Thursday, November 27th, 2014, 19.45 CONLON NANCARROW Studies for Player Piano, Studies #3a + #31 I Sound Projection I Studies for Player Piano, Studies #3a + #31 Sound Projection Study #3 is the phenomenal Boogie-Woogie Suite, and here the blues/ragtime/jazz-influences are more  explicit than in any of the other Studies. [...] The first and last movements are the most clearly in  'classic' boogie-woogie style, but these are in fact rather surreal manifestations of that style - as if  Jimmy Yancy, Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Art Tatum were all ecstatically jamming together in  heaven (or wherever it is that such men go after that 'last gig') [...] Study #31 is a canon in three voices, in three different tempos (in the ratios 21/24/25)- The slower voice begins first, the other two voices  entering after delay-times which are related to their tempos in such a way that all three end at  approximately the same time. The sonorities in this piece are simple - mostly single tones, later octaves  - and there is even a certain (subtle) jazz or ragtime quality in the individual voices, not heard in the  studies since #11.   [James Tenney, CD liner notes] Original recordings produced on Nancarrow's modified Ampico reproducing player pianos and recorded  under his supervision. Recorded in the composer's studio in Mexico City, April 1977. Reissue (remastered) by Other Minds , 2008.   From the time I started composing, I'd always had this thing of working with temporal  matters, rhythm and so forth, and this thing sort of grew. By the time I saw Cowell's book, it  was just a big push ahead... I met him once. He asked me for those tapes and I sent them, and  I never heard a word from him again. In fact, someone - I forgot who - pointed out that  Cowell always talked about these things, polyrhythms and so forth, but neither he nor Ives  ever dabbled in player pianos, which would have been the ideal way of doing that. It surprises  me that he never did. [Conlon Nancarrow] CONLON NANCARROW Born in Texarkana, Arkansas in 1912, Nancarrow was active in his early years as a trumpeter, playing jazz and other types of popular music. He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music from 1929-  32, and later studied composition and counterpoint in Boston with Nicolas Slonimsky, Walter Piston, and  Roger Sessions (1933-36). He values most his work with Sessions: "The only formal studies I did that were important were the studies I had in strict counterpoint with Roger Sessions. [...] Nancarrow was a  dedicated socialist, which made him politically unacceptable in the United States. This was brought  plainly home when he applied for a passport and was denied. Angry at such treatment, he moved to  Mexico City in the early 1940s, becoming a Mexican citizen in 1956. He died there in 1997. Nancarrow  returned to the player piano partly because of Mexico's extreme musical isolation. Another more  compelling reason was his long-standing frustration at the inability of musicians to deal with even  moderately difficult rhythms. He goes so far as to say that "As long as I've been writing music I've been  dreaming of getting rid of the performers." With the advent of the phonograph, the player piano has  been relegated to the status of an object of nostalgia. But not so for Nancarrow, who since the late  1940s has composed almost exclusively for the instrument. []
shut up and listen! 2014 Interdisziplinäres Festival für Musik und Klangkunst