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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you who can't be limited to ten or even to one hundred.

For those of you who don't think a vertical perspective is at all useful for thinking about the arts.

For those of you who are just generally inclusive.

This is your thread.

Every once and awhile, post a composer or twelve that you admire with a brief note about why you admire them. You might even mention specific works, if you like. No favorites, though. We don't have no stinking favorites.;)

I'll start.

Michèle Bokanowski--I was in the Hollywood Amoeba shortly after it had opened, when it still had a lot of 3" CDs. I had already discovered that the Cinema pour l'oreille series was pretty cool, so when I saw her L'etoile absinthe in the characteristic packaging of that series, I bought it automatically. Some days later I put it on for the first time. Amazing. Overwhelming.

The next day I made the 90 minute drive back in to Hollywood to see if I could find any more discs by this amazing composer. There was one, in the three inch section, in the same Cinema pour l'oreille series. Either I'd overlooked it (unlikely), or it had come in in the two days since my last visit (also unlikely). Either way, there it was, so I bought it.

A couple of months later, CalArts--another 30 minutes or so up the road from Amoeba--hosted a weekend of the films of Patrick Bokanowski and of the music of Michèle Bokanowski and flew them from Paris to be there in person. Not just extraordinarily talented but also extraordinarily nice people.

[N.B.--I won't have time to do this very often, myself. I just wanted to counter the glut of new and resurrected "Top 10" (or 50 or 100 or 25 or whatever) lists that have been doing the old mushroom trick on TC recently.

And what I just said and the way I said it should not be taken as in any way a model for your own posts. This is a freeforall, OK?]
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hahahaha, only two responses in and already the attacks have started.

And it's not even a particularly contentious topic.

But some of my colleagues are particularly contentious people, especially if I've said anything. I must be stopped, at all costs!

Well, norman, perhaps I too didn't think that "amazing" and "overwhelming" were all that useful, hence the other stuff. The driving back an hour and a half (each way) on some of the worst freeways in the world just on the off-chance of finding another piece by this outrageous composer. And that other piece likely as not not being nearly as overwhelming as the absinthe star. Maybe it will be, maybe not. But I'm willing to take the risk. So that was my story.

You want a description of the piece? Fine. I can do that, too, but I think the anecdote about driving into Hollywood more convincing about the music's effect on me than a mere description of the piece. But what the hay? It starts with a kind of stutter, a sound that starts, very briefly pauses, and comes rushing back in again. Not even a pause, really. More like a hiccough. It's a crescendo, too, so the second part of the sound really comes swooping in at you. So it's intriguing and unsettling and startling all at once. And that's only the first sound, lasting less than a second. It's one of the more instantly compelling openings of any piece I know. Then there's a high frequency that comes floating in over the top of what you're now aware was not one sound but two--a low frequency drone and the hiccough sound (which is vaguely voice-like--no surprise, as it's the composer's voice, heavily processed). The high sound turns into a kind of melody. That is, the frequency changes, going higher and lower, but always floating over the top of the lower sounds.

We're only about a second, a second and a half, into the piece, and we've got already the three main strands of the thing. The low drone, the stuttering vocal sound, and the high, long, slow sounds. That's it. And those three move and turn slowly around each other--the vocal sound sometimes speeding up, a stunning effect, but the drone and the high "melody" staying serene and aloof throughout. It is the richest sounding piece with the most economical of materials that I know of. Perhaps Xenakis' Bohor is close, but Bohor's materials are slightly more various. And voluptuous as Bohor is, I find L'etoile absinthe even more so.

A word of warning, norman. Do not think that your snark will produce such positive results every time. You just happened to catch me at a particularly advantageous moment. It probably won't happen again.:)
 

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We don't need no stinking musical descriptions. ;) The composer's name, and some pieces you're enthusiastic about will suffice. This is not an attack. I'll check back for some interesting responses.

I don't have any unfamiliar composers or pieces to contribute at the moment. I'm on a Lutoslawski kick, but I'm pretty sure everyone's heard of him.
 
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Essentially: Text vs Listing/Ordering.

For me, I do think the former more "useful" than the latter.

For me.
well yes. I'm not against the idea. But it depends what the text is (for instance: someone can think also that Justin Bieber is an amazing composer, but if I don't know who he is a description like "amazing composer" would not be very useful, certainly not more useful than the other topics that should be less useful according to someguy).
 

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Jeffrey Stolet. Concerto for Orchestra, Chainsaw and Cow.

All done on a computer. Sounds much better than it sounds.

Here he is performing another piece (not on the above CD).

If you like this you'll probably like the Concerto for O, Ch & C.
 
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I just listened to my first piece by Michèle Bokanowski, called Tabou.


An entertaining piece, with lovely ambient sounds that often change direction just as I'm getting accustomed to them. I'll listen to more.

As an aside, I see Bokanowski's done a number of soundtracks for her husband, who is an experimental film maker. I'll order what Wikipedia calls "his most prominent, fascinating, and obsessive work" soon:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Angel_(1982_film)
 

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Good luck with this project. Since I can't say much of anything about any music beyond 'I like it' (whether it's by JS Bach or Ligeti) I'm of no use here.
 

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No. What makes you ask?
 

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Just joking with you! But, "sounds much better than it sounds" is kinda like tastes much better than it tastes.
 

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Ah! I see what you mean.:)

The music sounds much better than its description (made on a computer) might suggest.

Some of us still remember the Jazz From Hell album by Zappa and the trauma thereof.

:)
 

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Essentially: Text vs Listing/Ordering.

For me, I do think the former more "useful" than the latter.

For me.
But all you said about Coates is you like her music. Surely you could have squeezed "Glissando" in there somewhere. :)

We don't need no stinking musical descriptions. ;) The composer's name, and some pieces you're enthusiastic about will suffice. This is not an attack. I'll check back for some interesting responses.
So how is this different than the "pieces that have blown you away" thread?

But I shouldn't dump on someguy's thread. Maybe we should have more personal diary type of stuff. I'm afraid for most it will just be "listened to James Tenney's Spectral Canon for Colin Nancorrow while on the couch. Amazing."
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I just listened to my first piece by Michèle Bokanowski, called Tabou.


An entertaining piece, with lovely ambient sounds that often change direction just as I'm getting accustomed to them. I'll listen to more.

As an aside, I see Bokanowski's done a number of soundtracks for her husband, who is an experimental film maker. I'll order what Wikipedia calls "his most prominent, fascinating, and obsessive work" soon:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Angel_(1982_film)
This one's a bit more recent, though. More representative of what he's been up to in this century:


L'ange is pretty entertaining, though, I must say. It was played at the CalArts event, of course, along with all the short films up the that point. Pretty amazing stuff if you have a taste for non-narrative film.
 

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But all you said about Coates is you like her music. Surely you could have squeezed "Glissando" in there somewhere. :)
Hey! Perhaps Dogen was being really off-the-wall and was liking the music of Eric Coates? :devil:
 
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