Saturday, June 2, 2007

Alvin Curran-Canti e Vedute del Giardino Magnetico(Songs and Views from the Magnetic Garden),LP/CD,1973/1993,Italy

Alvin Curran makes music, with all means, anywhere and for any occasion. From rarefied string quartets to blaring ship horn concerts to Holocaust memorial installations; from Midi-Grands to computerized ram's horns - these are his natural laboratories. The sounds of places and things, real and imagined are Curran's alphabet. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1938, he studied the piano, trombone and all forms of popular music. He began composing at Brown University under Ron Nelson and completed his studies (M.Music) at Yale with Elliott Carter in 1963. Following a year with Carter in Berlin he moved to Rome - his adopted home. With Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum in 1966 Curran co-founded the radical collective Musica Elettronica Viva - a group renowned for inciting free music as well as musical uprisings. In the 70s he created a series of solo performances; "Songs and Views of the Magnetic Garden", "Light Flowers/Dark Flowers", and "Canti Illuminati" for natural sounds, voice, keyboards and found objects in a lyrical post minimalist style. The 80s involved large-scale environmental works on lakes, rivers, in ports, quarries, caverns and public buildings: "Maritime Rites", "Waterworks", "Monumenti", "Tufo Muto", "Notes From Underground" (in collaboration with the artist Melissa Gould). Using the radio as a geographical music instrument Curran created concerts with musicians spread all over Europe in "1985 - A Piece for Peace" and in the Holocaust commemoration "Crystal Psalms" in 1988. "Erat Verbum", a WDR commission took this concept even further.
Instrumental works have been commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Hessischer Rundfunk, Kronos Quartet, Relache, Group 180 (Budapest), Aki Takahashi ("Hyper Beatles"), Ursula Oppens, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, and the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio. Since 1991 Curran has created three new scores for the Trisha Brown Dance Company that were presented in the City Center season in 1993. A new work for the performance artist Joan Jonas debuted in July of 1993 in Berlin.
Awards include NEA, DAAD, NPR and Ars Acoustica International. Curran taught briefly at the Academia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica in Rome and is presently the Milhaud Professor of Music Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California.
Alvin Curran's website is located at
From New Albion website
Alvin Curran: Though I have been making music for some time, CANTI E VEDUTE DEL GIARDINO MAGNETICO is for me like a first piece. It marks a radical departure from the previous 7 years of experimental and collective music making with the group MUSICA ELETTRONICA VIVA and it signals my beginning in the strenuous role of a solo performer-composer.I recorded and engineered (often while playing) by myself, using Schoeps condenser mics, an AKG D 224 (flugelhorn) and an RCA 77 DX (voice) into a mixer by Livio Argentini and a Revox A 77. Instruments heard in order of appeareance are: Synthesizer (SYNTHI A), Amplified cymbal, my voice with glass chimes, flugelhorn with Harmonicas and jews harps and the voice of Margherita Benetti singing an Emillian folk song. On side 2: synthesizer with African thumb piano (Kalimba), metal chimes and corrugated plastic tubes.
A masterpiece!
get it here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a masterpiece! The CD can still be found for under $10, too.