Friday, May 22, 2009

"My Next Frontier Is Classical Music" -- American Composer Philip Glass [May 2009]

"Elliott Carter is writing beautiful music today" -- Philip Glass (May 2009)

"Well now that I'm 100 I know what I'm doing and it's suddenly gotten a lot easier" -- Elliott Carter (ca. 2009, paraphase)


"I have always had a particular affection for the horn. It has a
fantastically large range, a wide variety of playing styles and
techniques, and is particularly vivid and evocative. Horns are
by turns capable of tenderness, lyricism, savagery — and can
be bucolic or celebratory. Thanks to the valve system invented
in the 19th century, they are capable of playing in the equal
temperament of recent Western music.

Yet horns can also revert to the natural horn playing technique
using overtones in just intonation, as in the shrill massed
choirs of cors de chasse (“horns of the hunt”), and the many traditions across Eastern Europe of natural alphorn calls. Johannes Brahms preferred natural horns, and much contemporary music has made play of the distonation of these untempered pitches (a rough quarter-tone scale can be obtained with them).

My approach in Imagin’d Corners has been diff erent, in
that I do not use the microtones in order to sound “out-of-tune,”
but to offer a consistent and beautiful system of harmony and
resonances in their own right. This piece is composed in both
this system and a “double” of it, in normal equal tuning. Th e
orchestra is mostly — but not entirely — confined to the second
system, whilst the horns use both equal and just systems.

The harmonic language is based upon combining overtone
series with fundamentals either a whole tone or a minor
third apart. Any dissonances are built up by superimposing
consonant intervals from more than one overtone series at the
same time." ...

(c) Julian Anderson 2002 via the Cleveland Orchestra website.


Photo credits:

Ross Dickinson, Valley Farms, 1934, oil on canvas, 39 7/8 x 50 1/8 in. (101.4 x 127.3cm.), (c) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor.

'Seated Figure with Yellow Flame', porcelain, stoneware and clay sculpture by Stephen De Staebler, 1985, (c) Smithsonian American Art Museum.


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