Leo Ornstein Interview MP3s

Sometime yesterday, the counter in the Other Minds catalog at the Internet Archive, aka archive.org, clicked up one notch, to 206 from 205. Yet, due to the phased processes of database tools, especially those employed by a system as massive as that of the Internet Archive, no new free download was immediately evident; the top of the stack still showed an entry from the recent Other Minds festival, held in San Francisco back in March of this year. By noon today, though, the latest files finally made themselves apparent: two hour-length radio segments of an interview with composer Leo Ornstein, held to celebrate his 100th birthday, back in 1992. Ornstein phoned in from Wisconsin, while his interviewer, Charles Amirkhanian, talked about his music with Ornstein’s son, Severo, played segments of Ornstein’s compositions and, late in the profile, discussed Ornstein’s significance and accomplishments with Nicholas Slonimsky. Though the composer’s association with electronic and ambient music is secondary at best, as an early proponent of Debussy, Ravel and Schoenberg, he is worth listening to for his first-hand account and reflections, especially when he discusses his approximation of the sound of an airplane in his “Suicide in an Airplane,” composed in 1913 (he aspired to represent the “realism of the mechanism”) and his “Hebraic Fantasy,” which was composed for Albert Einstein. This link should lead to the Ornstein entry, and this link should lead to the FTP repository of the interview recordings (in various formats). Otherwise, just head to the Archive’s home page, archive.org, and search for “ornstein” and “1992,” the year the program was first broadcast. Ornstein passed away a decade later, in 2002.

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