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Bryars Stream

The BBC’s Hear & Now radio program has been posting segments of an interview with composer Gavin Bryars. The first three parts (of a total four) are up now (here). The primary focus of the conversation is Bryars’ new work, From Egil’s Saga, which involves using technology to reproduce architectural acoustics — “a hallway, a vestibule, and so on” — and which he calls “ambisonics” and credits in part to composer Alvin Lucier. “I’m not terribly interested in extraordinary digital trickery,” says Bryars, who layered murky sounds in his Sinking of the Titanic and looped a hobo’s prayer for Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. In the interview, he talks about his devotion to a particular type of pencil, his use of the Sibelius score-production software, and his penchant for putting jokes into his written music. (In a related link, critic and composer Kyle Gann, on his PostClassic blog [here], has been discussing Sibelius, which he uses in his composition. “No one seems to be monitoring the impact of notation software on composing,” he writes, “and it is sure to be vast — and homogenizing.”) The BBC webpage suggests that the fourth and final segment of the Bryars interview will be uploaded on April 8. It also includes links to two interviews with Bryars from 2003.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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