in the development of creative improvised music in the 1960's and 1970's. Since that time, he has recorded widely and performed throughout the world, winning numerous prizes and awards for both composition and performance. He is an acknowledged leader in the field of systematic improvisation and extended instrumental music, has recently composed large scale, operatic works and produced several volumes of theoretical, aesthetic and analytical writings about music. In 1985, he joined the Mills College faculty as Darius Milhaud Associate Professor of Music.
Composition No. 62 ( + 30 + 96) is a combination structural platform that establishes terms (and particulars) for creative participation. The reality of this forum takes material from three different compositions to be used as fixed/mutable information for collective improvisation. This is in keeping with my idea to establish a universe of interchangeable and interlocking structural systems and multiple criterions (to be drawn from the collective pool of my completed works and systems). This is a 'state of being' for two instrumentalists that 'flows into the open space' (into the 'electric moment'). Composition No. 62 ( + 30 + 96) is a vibrational imprint image (context) that provides terms for interaction dynamics. The listener is given this experience as a sonic journey that involves the collective input of both instrumentalists. Believe me, Jelly Roll Morton would have understood the beauty and excitement of this soundstate. Ideas are flowing in every direction. I wanted this effort to serve as a platform for David Rosenboom and myself to relax and play (think/feel) music (sound/logic... and dreams). Improvisation in Composition No. 62 ( + 30 + 96) is the 'fluid' of the sound space that binds the composite logic of the experience. 'I dare each musician to not make a mistake!"' (Anthony Braxton)
- C1 David Behrman – Interspecies Smalltalk, Part 2 (Excerpt) 5:42
Computer [Computer Music System], Producer – David Behrman
Engineer [Recording], Producer – Steve Cellum
Violin – Takehisa Kosugi
David Behrman is a composer of music and designer of sound installations which often use microcomputers, video graphics displays, computer music hardware and sensors for linking people to electronic music systems. His installations have been shown at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, and Fuer Augen and Ohren in Berlin. He is currently collaborating with George Lewis on an interactive computer music installation for La Villette, the national museum of science and industry in Paris.
Behrman studied with Walter Piston, Wallingford Riegger, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Henri Pousseur. Together with Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma, he founded the Sonic Arts Union in 1966 which toured from 1966 till 1976. He produced the Music of our Time series of recordings for Columbia Masterworks in 1967-1970, which included albums by many influential composers.
Behrman toured as composer/performer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1970 through 1976 and was commissioned to compose music for several of the company's repertory pieces. He and Robert Ashley were Co-directors of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills from 1975 to 1980. In 1983 and 1984, as consultant to Children's Television Workshop, he composed music and designed sound software for children's educational games on home computers. John Rockwell referred to Behrman in the book All American Music as "a leader in the school of newly humanized electronic music".
Interspecies Smalltalk is a set of pieces for instrumental players and a computer-based music performance system 'designed and assembled by the composer. The system consists of pitch sensors ('ears' for listening to the players), a color video-graphics display and various computer-controlled music-making devices, some homemade. Each piece consists of a computer program governing interaction between performers and the system, and each creates situations rather than set compositions: the performers have options rather than instructions, and the exploration of each situation as it unfolds is up to them.
- C2 Elinor Armer – Thaw 5:51
Piano – Lois Brandwynne
Recorded live in a Composers' Coop concert on June 8, 1975 Publisher. Elinor Armer (ASCAP)
Elinor Armer is a native of California. She studied composition with Darius Milhaud, Leon Kirchner (at Mills 1954-1961) and Roger Nixon, and piano with Alexander Libermann. Her professional background includes many years as concert pianist, a wide gamut of teaching experience from beginning to graduate level in piano, theory, and composition, and an equally broad spectrum of original works ranging from abstract and technically challenging to pop, theatrical, film, and beginners' materials.
Thaw is described by the composer as "a descriptive, idiomatic piano work featuring center pedal, overtone reverberations, and the entire spectrum of the keyboard and its sonorities. It was written for Lois Brandwynne, who has been my friend, collaborator, and prima pianist since our Mills days together." Lois Brandwynne notes that "Thaw has become one of my favorite contemporary piano works to perform for varied audiences; it is a pleasure to play, and, as I observe from audience response, a pleasure to hear. Beginning with a technique introduced by Schumann in Papillons- the decay of suspended harmonies through gradual release of each key-this intriguing sound expands by phrases in intensity, releasing into a quasi-recitative section; there follows a dramatic climax of these 'personal utterances', the piece subsiding back again into a further exploration of the opening phrases and a ghostly 'evaporation' of sound. It is highly effective, and also very comfortable and pianistic to play which is most satisfying to any pianist! I have programmed Thaw often, and will continue to do so."
- C3 Steve Reich – Melodica10:43
Steve Reich was born in New York in 1936 and is internationally recognized as a leading and influential composer. He studied philosophy at Cornell University and composition with Hall Overton, William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti. He received his M.A. in music from Mills College in 1963, where he studied with Darius Milhaud and Luciano Berio. From 1970 to 1977, his studies included African drumming, Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan and Gamelan Gambang, and traditional Cantillation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
In 1966, he began his own ensemble with three musicians. Since that time Steve Reich and Musicians, which presently numbers up to forty musicians, has performed more than 300 concerts around the world. Reich's music has been performed by major orchestras and ensembles throughout the United States and Europe. In 1971, Phase Patterns was performed in Pierre Boulez's first series of New York Philharmonic Perspective Encounter Concerts and Four Organs was performed with Michael Tilson Thomas, Steve Reich and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1973. Steve Reich has received many commissions and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, among them the Guggenheim and Koussevitzky Foundation fellowships.
"Melodica (5/22/66) is composed of one tape loop gradually going out of phase
with itself, first in two voices and then in four. The original loop is of myself playing the four note pattern on the melodica, a toy instrument. I dreamed the melodic pattern, woke up on May 22nd, 1966, and realized the piece with the melodica and tape loops in one day. Melodica was composed of musical pitches, as opposed to the speech fragments used in my two earlier tape pieces, It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966). It proved to be both a transition to instrumental music using the gradual phase shifting process, and the last tape piece I ever made" (Steve Reich)
- D1 Maggi Payne – Subterranean Network (Excerpt) 7:21
Maggi Payne received a B.M. degree from Northwestern University in 1968, a M.M. degree from the University of Illinois in 1970, and an M.F.A. from Mills College in 1972. From 1972 through 1980 she was a recording engineer in the multi-track recording facilities at the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, and she has taught recording engineering there since 1980. She also engineers at a Bay Area radio station, is engineer for a non-profit corporation which produces radio programming and records, and is an Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium, San Francisco.
She has performed her compositions, which often include visuals, throughout the United States, has two records available on the Lovely Music label, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (composition), the Mellon Foundation (video), and the Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowships (video).
"Subterranean Network,, commissioned by Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, in 1984 and composed in 1985, is an electronic work which seeks to evoke a sense of the experience of the tunnel fighting in Cu Chi during the Vietnam War. These tunnels, from which the Viet Cong fought much of the war, were dark, narrow, poorly ventilated hell holes, filled with booby traps and inconceivable real and psychological terrors which plagued the American soldiers, known as tunnel rats, whose duty it was to explore them. These men, if not killed by booby traps, snakes, spiders or scorpions, were in constant threat of ambush in the tunnels.
Subterranean Network is not an attempt at a direct representation of such an experience, but rather is a dreamlike (should I say nightmarish) reference to a specific tunnel experience. The beginning is dark and tentative; the middle full of anticipation and threatening in an attempt at resolution, but not succeeding, just as the circumstances of the war were left unresolved." (Maggi Payne)
- D2 Darius Milhaud – Segoviana 3:14
Guitar – Paul Binkley
Darius Milhaud, one of the giants of the 20th century, worked and taught at Mills from 1940 to 1971. He studied at the Paris Conservatory with Widor and d'Indy and was one of "Les Six," a group of French composers. Extremely prolific, Milhaud wrote ballets, operas, theatre pieces, symphonies, and numerous works for chamber ensembles and voice and piano. A dominant characteristic of Milhaud's music is its use of polytonalities, and he was one of the first composers to incorporate jazz into traditional European musical forms.
"Milhaud's Segoviana, Op. 336, 1957, is a fantasia in miniature, based on two themes. The first theme is characterized by block chords built largely on open fifths, with a more lyrical passage serving as a 'tail.' A transition follows, with motives reminiscent of American folk and Spanish flamenco music, to a lyrical second theme. The two themes reappear in a slightly altered form, followed by another transition to a reappearance of the first theme, followed by a coda. Small motives constantly reappear in altered form, lending a sense of development to this brief piece. The harmony is basically centered around G major, with liberal use of pentatonic scales which, coupled with a strong rhythmic impulse, gives the piece a 'jazzy' feel." (Paul Binkley)
Paul Binkley moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from London, Canada, to study at the San Francisco Conservatory and San Francisco State University. He has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera, the Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra, and the Berkeley Symphony; and as a soloist with the San Francisco Chamber Players and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Mr. Binkley has toured Europe as a member of the Xuereb/Binkley viola-guitar duo and has recorded on Opus One records in New York.
- D3 Pauline Oliveros – Alien Bog (Excerpt) 6:22
In 1960 Pauline Oliveros together with Ramon Sender began a series of concerts devoted to tape music, group improvisation and theater. The concert series was called Sonics and was based at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The tape music was produced in a modest studio at the Conservatory which Sender had devised. Sender and Oliveros were joined by visual artist Anthony Martin and composer/performer Morton Subotnick during the concert series. Sender and Subotnick co-founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center in 1962. In 1966 Oliveros and Martin became the first Co-directors of the Tape Music Center at Mills College. Oliveros joined the Music Faculty at the University of California at San Diego in 1967 teaching Electronic Music and Experimental Studies. Since 1981 Oliveros has been working as a free lance composer, performer and consultant based in New York. Currently, and in addition to her own Pauline Oliveros Foundation, Oliveros has co-founded the Good Sound Foundation together with John M. Grey, James A. Moorer and Loren Rush. Alien Bog was composed in real-time
in August, 1967, at the Mills Tape Music Center using the Buchla prototype 100 Series Modular Electronic Music System. It was part of a series of 'Bog' pieces inspired by listening to the frogs and creatures in the pond just outside the studio window at Mills. Alien Bog was premiered during a twelve-hour Tape-a-thon Concert of Oliveros works presented by Ronald Chase in his Embarcadero studio in August, 1967.
The Buchla Electronic Music System used for this piece has been documented as the world's first modular, voltage-controlled, portable electronic music instrument, later to be known as a 'synthesizer'. It still exists at the Mills Center for Contemporary Music today.
- D4 Anthony Gnazzo – Asparagas 4:49
Anthony J. Gnazzo, born in 1936 in Connecticut, lives and works in Oakland, California. He was associated with Mills College from 1967 to 1969 as a Lecturer and Director of the Mills College Tape Music Center.
"Asparagus, as even the most casual reader will note, is a topic not normally written about in record liner notes, musicological journals, or the like. I owe the title to Michael Tillotson whose utterance, after his having prepared 10 pounds of asparagus for 5 dinner guests one evening in June, 1978, seemed exquisitely appropriate for this piece which I had just completed, and which was at the time desperately in need of a title. Asparagus is dedicated to Charles Boone (at Mills 1966-1968) in retaliation for his having dedicated his Raspberries, for three drummers, to me some four years earlier.
The material was obtained from the outtakes of an editing job I had worked on a few months earlier. The job required my assembling a drum track from a number of badly mismatched takes. I found so many inconsistencies in the material that, upon completion of the original track, I decided to reassemble the material from the opposite point of view, editing to emphasize rather than delete the rhythmic irregularities. Asparagus is a superposition of several of these slightly skewed tracks which produce a composite with a completely different rhythmic character than any of its component parts." (Anthony Gnazzo)
- E1 Katrina Krimsky – Apparitions 9:15
Engineer [Recording] – Ron Kurz
Piano – Katrina Krimsky
Producer – Irmin Schmidt
Katrina Krimsky, an experienced teacher and performer of 20th-century piano music, joined the Music Faculty of Mills College as Instructor in Piano, Ensemble, and Director of the Music in August, 1967, at the Mills Tape Music Center using the Buchla prototype 100 Series Modular Electronic Music System. It was part of a series of 'Bog' pieces inspired by listening to the frogs and creatures in the pond just outside the studio window at Mills. Alien Bog was premiered during a twelve-hour Tape-a-thon Concert of Oliveros works presented by Ronald Chase in his Embarcadero studio in August, 1967.
The Buchla Electronic Music System used for this piece has been documented as the world's first modular, voltage-controlled, portable electronic music instrument, later to be known as a 'synthesizer'. It still exists at the Mills Center for Contemporary Music today.
- E2 Larry Polansky – Four Voice Cannon # 3 1:49
Larry Polansky is a composer, theorist, performer, writer, teacher, and systems designer. He came to Mills in 1981, and is currently Assistant Professor Part-Time in the Music Department, a staff member at the Center for Contemporary Music, and the Director of the Mills Contemporary Performance Ensemble. His duties at the CCM have included administration, software research and development, fund raising and public relations, and teaching. He has taught courses in the Music Department on orchestration, electronic and computer music, and American music. His compositions have included works for computers, analog electronics, and conventional instruments. He has written on a wide variety of topics ranging from experimental music theory to American traditional music.
"Four Voice Canon #3 is one of a set of five works (#2 - #6) begun in 1975. Each is a computer generated mensuration canon in four voices, each voice a list of permutations of either four or five objects. The permutation list is generated by the process of 'two-cycles', a simple group theoretic proceedure which -I used to try and create a morphogenesis in each voice that was as perceptually continuous as possible. The list is applied to different sonic parameters in each of the different realizations of the work. In Four Voice Canon #3, which is entirely generated by the computer, the canonic permutation is applied to pitch, spatial location, duration, amplitude, and about 15 timbral parameters. There are however, only five values for each of these parameters (with the exception of the temporally related ones, like duration and envelope, where the values are scaled by the mensuration factor in each voice). In addition, these five values were intentionally chosen to be rather (perceptually) close together, so that it would be even more difficult for the listener to perceive the changes within the voices themselves, and in the complex heterophonic texture
The other works in this series are: Four Voice Canon #2 (for computer controlled analog synthesizer), 1975; Four Voice Canon #4 (for four marimbas, dedicated to William Winant), 1976-80; Four Voice Canon #5 (for four percussionists, dedicated to William Winant), 1984-85, on Cold Blue Records; Four Voice Canon #6 (for computer system, realized at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music), 1986." (Larry Polansky)
- E3 Pandit Pran Nath – Dira Dira Tā Nā: Tarānā, Tīn-Tāl, Madhya-Layal Raga Bhairavī (Excerpt) 12:29
Tabla – Benjamin Wertheimer
Tambura – Shabda Kahn
Tambura, Voice – Terry Riley
Voice – Pandit Pran Nath
Pandit Pran Nath was born November 3, 1918, in Lahore, West Pakistan, of a wealthy and cultured family. He received music instruction from the age of 6 and was blessed with hearing great music performed in his house daily by musicians brought there by his grandfather. Pandit Pran Nath is fond of relating that in the morning at 4:00 AM, his grandfather brought saints to the home; in the evening, musicians. His passionate interest in music led him to leave home at the age of 13 to seek a perfect music 'Guru' which he soon found in the person of the legendary Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan Sahib of Kirana. Pandit Pran Nath lived 20 years with his teacher, gradually mastering the difficult practices of North Indian Classical vocal technique. He was fortunate to have spent his youth in the company of the last of the great vocal masters of this century, who, besides the great Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan Sahib, included such artists as Ammau Ali Khan, Pandit Dilys Chandra Vedi, Gyanni Baba of Bombay, Ustad, Rajib Ali Khan Sahib and many others. He sang his first concert on All India Radio in 1937 and was a featured artist for the radio for over 30 years. He taught the advanced vocal classes at Delhi University for 10 years and his private students included such renowned artists as Bhimgen Joshi and Salabnat Ali Khan.
In 1970 Pandit Pran Nath first came to the west and since that time has given numerous concerts in Europe and the USA. He conducted classes at Mills College from 1973 to 1984 in North Indian classical vocal music and at the Kirana Center for Indian classical music in New York. His awards included those from the J.S. Guggenheim Foundation, the Cassandra Foundation and the N.E.A. Since coming to the West in 1970, Pandit Pran Nath has done more than any other musician to bring the true spirit and sacred nature of this age old tradition to students and music audiences. In preserving the actual characteristics of these Ragas as he learned them from the last great master of the 20th century he has brought to us a powerful voice that speaks across the ages to our deepest nature.
Raga Bhairavi is special among North Indian ragas in that, although classified first as a morning raga, according to tradition it can also be performed at any time of the day or night except at sunrise or sunset. Further, it is the auspicious raga to be performed as the closing piece at the end of major concerts and festivals.
Raga Bhairavi is perhaps the most inspiring and feelingful of all the ragas, especially as its character has been portrayed by the great masters of the Kirana tradition. It is a female raga, considered to be the consort of the male Raga Bhairava. Bhairavi personifies the creative, devotional and nourishing attributes of the eternal spirit of the universal Mother Goddess in Hindu cosmology. To hear a truly great performance of the raga seems to reunite the listener's soul with the spirit of the Mother on so profound a level that the soul feels at once nourished and in a state of such rare spiritual ecstasy that it longs to hear Raga Bhairavi forever.
"Dira Dira Ta Na" attains its unique status through the fact that it uses all of the twelve pitches in the nibadh-gaan (through-composed or fixed composition). There is no other composition known to me in the history of Indian classical music which exhibits this characteristic.
Customarily, when presenting a raga which permits the use of all the twelve pitches, one performs one of the many existing fixed compositions comprised of the natural pitches of the raga, and then, in the course of the improvisations on the composition, selectively introduces and works with the remainder of the twelve pitches. My own earlier compositions for twelve pitch Raga Bhairavi followed this form and were set in the natural pitches of the saga. However, in. the creation of "Dira Dira Ta Na" I have achieved the introduction of all the twelve pitches in a natural and effortless manner and this allows the improvisations and composition to take on a more integrated relationship in the overall performance of the raga.
Stylistically, "Dira Dira Td Na" is composed in the format of a tarana. The texts for tardnd compositions are characterized by the use of traditional syllables. These syllables do not have meanings and are used by musicians in countless variations purely for the sake of their sound.
This work is to be performed in Madhyalay (medium) tempo, and is set in the rhythmic cycle Tin-tal (16 beats).
Included in this anthology is an excerpt from the 79 I V 8 ca. 12:30:00 - 12:46:30 PM Oakland recording of the premier performance of "Dira Dira Td Na" which I presented as part of a Concert of Morning Ragas at Mills College, California. I was extremely inspired and the performance was of a very rare quality. (Pandit Pran Nath with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela)
- F1 Janice Giteck – Breathing Songs From A Turning Sky (Excerpt) 7:29
Bassoon – Bruce Grainger
Cello, Producer – Walter Gray
Clarinet – William McColl
Engineer [Recording] – Albert Swanson*
Flute – Jane Lenoir
Percussion – Jarrad Powell, Matthew Kocmieroski
Performer – New Performance Group, The
Piano – Roger Nelson
Janice Giteck was born in New York in 1946. She studied at Mills receiving a B.A. in 1968 and an M.A. in 1969. She was a student of Darius Milhaud at Mills, Aspen and in Paris. She attended the classes of Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory on a grant from the French government. She also studied with Rebecca Weinstock and Bernhardt Abramowitsch on piano. Presently she resides in Seattle, WA, where she teaches music and women's studies at the Cornish Institute and is completing an M.A. in psychology.
In 1981 Ms. Giteck was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony for the composition of Tree. She has also received commissions from the Mid-Columbia Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Music Society, the Las Vegas Chamber Players, the Seattle Flute Society and the Port Costa Players and has received grants from the California Arts Council, Seattle Arts Commission, Meet the Composer Inc., Copeley Foundation, NEH and NEA. Currently, she is working with filmmaker Pat Ferrero and performer Ronnie Gilbert on a women-in-history project, A Legacy of Hearts and Hands, to be released on PBS in 1986.
Breathing Songs from a Turning Sky is a concert/theater piece which derives its form from the Kabala - ten states of enlightenment or godliness. It is a series of musical meditations combining the use of pentatonic scales; the breathing body, which is human; and elaborate stage lighting. The two sections selected for this recording are #6-Beauty and #5-Power. Breathing Songs was composed in 1980 on a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It has been performed by the New Music Ensembles at the University of Texas, Austin, the San Francisco Conservatory, the Las Vegas New Music Festival, the First National Congress on Women in Music at New York University, and by the New Performance Group at the Cornish Institute in Seattle, featured on this recording.
- F2 Robert Sheff – Remembering2:27
Composed By – Robert Sheff
Voice, Electronics – "Blue" Gene Tyranny
Born in San Antonio, Texas, on January 1, 1945, Robert Sheff has composed and as a keyboardist performed avant-garde music for the past 25 years. His music for many types of electronic and orchestral instruments explores new forms of improvisation and examines mysterious
natural and social phenomena.
He has produced and recorded many albums of other composers' music, published articles on contemporary music, and composed soundtracks for several award-winning films and videotapes, stage plays, and dance. His collaborative compositions include the harmonic/melodic templates and piano playing for Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives (Private Parts), an opera for television. From 1971-1982 he was a recording engineer and an Instructor in Music in the Center for Contemporary Music and Music Department at Mills College.
He currently tours internationally in solo concerts (The Intermediary for piano and computer, etc.) under the stage name "Blue" Gene Tyranny, and with Ashley's Atalanta(Acts of God), The Love of Life Orchestra, and Timothy Buckley and The Troublemakers (dance). He is composing an opera to be premiered in Rome in 1986, a cantata for voices and electronics (Out Beyond The Last Divide), and is preparing a new record album of Country Boy Country Dog (How To Make Music From The Sounds Of Your Daily Life).
"Remembering (a time travel piece): Trying to remember the image of a friend's face ... spoken and internal language, and the Doppler shift in-between ... an infinite net between your brain and your face to the rest of the so-called real world...as you travel in time, you inflect differently - a transduction, a change of form without a change of energy - or use the same gesture and perform it with differing content, even for the brief moment going from your brain to a mouthed sound, if we are to believe that picture, playing speech like you play an instrument ... so fine to do what is called remembering... passionate love for a friend ... and gradually his face appears ... the video image: digital image of clocked time floating in peaceful blue." (Robert Sheff)
- F3 Ramon Sender – Audition (Excerpt) 2:54
Autoharp [Modified] – Delia Moon, Moses Moon
Dilruba [Modified Dalruba] – Ramon Sender Morningstar
Ramon Sender, Jr., was born to Ramon J. Sender, novelist, and Amparo Barayon, pianist. When he was four, they came to America in 1939 as Spanish Civil War refugees. Sender studied with George Copeland, Elliott Carter, Harold Shapero and Henry Cowell. He co-founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center with Morton Subotnick which operated an electronic music studio and gave monthly concerts through 1966 when the Center moved to Mills College on a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. He received his M.A. from Mills where he studied with Darius Milhaud from 1962 to 1965. He resigned from the Center in 1966 to co-direct the Trips Festival with Stewart Brand, and then moved to Sonoma County. From 1966 to 1970, he lived on two communal ranches and returned to composing acoustic instrumental music and vocal chants designed for non-professionals.
- F4 Morton Subotnick – The Key To Songs (Excerpt) 8:29
Electronics [Yamaha Tx-816 And Qx-1 Electronic Music System] – Morton Subotnick
Morton Subotnick was born in Los Angeles in 1933 and is one of the acknowledged pioneers in the field of electronic music and an innovator in works involving instruments and other media. He studied with Darius Milhaud at Mills and was a founding member of the Mills Performing Group and the San Francisco Tape Music Center. He was the first composer to be commissioned to write an electronic composition expressly for the phonograph medium, Silver Apples of the Moon. This classic work and The Wild Bull have been choreographed by leading dance companies throughout the world and remain in permanent repertory.
In addition to composing numerous works in the electronic medium, Subotnick has written eight works for orchestra, including a Bicentennial Commission by the six major U.S. orchestras, chamber and ensemble works, music for the theatre and multi-media events. A recent work, The Double Life of Amphibians, was a collaboration between director Lee Breuer, visual artist Irving Petlin and composer Subotnick utilizing live interaction between singers, instrumentalists and computer in a 'staged tone poem' premiered at the Los Angeles Olympics Arts Festival. A recent work, Jacob's Room, a monodrama composed for the Kronos Quartet and Joan La Barbara, received its premiere in San Francisco in January, 1985. His most recent composition, A Key to Songs for chamber orchestra and synthesizer, was premiered at the 1985 Aspen Music Festival. Subotnick tours extensively as a lecturer and composer/performer and is on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts.
The Key to Songs was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation and was conceived as music for an imaginary ballet based on Une Semaine de Bonte (A Week of Kindness, or The Seven Deadly Elements), Max Ernst's surrealistic novel in collage. It is scored for 2 pianos, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone (two players), viola, cello and electronic sounds produced in real-time on the Yamaha TX-816 and QX-1. Part I consists of high energy music while part II is slower and more-dream like; in fact, part II is a slowed down development of the 1st part. Throughout the work are fragments of Schubert songs which thematically as well as musically relate back to the literary source ... A Week of Kindness.
A1 is a part from "Six Sonatas For Cembalo", composed 1936-1940, recorded at the Center for Contemporary Music Recording Studio.
A2 composed 1981-82, recorded in concert by Südwestfunk Radio, Baden-Baden, Germany, May 1982.
A3 composed 1953, recorded in a Mills Performing Group concert, October 17, 1969.
A4 composed 1958, recorded in Summer, 1961.
B1 composed 1979, recorded at the Center for Contemporary Music Recording Studio.
B2 is part of the opera "Atalanta (Acts of God)", finished in 1985. The original sound materials are taken from an anecdote for videotape directed by Lawrence Brickman.
B3 composed 1976, recorded at the Center for Contemporary Music Recording Studio.
C1 recorded at Roulette, New York City, June 1985. Comissioned for Merce Cunningham's dance "Pictures" in 1984.
C2 composed 1975, recorded live in a Composers' Coop concert on June 8, 1975.
C3 composed 1966.
D1 composed 1985.
D2 composed 1957, recorded at the Center for Contemporary Music Recording Studio.
D3 composed 1967.
D4 composed 1978.
E1 composed 1984, recorded at Powerplay Recording Studios AG, Switzerland.
E2 composed 1975-76. Created at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford University.
E3 recorded on April 8, 1979, at a concert in the Mills College Student Union.
F1 composed 1980, performed at Cornish Institute in Seattle, March 1984.
F2 composed 1974, recorded at the composer's home studio, Oakland 1974, partly reprocessed at the Center for Contemporary Music 1981.
F3 composed 1981, recorded live in the Mills College Concert Hall during a Mills Tape Music Center reunion concert on March 20, 1981.
F4 composed 1985.