I've held off making a comment about this release for several reasons. First of all an Amazon "review" isn't really the place for a lengthy article about why this music is important. Secondly, there is simply too much to talk about - 7 discs of amazing performances - yet it's impossible to describe the music in any meaningful way. In fact, there will no doubt be those that don't consider this music at all - perhaps it's only sound? Oh, but what sounds!
This music falls in the electronic music category, but it should be made clear that it's electronic music unlike the vast majority of electronic music out there. You see, the term "electronic music" usually denotes music written, performed, and recorded on some form of synthesizer. In Electronic Music realms, it's usually an keyboard based music. Now, David Tudor was an excellent pianist, so keyboard playing was his forte - but it's not something that's on show here.
For this box set you need to redefine what electronic is. You see, this is pioneering work, both in technological terms, and in creative terms also. Tudor was not content to take someone else's instrument and make music with it - he built his own instruments, his own circuits and effects. As a friend and follower of John Cage, Tudor enjoys the element of chance, of not knowing quite how something would turn out. As such, even for Tudor, no two performances were ever the same.
If you're into experimental music, then you really owe it to yourself to get this box. I'd even say it's essential listening. The box is amply supported by a 60 page booklet with excellent liner notes on almost every page. We also get remembrances from Wolfe and Mumma.Read more ›
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great musician in any realm . . . .27 May 2013
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John Cage tells an interesting story that after tour of India with David Tudor, a new friend there had sent back to New York a surprise gift , a large wooden crate of spices;To their dismay when it was opened some of the glass containers and paper wrappings had brokened, and some of the spices became mixed in chaos. Tudor said "don't touch a thing. . ." so over months then he set about to segregate with a fine twizzer a pen knife all the spices, returning them to their original order. . . taking chaos out of the spices. . . so to be usable.
This in short is how Tudor works at whatever he does. He tries to fine the balance, the chaos point the primordial-ness in materials, in shapes, textures, densities and diagonals in reality, with fine details, the "honings" that enrich, that make fascinating and complex any art. Here we have for the first time in one place his primary electronic works over a period of years;Tudor away from the piano proved to be of interest.. . . His imagination had time to develop there playing others music and more importantly the time working the music in the pit with Merce Cunningham Dance Company. I saw them a few times with John Cage and Gordon Mumma also contributing to the music along-side, simultaneous with the dance. It was never an "accompaniment" that was always uninteresting; It always had to be music, a music, a process that enriched the conceptual reality of the dance, not to distract or lessen the fine structures, the shapes within the movements of the dance.
The first works here the first 3 Disks are admirably the early electronics, still more stasis in conception,commissioned yet the "Bandonen" work was a great first attempt utilizing the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, with a host of "star-wars"-like objects that made sounds, contributed to the whole while moving, jarring, themselves like bumping along the floor, while Tudor was being consulted by Bell Labs Techs while playing the Argentine instrument. . . Tudor had filled the space almost by himself. . .
Curious however that the most interesting aspect of Tudor, all his music is in the spaces they inhabit,how they become "tailored" to the space, the environ; it is why he never succumbed to being captured by academia. He found no spaces there that were free. Antiphonal realities of electronics does need its own free space unencumbered. . .It is difficult to capture this on disk, But still there is value herein.
The latter disks we have the "Rainforest" project# IV,the last most developed. It was a work in progress beginning in the late Sixties. I recall quite vividly the first performances of it,in Chocorua New Hampshire, It is where Tudor first met Ralph Jones, John Driscoll, Martin Kalve; they were all in his class there. . . . and with found objects from the surrounding environs."Rainforest" became complete. . . What is done is electronic signals are "shot" through" to with transducers (attached to) to the objects, hopefully fully-overtone developed resonant objects, usually any form of metal will do, a good conduit for sound; So barn-hoops, barrel-hoops,triangles, the "dinner-bell" one rings and metal bed-frames,6-7 toilet-tank copper balls arrayed in diagonals,are all good. Many of these objects contribute to the visual aspect of the work and in reality comes to define the work, gives it a "signature". You then walk through the performance space indeterminate as you will. . .