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Posts tagged 'Morton Subotnick'

WERGO Re-Releases Morton Subotnick's Landmark Recordings from the 1980s

Morton Subotnick, the legendary electronic musician and composer, will see several of his landmark recordings from the 1980s re-released on WERGO. After his pioneering album Silver Apples of the Moon, which Subotnick created using the Buchla modular synthesizer, Subotnick continued to compose and create new music both for electronics and acoustic instruments. Throughout this stage in his career, Nonesuch Records released several albums of Subotnick's music, in addition to several records released by Columbia Masterworks. As sound technology advanced throughout the 1970s into the 1980s, Subotnick began to experiment with digital technology to enhance and interact with acoustic instruments; his "ghost electronics", present in several works from the 1980s, provides a spectral accompaniment to live performers. 

Many of these works were recorded and released on albums by Nonesuch, though after the initial pressings of LPs, these recordings have not been commercially available. Now, for the first time in over 20 years, WERGO has digitized, re-mastered, and re-released many of these crucial recordings on CD. Their first re-release contains recordings of The Wild Beasts and After the Butterfly; the second volume will contain recordings of A Fluttering of Wings, Ascent into Air, The Last Dream of the Beast, and Axolotl. Scores and performance parts for many of these works are also available directly from PSNY. 

As Subotnick becomes more and more recognized for his pioneering compositions, these re-releases document a crucial moment in his career, incorporating electronics into composition for acoustic instruments. These works are accessible, portable, and performable by any new music ensemble, and these recordings will shed light on a brilliant chapter in Subotnick's oeuvre. Check out an interview with the Red Bull Music Academy below. 

Lecture: Morton Subotnick (Madrid 2011) from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

The "Lost" Works of Morton Subotnick: Ascent into Air

Morton Subotnick has enjoyed an expansive career as a composer and technical innovator for decades, and his touring schedule has grown extensively in the past decade, as he is recognized for his pioneering role in electronic and electro-acoustic music. Equally appreciated by fans of concert and electronic music, Subotnick is a legend in his own time. If you haven't yet, check out this lecture he gave at the Red Bull Music Academy:

Lecture: Morton Subotnick (Madrid 2011) from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

We're happy to announce the publication of several of Subotnick's "lost" works-- works that have been otherwise unavailable until now. The first of this series is Ascent into Air, commissioned and premeired at IRCAM in 1981, with Peter Eötvös conducting. 

Scored for pairs of clarinets, trombones, celli, pianos, percussion, and computer-generated sound, this work uses the metaphor of an amphibian's ascent from water to air as a dialectic metaphor for the evolutionary role of technology in art in the late 20th century. The amphibian represents art's double-inhabitance of two modes of existence, two modes of communication: one in water and one in air. As technology evolves in artistic practice, music finds itself in a similar position, inhabiting two modes of existance at the same time. Dialectically, "Ascent into Air" produces a synthesis of Subotnick's vision of the aesthetic and technical possibilities that contemporary music can afford us.  

New Music Mondays: Morton Subotnick, Mario Diaz de Leon, & Scott Wollschleger

With snow piling up across America, it's a great opportunity to spend some time indoors practicing... new music! This week we're excited to feature three newly-pubilshed works: Morton Subotnick's "Trembling", Mario Diaz de Leon's "Luciform", and Scott Wollschleger's "America".

Morton Subotnick's "Trembling" is scored for violin, piano and "ghost score" technology, Subotnick's interactive electro-acoustic software which autonomously spatializes and reacts to acoustic phenomena. Taking a recording of Joan La Barbara speaking the word "trembling," Subotnick "recorded, synthesized, and transformed" this utterance and used it as the basis for his composition. Check out a sample of the recording below: 

Mario Diaz de Leon's "Luciform", for solo flute and electronics, also plays with the interaction between performer and software, but in a different way; the work is a "journey inward, a movement through a series of vision states. A difficult path, a rite of passage, hovering between diabolical intensity and lucid wakefulness." Recently recorded by Claire Chase for her fantastic album "Density," "Luciform" is a complex, intensely virtuosic work with a profound depth of both acoustic and electronic textures. 

Though Scott Wollschleger's "America", for solo cello, does not include electronics, it remains connected to Subotnick's and Diaz de Leon's works through its exploration of "timbre, virtuosity, and differential repetition." Not bound to pitch-space or harmonic structures, Wollschleger's work explores the timbral possibilities of the cello with extended technique with both instrumentation and sonic organization. 

 

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