I Am Sitting In A Room

Commentary and thoughts on (mostly) classical music.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Just released: eighth blackbird’s newest is an all-Frederic Rzewski disc featuring the Pocket Symphony – which has made Lawrence Dillon’s 111+ Influential Works list despite this being the first available recording. Also on the disc are two of his early classics, Les Moutons de Panurge (hence the sheep on the cover) and Coming Together.

Cedille Records’s page for the CD has some enjoyable discussion between Rzewski and eighth blackbird. I love this exchange about the melody for Les Moutons:

Rzewski: I remember I was walking down the street in Paris near the Ecole Militaire [in September of 1968] and I had just bought one of these Philips micro-cassette recorders. They had just come out. And I was having fun, just, you know, playing with it. And I was walking down the street and I just whistled this tune [ … ]

Matt Albert: And that’s just the tune, as it occurred to you, as you wrote it?

FR: Completely. That tune is absolutely what I whistled walking down the street.

MA: Really?

FR: I didn’t change it at all.

MA: You whistled a 65-note tune…

FR: Yes

MA: …In f minor slash major?

FR: Yes.

MA: Okay. (laughter)

FR: Yes, and then I transcribed it. And I think of course, I’ve lost the original recording.

MA: Of you whistling?

FR: Yeah, I don’t know what happened to it.

Molly Barth: That’s too bad.

MA: That would be fun.

Robert Gable has aworks pages for Les Moutons and Coming Together. Here's a program note for the Pocket Symphony by the composer.

* This picture of Rzewski has always looked to me like actor
Jonathan Pryce in a wind machine.


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