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Speaking of Music:
Frederic Rzewski, 1989

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 127 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: C Amirkhanian

Recorded on January 9, 1989 as part of the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Speaking of Music series, Charles Amirkhanian interviews Frederic Rzewski, one of the most important American composer/performers of the late 20th century. Rzewski was born in 1938 in Westfield, Massachusetts and educated at Harvard and Princeton, where he studied with Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, and Milton Babbitt. In 1960 he went to Italy to study with Luigi Dallapiccola, and has continued to live in Europe for much of his life. He was a cofounder with Alvin Curran of the radical avant-garde group Musica Elettronica Viva, which was famous for their improvised electronic music concerts during the 1960s and 70s. The composer of a famous set of piano variations on Victor Jara's “El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido”, Rzewski discusses his recent music and artistic tastes. Rzewski is known for both his remarkable virtuosity as a performer, improviser and composer, and his committed involvement in leftist politics. How he resolves these in his work is a problem which he has concluded with thoughtfulness and inventiveness of an uncommon sort.

Part 1 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  The Turtle and the Crane (1988) (17:35) / Frederic Rzewski -- The Triumph of Death [excerpt, text by Peter Weiss] (1987-88) (9:03) / Frederic Rzewski
Performers:  Frederic Rzewski, piano (Turtle)
Genre:  20th Century Classical
Subject:  Rzewski, Frederic; 20th century classical; Composition (Music); Piano music; Music theater; Songs (Medium voice) with instrumental ensemble; Music patronage; Government aid to music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Rzewski, Frederic; Weiss, Peter, 1916-1982
Recording Date:  1/9/1989
First Broadcast Date:  1/22/1990
 
Part 2 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  The People United Will Never Be Defeated [excerpts] (1975) / Frederic Rzewski
Genre:  20th Century Classical
Subject:  Rzewski, Frederic; 20th century classical; Piano music; Chile Politics and government 1973-1988; Composition (Music)
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Rzewski, Frederic; Ortega, Sergio, 1938-
Recording Date:  1/9/1989
First Broadcast Date:  1/22/1990
 
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