With the possible of exception of John Adams, composer Michael Nyman may be the most melodic of the major minimalists. Yeah, say that five times fast to a tune by Gilbert and Sullivan, and then head over to the Other Minds catalog at the Internet Archive (aka archive.org), which has in its coffers not one but four entries of Nyman’s music recorded live during OM’s 2005 concert series. These include two sets performed by the Del Sol String Quartet (String Quartet No. 3 and “The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi,” the latter featuring soprano Cheryl Keller and visuals by Mary Kelly, though the MP3s, of course, include none of Kelly’s images) and two by Nyman himself (his soundtrack for Manhatta, a short silent film by filmmaker Charles Sheeler and photographer Paul Strand, and excerpts from his most widely heard work, the score for The Piano). Make that Nyman himselves, because the Manhatta piece, the most highly recommended download of the group, features him performing on piano along with two prerecorded piano lines. The result is a rambunctious mesh of staccato lines and complementary patterns, with Jazz Age echoes of Gerswhin in particular and futurism in general (it would make a good programming choice alongside Wynton Marsalis’ Citi Movement). As with Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint composition, it appears that Manhatta is intended to be realized by a combination of live soloist plus tape, not as an ensemble performance. The Sheeler/Strand film dates from the 1920s, but unfortunately it is not, as one commentator notes in the Internet Archive entry for Nyman’s Manhatta, in the vast public-domain repository at archive.org. (This link should go to a list of the Nyman entries; otherwise search the archive.) More on Nyman at michaelnyman.com and the Del Sol at delsolquartet.com.
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5 Most Recent Posts
• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0253 / Doorbell Rehab / Record some welcome music. • 0252 / Sonic Palindrome / Make music that sounds the same backwards and forwards. • 0251 / Soothing Sounds for Parents / Remix some music for infants with parents in mind. • 0250 / Soothing Sounds for Junto / Make some peaceful music for an infant child. • 0249 / 80 Phases / Wish the minimalist composer Steve Reich a happy birthday.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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