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Music 109 Hardcover – 10 Sep 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (10 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819572977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819572974
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 807,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Plain and direct-spoken and with an uncluttered prose style, Lucier easily blends analysis, anecdote and digression into a reader-friendly first-person account of some of the most interesting music to come out of the postwar period."--Daniel Barbiaro, Avant Music News

"For those with the ears to hear, Lucier's warm prose will sound a few notes of welcome clarity."--J. Bryan Lower, Slate

"In looking for a guide to the world of American experimental music, it would be hard to think of a better one than Alvin Lucier."--David Revill, Times Higher Education

"A book that says what it needs to say and to which very little can be added. Its author takes up the task in a manner that more writers could stand to emulate....Lucier persuades you quietly with his point rather than bludgeoning you with the sturm und drang techniques of a lesser writer and a lesser mind."--Jedd Beaudoin, PopMatters

Avant Music News"

Slate"

Times Higher Education"

PopMatters"

Plain and direct-spoken and with an uncluttered prose style, Lucier easily blends analysis, anecdote and digression into a reader-friendly first-person account of some of the most interesting music to come out of the postwar period. Daniel Barbiaro, "Avant Music News""

For those with the ears to hear, Lucier s warm prose will sound a few notes of welcome clarity. J. Bryan Lower, "Slate""

In looking for a guide to the world of American experimental music, it would be hard to think of a better one than Alvin Lucier. David Revill, "Times Higher Education""

A book that says what it needs to say and to which very little can be added. Its author takes up the task in a manner that more writers could stand to emulate .Lucier persuades you quietly with his point rather than bludgeoning you with the sturm und drang techniques of a lesser writer and a lesser mind. Jedd Beaudoin, "PopMatters""

About the Author

ALVIN LUCIER is the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music emeritus at Wesleyan University. Since the mid-1960s, he has explored the natural characteristics of sound and the spaces in which they are heard. He is the author of Reflections/Reflexionen and coauthor, with Douglas Simon, of Chambers.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Based on Lucier's lectures at Wesleyan University, the book is an entertaining and intelligent guide to modern experimental music. Lucier's personal personal engagement with the people and pieces discussed ensures accuracy and insight. It is also very well-written: chatty and humorous without sacrificing rigour.

Excellent.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A picture of a fascinating moment of the history of music ---that some of us also witnessed at a distance--- by someone who was there and happened to carry a camera...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ignorant comments about music from a complete amateur. I don't know how this stuff gets published.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91ba2258) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90c89dd4) out of 5 stars An Insider's View of a Missing History 4 Jun. 2013
By Canticle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This little volume is an endearing record of an undergraduate course, a music appreciation course designed for students with an interest in the music of the avant-garde of the 1960s, 70s and 80s taught by a man who was an integral part of that era as a composer, performer and teacher. The class, which he taught at Wesleyan University was reportedly very popular continues to be offered today. And this book is required reading for fans of new and experimental music.

In just over 200 pages Professor Lucier takes the virtual class of readers through a very personal journey of the music, experiments and performances of some of the highlights of some of the major works and composers of this time period. And he manages to navigate all this wildly experimental music in a way that is understandable to a general audience (remember that this is an undergraduate course for non music majors).

What makes this book so special and unique is its personal nature (Lucier was a composer, performer, organizer and interpreter of much of the music) and the particular networks to which he connects. Few historians save for Kyle Gann pay significant attention to the techniques which arose from the orbit of Ann Arbor, Michigan and composers like Robert Ashley, Gordon Mumma and Lucier himself among many others. But this group is indeed an orbit and not a universe unto itself. David Tudor, for example, crossed paths with these composers as well as, more famously, with John Cage and the New York School.

This delightfully readable volume narrates Lucier’s vast experience with and love for a variety of experimental trends. Lucier writes of his own works and places them within the contexts of fellow innovators including the above mentioned artists as well as diverse voices such as Pauline Oliveros, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, LaMonte Young, Roger Reynolds, Gordon Mumma, Robert Ashley, Earle Brown, Morton Feldman, John Cage, Christian Wolff, David Tudor, Karlheinz Stockhausen and many others. This personal inside view makes for entertaining and compelling reading which provides a historical context as well as insights to the “method behind the madness” of a diverse and innovative time in music history.

Except for Kyle Gann’s fine volume on Robert Ashley this is the only book length treatment (known to this reviewer) of artists connected with the ONCE festival and the Sonic Arts Union. Lucier’s place in music history is connected across east coast academia as well as far less academically connected groups like these. This book connects some of those dots placing an important perspective on this era.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of speaking with Paula Matthusen, a composer who now occupies the emeritus Lucier’s (John Spencer Camp Professor of Music) chair at Wesleyan. In fact she has inherited this delightful and inexplicably popular course. She told me that not only does the course continue to be popular, many of the students come in with some level of experience of this music and a desire to know more. How cool is that?

Matthusen shares many of her teacher (Lucier’s) concepts in her own work but she is clearly the next generation in experimental music reminding us that art of the era documented is receding into the past yet we hardly know it. And how can we appreciate the latest work without some understanding of how we got there? Lucier’s book provides a great introduction and hopefully will encourage more attention to this important and fascinating time in American music history.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Kuru - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I don't have much to add to Mr. Cronin's excellent review, except confirmation. It is easy to understand why Professor Lucier's course was so popular. He has a charming, engaging writing style, and conveys a huge joy in the works discussed -- a suitably broad slice of experimental music from the '60's through the '80's. "This is what I did with my life -- it was fun!" is the subtext of this book.

No technical musical knowledge is required for this book; anyone can understand it. It is, however, also perfectly suitable for trained musicians wanting to spend some time with this music.

A surprising number of the pieces discussed in this book can be found on YouTube!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91364bf4) out of 5 stars A must-have book for anyone interested in the subject. 4 April 2014
By Robert Nasta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must confess that my opinion of the book is bias. I studied with Alvin at Wesleyan, and have heard many of these lessons first-hand. What is nice about the book is that it is written in the way that Alvin delivered his lectures and conducted his classes.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9177dd68) out of 5 stars Anecdotal music 8 April 2015
By andrei pogorilowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For people who love "anecdotal" music, this is a great book. Others prefer the anecdotes surrounding music such as Shostakovich's 4th Symphony or his "Lady Macbeth from the Mtsensk District" opera - where there are both peripheral stories to be told and well written music "in the background". Lucier's book shows how important was in the 20th Century to have new/radical/crazy musical/compositional ideas at the right time - as many of the oeuvres he depicts would have passed utterly unnoticed if they were produced yesterday. For instance, playing two completely different (orchestrated) tunes in the same time (e.g. Charles Ives) would hardly interest anyone today as a compositional technique per se. One doesn't need a solid musical trianing to do that, just a mixing console or two radio sets tuned in on different channels. Has that technique noticeably evolved in the past 100 years, the way counterpoint evolved from Palestrina to Bach? I doubt that, but I may be wrong or poorly informed. Some 30 years ago, my music composition professor, Herr Richard Bartzer, recounted a contemporary music festival that he attended in the 1960s. "Anything memorable?" I asked him. "Yes, an orchestral piece entitled Football, by an Argentine composer". "Was it any good?". "I have no idea", Bartzer replied, "but soccer balls were tossed around during the performance, and that is why I remember it!".
HASH(0x90c8b3d8) out of 5 stars A great read. Could read it over and over 14 May 2016
By Michael R Smyjewski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read . Could read it over and over. Found new composers and musicians from this book.
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