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340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Jerry Bowles
(212) 582-3791

Managing Editor:
David Salvage

Contributing Editors:

Galen H. Brown
Evan Johnson
Ian Moss
Lanier Sammons
Deborah Kravetz
Eric C. Reda
Christian Hertzog
(San Diego)
Jerry Zinser
(Los Angeles)

Web & Wiki Master:
Jeff Harrington

Latest Posts

Love and Cow Bells
Sorceress of the New Piano
Well, That Was Fun
Naxos Dreaming
Reich@70: Let the Celebrations Begin
The Bi-Coastal Jefferson Friedman
Violins Invade Indianapolis
John Cage (born Los Angeles, 5 September 1912; died New York, 12 August 1992).
The People United Will Never Be Divided
Attention Sequenza21 Shoppers


Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for review. Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Saturday, November 26, 2005
In Praise of Harrington

Stirling Newberry, who has a popular political blog called Blogging of the President has written a terrific appreciation of Jeff Harrington's pioneering role in promoting the digital distribution of new music on the web. Jeff, who serves as our volunteer Wiki and Webmaster, is a large and unquiet force of nature and we're honored to have him on our team.

Lots of the new stuff in the blogs. Jack Reilly has a piece on "Improvisation versus Composition;" Everett Minchew reports that Katrina has not killed the music in Biloxi; and Lawrence Dillon wonders what's so special about a couple of hundred people following a guy waving a stick.
Sir Norman's Bad Day

It's hard to believe a man who can design a bridge as beautiful as the one below could design a building as ugly as this one and put it on the corner of the block where I live. This is Foster and Partners' still-unfinished 50-story tower that has grown out of the shell of the old sandstone Hearst Building at 57th and Eighth Avenue.

Not much new here at the ranch today but regular contributor David Toub has a splendid review of the new, much discussed, CD of music by Julius Eastman over at his own blog. David is also having a paper on New Opportunities for Music Dissemination (or �How to Get Your Music Heard When You Are Outside the System�) published in the next edition of KunstMusik, which is a German new music journal started by Maria de Alvear. It is all about blogging, podcasting, and other ways to use the Web to get your music heard. And, he says, it�s based on real life experiences.
Pushing the envelope

Does a 21st century transcription of 14th and 15th century music played on a 17th and 18th century organ qualify for Sequenza21? Well this post is all about pushing the envelope, which is precisely what French organist Louis Thiry has done with his new project Ma fin est mon commencement This is a recording of 21st century transcriptions by Thiry of polyphonic vocal works from the 14th and 15th century. The title comes from the three voice rondeau from Guillaume de Machaut, and the other composers featured are Guillaume Dufay and Josquin Des Pr�s.

For the full story of this contemporary reworking of Renaissance masterpieces, and the remarkable organ that it was recorded on follow An Overgrown Path to Ma fin est mon commencement.

The header photo also pushes the envelope. It is the fabulous Millau Viaduct in France, designed by Foster and Partners. No direct connection with the music, but in my view this is not a bridge - it is a performance installation. Just like Janet Cardiff's 40 Piece Motet, and Louis Thiry's transcriptions. Image linked from Wikipaedia.

Please report broken links, missing images, and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

Paradisi Gloria
Frank Martin
Marcello Viotti, Ulf Schirmer
Fran�ois Roux, Gilles Cachemaille, et al.
M�nchner Rundfunkorchester
Profil - G Haenssler

Frank Martin wrote In Terra Pax for Radio Geneva to broadcast on the day World War II ended. He envisioned it performed by two choirs--one Catholic, one Protestant but the Catholic Church objected. So much for the value of religion in promoting world peace. Happy Thanksgiving.
In Terra Pax

The new Naxos CD of George Rochberg orchestral work has created a lot of buzz. Mark Berry has a roundup...Lawrence Dillon has some terrific pictures of the Open Dream Ensemble spreading the gospel of music and theater to kids...Blackdogred ponders some loose ends--the Red House Painters, the unbearable mendacity of Clear Channel Communications, and the innovative programming of, oh yes, Tom Myron has a new pet rock.

Bonus topic of the day: music of Thanksgiving. My choice is Frank Martin's In Terra Pax.
Peak melody

'The serialist movement of the early 20th century led by Arnold Schoenberg was one of the first concerted attempts to locate new reserves of melody. Schoenberg searched for tunes in the atonal wilderness, but he met with only limited success. Experiments in microtonal technology (initiated by the likes of Carillo and Ives in the late 19th century) are ongoing, but so far they also show little prospect of producing anything approaching a memorable, repeatable tune. Others have searched further afield: Olivier Messiaen searched for melody in birdsong. But it seems that birds and humans have different ideas about what constitutes a good tune. John Cage in his infamous piece 4�33�, posed the paradoxical question �is silence actually the best melody?� But the world was not convinced, and the rate at which the rate of increase of consumption of new, audible, melody increases continued to increase unabated.'

That is a very small excerpt from a very long, and delightfully provocative, article that was posted on the imaginatively named Tampon Teabag blog back in September. If you missed it first time round, and want something to chew over (no, I had better rephase that) in the holiday break click on the Peak Melody story On An Overgrown Path.

Picture credit - Kunstradio
Report broken links missing images, and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

How I Love You, My Dear Old Mammy

There's bad news for those of us who think there's never been anything more ridiculous or unintentionally funny on stage than white singers or actors with painted black faces, big grotesque red tongues and bulging white eyes. Olivier's Othello was an accidental comic masterpiece and the only funny thing the old stiff ever did. But, alas, the forces of political correctness have struck again. Stephanie Blythe was "blacked up" during rehearsals of Un Ballo in Maschera, but when the production opened at Covent Garden last Thursday her skin was its own pale self. The Italian director, Mario Martone, who found out about the policy change after the fact, was not amused but everybody knows all Italians are insensitive and probably members of the Mafia anyway.
Fumio Yasuda's sensual 'Flower Songs'

Improvisation is a staple term ingredient in Fumio Yasuda's music-making. He was born in Tokyo in 1953, and studied composition at Kunitachi College of Music. Yasuda's music occupies that increasingly important gray area between contemporary classical and jazz compositions. He plays keyboards himself, uses sampling, and has worked with several leading improvisers in Japan. Although experimental his work retains roots in the post-Romantic musical tradition, and pays homage to impressionists such as Debussy. Piano and keyboards are his main interests, but his compositions range from an Accordion Concerto (1994), through several choral works including his Epitaph 1939 composed in 2003, to his improvised cabaret opera 'Der Kastanieball' which was first performed at the Munich Opera Festival in 2004.

Fumio Yasuda has enjoyed a long association with innovatory German record label Winter & Winter. A good starting point to explore his music is Kakyoku - Flower Songs which was released in 2000, and uses stunning images from photographer, and collabarator, Nobuyoshi Araki in the CD packaging. Araki is a high profile and very controversial figure in the Japanese visual arts. He has published more than 350 books and is best known for his pornographic photographs.

'Kakyoku - Flower Songs' features Yasuda on piano, melodica and sampler and Ernst Reijseger on cello, with the European Art Orchestra, an off-shoot of the Stuttgater Kammerorchester dedicated to exploring the boundaries between contemporary, jazz and world music.

Learn more about in Fumio Yasuda's music, see some of Nobuyoshi Araki's controversial photographs, and listen to three audio files from Kakyoku On An Overgrown Path at Fumio Yasuda's erotic improvisations.

An exhibition of Araki's photographs is at the Barbican Art Gallery, London until 22nd January 2006

Kakyoku is released on Winter & Winter 910051 - 2
Picture credit:
Report broken links, missing images, and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
To the Ramparts

Congratulations to our fellow blogger and frequent special contributor Pliable whose On an Overgrown Path has been selected as one of the top five UK blogs on all subjects and featured in 2005 Blogged, an anthology of the best of British blogging. Good show, old thing.

Blackdogred is doing John Cale and the Velvet Underground this week...Lawrence Dillon has a new photo...Elodie Lauten says it's been a bad year except for Sequenza21. David Salvage has found a funny glitch in Amazon's customer personalization software.

Steve Hicken has a list of his favorite music books.

'In our cold modern world it seems that everything has to be measured - and now computers are doing it to music. As anyone with an iPod or other digital music player knows, as a song is played, a little black dot moves along the line between "start" and "finish", with an onscreen counter telling us how much time remains. Every chord takes us deeper into the song but closer to the end.

These devices for playing music and video seem to think we want to know precisely how long the whole thing is going to last, and how far through the experience we are. Yet for many people, an important element of music is its ability to take us out of a normal consciousness of time. A really good song or piece of music takes us far away from the clock that paces out our more mundane activities. As we listen, we dream - at our desk, at our sink or on the train - with no idea whether our mind has been roaming free for a few moments or much more.

Music replaces clock time with musical time, a completely different way of guiding our thoughts and feelings through an experience with its own shape, its own build-up of tension and its own resolution. Our favourite songs seem timeless in more ways than one.

So what does it do to us to be timed precisely through every second of a favourite song? More and more people download music as single tracks and listen to them on the computer through programs such as iTunes. It is hard not to be aware of that little black button relentlessly advancing towards the end of the line. It can produce a peculiar clash of sensations.'

From an excellent article in the Guardian titled Technobile by Susan Tomes, who is a wonderful pianist, member of the Florestan Trio, and author of a highly recommended book, 'Between the notes.'

Visit Is classical music too fast? for the full story, and some interesting audio files, of really slow music

Picture credit - BZ-Com
Report broken links, missing images, and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


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