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New Music America:
1987: Concert No. 4

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 41 min
Event Type: Music Program Origin: Relàche

Additional Media Files (click to view)

The 1987 New Music America Festival was held in Philadelphia during the first two weeks in October. Produced by the local ensemble Relâche, this 10 day extravaganza of adventurous musical programing featured over 20 concerts, lectures, and sound installations. A wide range of sonic delights were offered, ranging from 20th century classical works for instrumental ensemble, to examples of experimental electronic wizardry, to incomparable improvisational jazz extravaganza’s, all performed by a bevy of talented musicians and composers.

The fourth concert of the Festival featured pianist Margaret Leng Tan performing works by a selection of contemporary Chinese and Japanese composers. In the first piece, “Gu Yue” or “Ancient Music” by Ge Gan-Ru, (perhaps China’s first avant-garde composer), Tan played all parts of a grand piano including plucking the strings directly, some of which she had prepared with bits of paper in a style reminiscent of John Cage. By utilizing all parts of the instrument Ge’s work skillfully evokes the sounds of several traditional Chinese instruments including the quin or Chinese zither, drums, and pipa, or Chinese lute.

This is followed by “Resonance,” a 1982 composition by Yori-Aki Matsudaira. A work that is described in the concert program notes as: “a filigree of Messiaen-like ‘bird music’ melismas in a post-minimalist setting by activating the notes of the overtone series above a C fundamental.”

The third piece of this short concert is “Piano Media,” a 1972 work by the well-known Japanese avant-garde composer, Toshi Ichiyanagi. The work’s demanding precision is a test for any pianist’s virtuosity and may have been inspired by the perceived perfection of a computer, and in the words of Philadelphia Inquirer reviewer Lesley Valdez, “sounds like Prokofiev under the influence of robotics.”*

The concert then concluded with two works by Somei Satoh, (only one of which is unfortunately included in this program). “A Gate Into The Stars” is a meditatively serene work, expertly interpreted by the Juilliard-trained pianist from Singapore, and serves to bring to a quiet conclusion this marvelous showcase of 20th century avant-garde Asian composers.

This concert was held at the Ethical Society, on October 5, 1987, and generously provided to Other Minds by Joseph Franklin who directed the 1987 New Music America festival, and Werner Strobel who digitized the original tape recordings.

*Retrieved on Sept. 22, 2014 from http://articles.philly.com/1987-10-06/news/26213198_1_margaret-leng-tan-ancient-music-japanese-music

Part 1 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  Gu Yue (”Ancient Music”), for prepared piano (1986) (16:18) / Ge Gan-Ru
Performers:  Margaret Leng Tan, piano
Genres:  New Music; Avant-Garde
Subject:  New music; Avant-garde (Music) ; Piano music; Prepared piano music
People:  Ge, Gan-Ru, 1954- ; Tan, Margaret Leng
Recording Date:  10/05/1987
 
Part 2 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  Resonance, for piano (1982) (9:30) / Yori-Aki Matsudaira [U. S. premiere]
Performers:  Margaret Leng Tan, piano
Genres:  New Music; 20th Century Classical
Subject:  New music ; 20th century classical; Piano music
People:  Matsudaira, Yoriaki ; Tan, Margaret Leng
Recording Date:  10/05/1987
 
Part 3 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  Piano Media, for piano (1972) (5:28) / Toshi Ichiyanagi [U. S. premiere]
Performers:  Margaret Leng Tan, piano
Genres:  New Music; Avant-Garde
Subject:  New music; Avant-garde (Music) ; Piano music
People:  Ichiyanagi, Toshi, 1933- ; Tan, Margaret Leng
Recording Date:  10/05/1987
 
Part 4 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  A Gate Into The Stars, for piano (1982) (7:55) / Somei Satoh [U. S. premiere]
Performers:  Margaret Leng Tan, piano
Genres:  New Music; 20th Century Classical
Subject:  New music ; 20th century classical; Piano music
People:  Satoh, Somei, 1947- ; Tan, Margaret Leng
Recording Date:  10/05/1987
 
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