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Overview

In this first interpretive narrative of the life and work of Christian Wolff, Michael Hicks and Christian Asplund trace the influences and sensibilities of a contemporary composer's atypical career path and restless imagination. Written in full cooperation with Wolff, including access to his papers, this volume is a much-needed introduction to a leading avant-garde composer still living, writing music, and speaking about his own work. _x000B__x000B_Wolff has pioneered various compositional and notational idioms, ...
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Christian Wolff

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Overview

In this first interpretive narrative of the life and work of Christian Wolff, Michael Hicks and Christian Asplund trace the influences and sensibilities of a contemporary composer's atypical career path and restless imagination. Written in full cooperation with Wolff, including access to his papers, this volume is a much-needed introduction to a leading avant-garde composer still living, writing music, and speaking about his own work. _x000B__x000B_Wolff has pioneered various compositional and notational idioms, including overtly political music, indeterminacy, graphic scores, and extreme virtuosity. Hicks and Asplund cover Wolff's family life and formative years, his role as a founder of the New York School of composers, and the context of his life and work as part of the John Cage circle, as well as his departures from it. Critically assessing Wolff's place within the experimental musical field, this volume captures both his eloquence and reticence and provides insights into his broad interests and activities within music and beyond._x000B_
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Presenting Christian Wolff as a quintessential American musical maverick, Michael Hicks and Christian Asplund compellingly argue that Wolff's stature will continue to grow as the historical dust settles. This book is beautifully written and aptly synthesizes discussions of specific works, details about Wolff's life, and the broader context within which he works."
--David W. Bernstein, author of The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s Counterculture and the Avant-Garde

 
"Insightful and alert. . . . This book serves as a neat little primer for [Wolff's] work."--The Wire

Despite the fact that Wolff is listed in every music history textbook as a member of the so-called New York School alongside John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Earle Brown, he has received relatively little scholarly attention.  Hicks and Asplund have made a significant effort to balance the scales with this excellent narrative."-- Notes

Library Journal
This first biographical treatment of Christian Wolff, the experimentalist composer whom John Cage cited as an essential influence, is a worthy companion to Stephen Chase and Philip Thomas's 2010 Changing the System: The Music of Christian Wolff, itself primarily a musicological analysis. In treating their subject biographically, Hicks (music, Brigham Young Univ.; Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions) and Asplund (composer-in-residence, Brigham Young Univ.) set the composer's experiments with form and notation in the context of his childhood experience, musical training, and dual interest in music and the classical world. His studies in Europe and associations with other composers of the New York School are detailed, though his relationship with Cage takes its due prominence. The discography is thin—the authors refer readers to Changing the System for a more in-depth treatment—but one senses that the two books are best read as a pair anyway. VERDICT Musicologists, historians of 20th-century music, experimentalist composers and listeners, and music students are all served by this work.—Genevieve Williams, Pacific Lutheran Univ. Lib., Tacoma, WA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252094163
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 8/20/2012
  • Series: American Composers
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 136
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Hicks is a professor of music at Brigham Young University and the author of Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions and other works. Christian Asplund is an associate professor of music and composer-in-residence at Brigham Young University.

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