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Monday, May 24, 2010

Electronic Music from the University of Illinois

Liner Notes:

The Studio for Experimental Music at the University of Illinois was established in 1958, and placed under the directorship of Lejaren Hiller, Professor of Music, to provide facilities for the creation, research and teaching of electronic music techniques, to investigate the application of computers to musical composition, and to encourage original instrument design and construction. These related roles the studio has fulfilled admirably, and from its relatively modest beginnings it has developed into one of the best equipped in the world.

The works on this recording provide a representative selection of the more than forty works which have been composed in the studio since its inception.

LEJAREN HILLER (b. 1924) came to music by way of science. He has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University and was a research chemist for some ten years, first with DuPont and later with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois. At Princeton, however, Hiller also studied composition with Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions, and he later continued his musical studies at the University of Illinois. As a chemist, Hiller became familiar with the use of electronic computers for the solution of scientific problems, which knowledge he subsequently applied to the problem of using computers for musical composition. In 1956, in collaboration with L. M. Isaacson, he composed the "Illiac Suite for String Quartet," using the ILLIAC digital computer of the University of Illinois, and he is the author (with L. M. Isaacson) of Experimental Music, the first book to deal with the problems of computer compositional techniques. In 1958 Professor Hiller joined the faculty of the School of Music at Illinois.

KENNETH GABURO (b. 1926) studied at the Eastman School of Music, the Conservatory of Santa Cecelia in Rome, and the School of Music of the University of Illinois, where he received a D.M.A. degree in composition. In 1959 he was a participant in the Princeton University Seminar in Advanced Musical Studies. He has also been the recipient of a Fulbright grant, a UNESCO creative fellowship, and commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitsky Music Foundations. His Compositions include a series of Antiphonies for live performers and tape, two operas, and works for chamber ensembles, orchestra, and the theatre. Previously recorded works are "Line Studies," "Two," "Three Dedications to Lorca," and "Stray Birds." The earlier of the two works on this recording—"Lemon Drops" (1965)—was composed entirely on the Harmonic Tone Generator developed by James Beauchamp, of the faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois. The later work—"For Harry" (1966)—was composed for Harry Partch.

CHARLES HAMM (b. 1925), composer and musicologist, studied at the University of Virginia and at Princeton University. His teachers in composition were Randall Thompson, Bohuslav Martinu, and Edward Cone. Prior to his appointment, in 1963, as Professor of Music at the University of Illinois, he taught at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and at Newcomb College, Tulane University. His compositions include six operas, an orchestral work—"Sinfonia 1954"—which was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony, and numerous chamber, piano, and vocal works. Among his more recent works are "Mobile for Piano and Tape," "Portrait of John Cage" for piano and three tape recorders, and "Round" for unspecified instrumental or vocal ensemble.


For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses:
Rain; empty river; a voyage,
Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight
Under the cabin roof was one lantern.
The reeds are heavy; bent;
and the bamboos speak as if weeping.

Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes
against sunset
Evening is like a curtain of cloud,
a blurr above ripples; and through it
sharp long spikes of the cinnamon,
a cold tune amid reeds.
Behind hill the monk's bell
borne on the wind.
Sail passed here in April; may return in October
Boat fades in silver; slowly;
Sun blaze alone on the river.

Where wine flag catches the sunset
Sparse chimneys smoke in the cross light
Comes then snow scur on the river
And a world is covered with jade
Small boat floats like a lanthorn,
The flowing water clots as with cold.
And at San Yin they are a people of Leisure.

Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar,
Clouds gather about the hole of the window
Broad water; geese line out with the autumn
Rooks clatter over the fishermen's lanthorns,
A light moves on the north sky line;
where the young boys prod stones for shrimp.
In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes.
A light moves on the south sky line.

State by creating riches shd. thereby get into debt?
This is infamy; this is Geryon.
This canal goes still to TenShi
though the old king built it for pleasure

K  E I   M  E N  RAN    K  E I
K  I U  M  A N  MAN   K  E I
T A N   FUKU  TAN    K A I

Sun up; work
sundown; to rest
dig well and drink of the water
dig field; eat of the grain
Imperial power is? and to us what is it?

The fourth; the dimension of stillness.
And the power over wild beasts.

("Canto XLIX" Copyright 1948 by Ezra Pound. Used with permission of the publisher, New Directions Publishing Corp.)

HERBERT BRÜN was born in 1918 in Berlin, Germany. As a pupil at the Jerusalem Conservatory of Music in Israel, he studied composition with Stefan Wolpe. Further study has included work at Columbia University, New York, and at the electronic studios in Paris, Cologne, and Munich. A partial list of his compositions includes: "Mobile for Orchestra," "Sonoriferous Loops," "Gestures for Eleven," "Non Sequitur VI," "Gesto for Piccolo Flute and Piano," "Trio for Flute, Double-Bass, Percussion," "Trio for Trumpet, Trombone, Percussion," 3 String Quartets, and numerous scores for the theatre. Since 1955 he has given many lectures and seminars dealing with the function of music in society. He came to the School of Music of the University of Illinois in 1963, primarily to do research on the significance of computer systems for the composition of music, and is presently a member of the faculty there.


If you were
not yet to understand
the meaning which was conveyed
to these events of sound
it would be understandable

for it is believable
that you do not yet believe
in hearing the sound of events
as they call on you
to create the suitable language
which might let you say to yourself
that which is said to you
just once and never again
for the first and the last time

there is no second time
since a language gained
is a language lost

And to even try
to tell you this
seems a sheer waste of time
for it is language
and thus lost

-Herbert Brün

SALVATORE MARTIRANO (b. 1927) studied composition with Herbert Elwell, Bernard Rogers, and Luigi Dallapiccola. He has been the recipient of many grants and awards for musical composition ("Underworld" was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation), and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Illinois. His works include the "Chansons Innocentes" for soprano (a setting of texts by e. e. cummings), an a cappella Mass (Sal M's Solemn Psalm), and "O, O, O, O, That Shakespeherian Rag" for mixed chorus and instrumental ensemble.

Notes by R. B. MacDonald

Track List & Credits:
  1. MACHINE MUSIC Lejaren A. Hiller (1964) for piano, percussion and tape. Phyllis Rappeport, piano; Thomas Siwe, pecussion
  2. LEMON DROPS Kenneth Gaburo (1965) (Tape Alone)
  3. FOR HARRY Kenneth Gaburo (1966) (Tape Alone)
  4. CANTO Charles Hamm (1963) for soprano, speaker & chamber ensemble. Helen Hamm, soprano; Elizabeth Hiller, speaker, The Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Illinois; Jack McKenzie, conductor
  5. FUTILITY (1964) Herbert Brün for speaker and tape, Marianne Bran, speaker
  6. UNDERWORLD Salvatore Martirano (1965) The Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Illinois, David Gilbert, conductor
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin

Download Links: Enjoy the Music, or here.

Other recordings featuring composers on this recording:
Lejaren A. Hiller
Kenneth Gaburo
Salvatore Martirano

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