Friday, May 29, 2020

Another day off

None of this really matters long term. My Messiaen listening project is nothing more than a personal project. 32 discs-32 days. I've listened to two discs in a day previously. I'm taking another day off. It's partly because I was productive today composing, so that takes precedence for sure.

Messiaen composed Méditations sur le Mystère de la Saint Trinité. If I recall, I wasn't sold on it entirely, but I might have to revisit the work. Charles Mingus composed Meditations on Integration. It might not go anywhere, but I've started to compose Meditations on Quarantine. I don't know if I'll succeed, but I have a minimum of one new separate piece out of the effort.

Today would have been Iannis Xenakis' birthday. Xenakis is unquestionably one of my favorite composers. I don't try in any way to emulate him, because, how in the world could I? Xenakis is on of Messiaen's most celebrated students, as well as Boulez, Stockhausen, Nono.

I've told this story many times, but I'll repeat it. Xenakis was the first guest artist at CMU was I was a freshman. I didn't know how significant that was at the time. He was brought in for a series of...believe it or not...computers and music! Yes, even then, that wasn't completely vanguard.

The series was sponsored by by both the computer science and music departments. He lectured to both departments. I didn't see it all, but out of curiosity I walked into his science department lecture. There was a lecture, sound, and a slide show involved.

I remember most specifically that he played Metastasis. It was played with a slide show demonstrating the graphs he used to determine the piece. It was also played at a jarringly loud volume. I wasn't sure that I was sold on this guy, but I was left with an impression. It wasn't long after that I bought a Xenakis LP at the Record Graveyard down the street. I still have it.

A decade and a half later, Xenakis was a guest again at CMU. I was just a fan and wasn't on faculty at the time. The CMU Philharmonic played Metastasis. It was surprisingly quiet.

No comments: