Talking Music

Overview

Talking Music is comprised of substantial original conversations with seventeen American experimental composers and musicians—including Milton Babbitt, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and John Zorn—many of whom rarely grant interviews.The author skillfully elicits candid dialogues that encompass technical explorations; questions of method, style, and influence; their personal lives and struggles to create; and their aesthetic goals and artistic declarations. Herein, John Cage recalls the turning ...

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Overview

Talking Music is comprised of substantial original conversations with seventeen American experimental composers and musicians—including Milton Babbitt, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and John Zorn—many of whom rarely grant interviews.The author skillfully elicits candid dialogues that encompass technical explorations; questions of method, style, and influence; their personal lives and struggles to create; and their aesthetic goals and artistic declarations. Herein, John Cage recalls the turning point in his career; Ben Johnston criticizes the operas of his teacher Harry Partch; La Monte Young attributes his creative discipline to a Morman childhood; and much more. The results are revelatory conversations with some of America's most radical musical innovators.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Duckworth, a music professor at Bucknell, is a composer himself, which helps when talking to avant-garde composers about their works. His book consists of lengthy, original interviews with 17 of them, beginning with the granddaddy of them all, John Cage, who died three years ago at 80, and concluding with John Zorn, who is barely into his 40s. The profiles are sympathetic, informed and lucid, teasing a remarkable quantity of information, even emotion, out of people whose music, to a majority of listeners, must seem remote or perverse. Most of the composers-experimentalists, minimalists, performance artists-describe years of experimentation, often in conditions of adversity and poverty, before having achieved their signature forms and styles. They have a great deal in common: few of them are remotely interested in the Western classical music tradition (John Cage acknowledges here, ``I don't have an ear for music and I never have; I can't remember a melody''); many are more interested in rhythm and timbre than in harmony, melody or counterpoint; and Indian, Asian and African musical styles are common sources of inspiration. Some-Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass-now have a measure of fame and success, while others, such as Conlon Nancarrow and Pauline Oliveros, remain essentially fringe figures, though with devoted followings. Duckworth's enthusiasm and understanding help to make them all more comprehensible. Illustrated. (June)
Booknews
An exploration of 20th century American experimental music presented through conversations between the author, a composer and musicologist himself, and 16 more or less well- known composers, each of whom is broadly classified as experimentalist, avant-gardist, minimalist, performance artist, or post-modern. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306808937
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Edition description: 1 DA CAPO
  • Pages: 504
  • Sales rank: 1,046,598
  • Product dimensions: 1.12 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William Duckworth is a composer, professor of music at Bucknell University, author of two books on music theory, and editor of John Cage at 75. He lives in New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Experimentalists
1 John Cage (b. Los Angeles, 1912; d. New York, 1992) 3
2 Conlon Nancarrow (b. Texarkana, Arkansas, 1912) 29
3 Milton Babbitt (b. Philadelphia, 1916) 52
4 Lou Harrison (b. Portland, Oregon, 1917) 94
The Avant-Garde
5 Ben Johnston (b. Macon, Georgia, 1926) 121
6 Pauline Oliveros (b. Houston, 1932) 159
7 Christian Wolff (b. Nice, France, 1934) 179
Minimalists
8 La Monte Young (b. Bern, Idaho, 1935) and Marian Zazeela (b. New York, 1940) 209
9 Terry Riley (b. Colfax, California, 1935) 266
10 Steve Reich (b. New York, 1936) 290
11 Philip Glass (b. Baltimore, 1937) 318
Performance Artists
12 Meredith Monk (b. New York, 1942) 345
13 Laurie Anderson (b. Chicago, 1947) 368
Post-Moderns
14 "Blue" Gene Tyranny (b. San Antonio, 1945) 389
15 Glenn Branca (b. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1948) 418
16 John Zorn (b. New York, 1953) 444
Index 477
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