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Morton Subotnick at Lincoln Center Festival with Silver Apples of the Moon and Crowds and Power

Jul. 01, 2017

Morton Subotnick at Lincoln Center Festival with <em>Silver Apples of the Moon</em> and <em>Crowds and Power</em>

In celebrating the monumental career of composer and electronic pioneer Morton Subotnick, Lincoln Center Festival presents a three-night series of live performances of his seminal Silver Apples of the Moon, which was released exactly 50 years ago by Nonesuch Records, along with the world premiere of a new multi-media tone poem, Crowds and Power, for voice, electronic sound and live imagery. Performances take place July 20 to 22 at Lincoln Center’s Sanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.

When Nonesuch Records released Subotnick’s Silver Apples of the Moon in 1967, it was the first electronic record ever to be commissioned by a classical record label. Recorded on a Buchla synthesizer, Subotnick developed a provocative and unfathomably original work the likes of which had never been heard before.

In a profile for The Guardian in 2014, Alfred Hickling describes the piece, which is in two parts, as still sounding “arrestingly contemporary.” The first part, he writes, “is slower, moodier and full of profound, synthetic sighs, like a robot in despair; then in the second half, something extraordinary happens – the music suddenly develops a pulse and climaxes in the frenzied hammering of proto-club rhythms.”


Trailer for Waveshaper Media's documentary "Subotnick: Portrait of an Electronic Music Pioneer"

Subotnick and his early electronic work is the subject of a new documentary from Waveshaper Media, called Subotnick: Portrait of an Electronic Music Pioneer. A vinyl and cassette reissue of Silver Apples of the Moon, the first on those formats since the work’s original release, is due out later this year.

Subotnick's latest work, Crowds and Power, is inspired by Elias Canetti’s 1960 book of the same name. The piece, as did the book, explores the dynamics and psychology of crowds and their obedience to figures of power. Virtuosic avant-garde vocalist Joan La Barbara joins Subotnick and video artist Lillevan for the premiere performances.

For more information on Morton Subotnick, visit schott-music.com or mortonsubotnick.com.

Details on Subotnick: Silver Apples of the Moon + Crowds and Power at the Lincoln Center Festival can be found at lincolncenter.org.