Charlemagne Palestine (b. 1945)

Illumination (1971)

Charlemange Palestine & Simone Forti

1. Illumination (1971)
2. Wed Oct 13th 1971 (1971)
3. Piano Piece for Simone (1971)

Illuminatios, or Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti duo interactions, illuminated with dim red lights. In early 1970 Mort Subotnick asked Charlemagne Palestine to join his soon to be created Media Department at the new 'Dream School of the Future' endowed by the Disneys to be called the California Institute of the Arts. Charlemagne and Simone Forti met there in 1970, when La Monte Young asked them to arrange a California concert for Pandit Pran Nath. They decided to try an improvisation session together and Charlemagne invited Simone the first time to the electronic music studio where he worked regularly. Their medium blended as a play of interacting sound waves and solid matter in motion as Charlemagne and Simone shared energy and focus. The three previously unreleased recordings on this LP were made between October and December 1971. The first take, titled 'Illumination,' is for two voices moving in the space with small bells and crystal glasses while Simone Forti plays the molimo, a corrugated tube meant for connecting the gas stove. The second take titled, 'Wed Oct 13th 1971,' has Simone and Charlemagne in a song dialogue as animals do. It was also at Cal Arts that Charlemagne Palestine first encountered a Bosendorfer Imperial Piano of Vienna. He played it often as Simone danced during their 'Illuminations'. Take three is a song sang in falsetto while playing the Bosendorfer Imperial in an arpeggiated style that predates the 'strummings'. Listening to these 'three takes' 40 years later, they ooze a timeless, carefree mystical, magical, dreamy atmosphere that evoked the times of the late 60s to early 70s in Charlemagne and Simone part of the California Art Scene. 'Illuminations' were a unique open spontaneous form of performance, ritual and prayer.

Four Manifestations on Six Elements (1974)
Produced by Sonnabend Gallery

1. Two Perfect Fifths, A Major Third Apart, Reinforced Twice
2. Fifths In The Rhythm Three Against Two For Bösendorfer Piano - One
3. Fifths In The Rhythm Three Against Two For Bösendorfer Piano - Two
4. Fifths In The Rhythm Three Against Two For Bösendorfer Piano - Three
5. Sliding Fifths For Piano (1972)
6. Three Perfect Fifths, A Major Second Part, Reinforced Twice

Tintinnabulations for Tomorrow and Tomorrow (2010)

Tintinnabulations for Tomorrow and Tomorrow (2010)

Opening-concert for ‘Club Transmediale’ 2010 in Berlin. Charlemagne Palestine plays his composition 'Tintinnabulations for tomorrow and tomorrow’ on the carillon in the Tiergarten, next to the House of World Cultures - it’s snowing severely.

Recorded by Paul Paulun, 05 Feb 2010


An Interview with Charlemagne Palestine (Fluchtpunkt Indien’, 2006)

Charlemagne Palestine talks about the socio-cultural situation in the USA in the 1960s and the alternative ‘India’, about concerts by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan in the US, the concept of ’Sa’ in the Indian musical system and Pran Nath’s influence on Terry Riley and La Monte Young.

Part of the radio-documentary ‘Fluchtpunkt Indien’, about the influence of Indian music on Western musicians

Author: Paul Paulun
Produktion: WDR3, Musikpassagen
Year: 2006
Length: 18.36
The Fugs - The Garden is open
Ali Akhbar Khan - Raga Khamaj
Pran Nath - Raga Punjabi Berva
Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band

An Interview with Charlemagne Palestine (December 27, 1972)

Charles Amirkhanian talks with the noted avant-garde composer Charlemagne Palestine on the subject of the latter's experiments with hearing subtle overtone images in music tones. Palestine had recently returned from performing in Europe and describes the concerts he gave there. He has also taught at Cal Arts and was a noted carillon performer in New York City for 6 years.

An Interview with Charlemagne Palestine (November 20, 1980)

In this brief KFPA interview with Charles Amirkhanian, recorded on Nov. 20, 1980, composer Charlemagne Palestine discusses how his early minimal drone works were a reaction to the dense compositional style of Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, but have since evolved beyond basic minimalism to embrace a more complex sonority. He then goes on to give a description of his string piece for 11 performers, “Birth of a Sonority”, as well as his pieces for the Bösendorfer piano. Much of Palestine’s work is focused on the use of overtones. The interview concludes with an excerpt of “Schlingen Blaengen” an organ piece recorded in 1979.

The Music of Charlemagne Palestine (1975)

Ingram Marshall presents a program on the life and work of composer and visual artist, Charlemagne Palestine. Palestine began his musical career as a carillonneur at St. Thomas's Church in New York City, and later studied electronic music with Morton Subotnick at NYU. In 1970 this quintessential New Yorker traveled west to study at Cal Arts where he became interested in using electronics to produce a subtle style of drone music. On his return to New York in 1973, Palestine became involved in the downtown scene and became well known for his very long recitals performed on the Bösendorfer grand piano, utilizing a unique strumming style that produced a variety of extended harmonics. In this program Marshall plays selections of Palestine’s electronic music interspersed with an interview he had with the composer in the Fall of 1974, as well as a sample of his work with the bells of St. Thomas, recorded just after Christmas in 1974.

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