Christian Wolff by Michael Hicks

By Michael Hicks

In this primary interpretive narrative of the existence and paintings of Christian Wolff, Michael Hicks and Christian Asplund hint the affects and sensibilities of a modern composer's extraordinary occupation direction and stressed mind's eye. Written in complete cooperation with Wolff, together with entry to his papers, this quantity is a much-needed advent to a number one avant-garde composer nonetheless dwelling, writing track, and conversing approximately his personal work.
 
Wolff has pioneered quite a few compositional and notational idioms, together with openly political track, indeterminacy, image rankings, and severe virtuosity. educated as a classicist instead of a musician, Wolff hasn't ever really had either ft within the rarefied global of latest composition. but he is thought of a "composer's composer," with a brain ensconced both in old Greek tragedy and experimental tune and an eccentric and impulsive compositional technique that eludes a set stylistic fingerprint.
 
Hicks and Asplund hide Wolff's relatives lifestyles and early life, his function as a founding father of the recent York university of composers, and the context of his lifestyles and paintings as a part of the toilet Cage circle, in addition to his departures from it. severely assessing Wolff's position in the experimental musical box, this quantity captures either his eloquence and restraint and gives insights into his vast pursuits and actions inside of tune and beyond.

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Extra resources for Christian Wolff

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But Holly incited a new interest: the electric guitar. Nearly ten years younger than Christian, she introduced him to the music of rock groups, especially British Invasion favorites like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Who. Through their recordings he came to see the electric guitar not so much as the venerated six-stringed “queen of instruments” but as a highly flexible—and portable—electronic device. His fascination with the instrument led him to buy a low-priced Fender, which he played in a 1965 performance of For 1, 2, or 3 that also featured Cage on bowed saw and Alvin Lucier on amplified bowed cymbal.

For just one of the two classes he taught in spring semester, for example, he had to teach Don Quixote, Gulliver’s Travels, Tom Jones, Great Expectations, Moby-Dick, and War and Peace— all, of course, major works outside of the canon of his undergraduate studies. He had little time to compose, at least not the kind of elaborate, precisely notated scores he had already produced. The question he faced then was how to achieve an elaborate post-Webernesque musical surface that was structured and had a sheen of virtuosic intensity but did not require labored composition, let alone practice, of the intricate rhythms and complex chords he favored.

Whatever type a player last heard performed by the other player dictates which section or sections to play next. Thus, when player 1 hears a high, very loud pitch played by player 2, he or she must play a passage marked with that cue (“high ff ”) on his or her score. That means that not only must each player be prepared to go to any portion of the piece based on choices the other makes, but also that the piece had no fixed length: cues keep propelling it forward, ad infinitum. In this work, cues always trumped time, because the playing, Wolff said, had to remain continuous and there was no cue for ending.

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