Jos Kunst – Insecten (1966)

Joseph Petrus Johannes Maria (Jos) Kunst (Roermond, 3 January 1936 – Utrecht, 18 January 1996) was a Dutch composer and musicologist. Art grew up in Maastricht and studied French literature at the University of Groningen. On his 27th birthday he began studying music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, successively by Joep Straesser and Ton de Leeuw. Besides his activities as a composer and as a French teacher, he was working as a lecturer in contemporary music and composition at the conservatories of Zwolle and Amsterdam. At the International Gaudeamus Competition in 1967 he received the AVRO-incentive for the piece Insects for 13 strings. Two years later, at the Gaudeamus Competition for 1969, he won the first prize with the orchestral work Arboreal. His main musical inspiration in the period up to 1975 were Anton Webern, Edgar Varèse and Iannis Xenakis. In 1975 he decided to stop composing. In 1976 he succeeded Rudolf Escher as teacher for the music of the twentieth century at the Department of Musicology of the University of Utrecht. As a musicologist he kept mainly concerned with what is called ‘cognitive musicology’: music science that seeks to describe what music does to the listener. Main musicological publications: Making sense in music: an Enquiry into the formal pragmatics of art (Dissertation, 1978), Philosophy of musicology (Martinus Nijhoff, 1988). In addition to his scientific work, he was active as a poet: he published poems in a Dutch monthly magazine in the years 1979-1988 and in 1982 appeared in the Meulenhoff compilation Nobody Will Ever Own. In 1988, he made ​​use of the possibility to retire early. From that time he wrote again, but kept to himself, unlike in the past, and as much as possible outside the organized musical life. In this period, Claude Debussy was an important source of inspiration. Jos Kunst died at age 60.



Karlheinz Stockhausen – Telemusik (1966)

Telemusik is an electronic composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and is number 20 in his catalog of works. Through his composition student, Makoto Shinohara, Stockhausen was invited by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK to visit Tokyo, and to carry out two commissions in their electronic music studio, in connection with the 50th anniversary of the founding of NHK in 1965. Because of other commitments, Stockhausen was unable to meet this schedule but finally, under pressure from Tokyo, he flew to Japan on 19 January 1966. According to a note in the score, Telemusik was realized between January 23 and March 2, 1966 in the Studio for Electronic Music of the Japanese broadcasting system Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), in collaboration with the director of the studio, Wataru Uenami and the studio technicians Hiroshi Shiotani, Shigeru Satô and Akira Honma. The score is dedicated to the Japanese People. The first public performance took place at the NHK studios in Tokyo on 25 April 1966, in a program which also featured the first and second performances (in versions for trombone and for flute) of Stockhausen’s other NHK commission, Solo.

Iannis Xenakis: Complete Works for Cello

Iannis Xenakis composed just two pieces for solo cello, both fiercely remarkable in their own right. Nomos Alpha, from 1966, is an example of what he called symbolic music, in which the order of musical events is determined according to mathematical rules, while Kottos, composed 11 years later, is a portrait of one of the giants from Greek mythology who fought with Zeus against the Titans. The most substantial of the other pieces here is Epicycles for cello and 12 instruments, an example of later Xenakis, which is far less visceral in its impact and almost archaic in its chant-like melodic writing. The remainder are smaller-scale and pair Arne Deforce’s cello with single instruments – violin, clarinet, double bass, piano. Perhaps the most interesting is Dhipli Zyia, for violin and cello; written in 1951, it’s a rare example of early Xenakis – Bartókian in style and using Greek folk tunes as its source material. [Source]

Steve Reich – Come Out (1966)

Come Out is a 1966 piece by American composer Steve Reich. Reich was asked to write this piece to be performed at a benefit for the retrial of the Harlem Six, six black youths arrested for committing a murder during the Harlem Riot of 1964 for which only one of the six was responsible. Truman Nelson, a civil rights activist and the person who had asked Reich to compose the piece, gave him a collection of tapes with recorded voices to use as source material. Nelson, who chose Reich on the basis of his earlier work It’s Gonna Rain, agreed to give him creative freedom for the project.

Reich eventually used the voice of Daniel Hamm, one of the boys involved in the riots but not responsible for the murder; he was nineteen at the time of the recording. At the beginning of the piece, he says: “I had to, like, open the bruise up and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them” (alluding to how Hamm had punctured a bruise on his own body to convince police that he had been beaten). The police had not previously wanted to deal with Hamm’s injuries, since he did not appear seriously wounded.

Reich re-recorded the fragment “come out to show them” on two channels, which initially play in unison. They quickly slip out of sync to produce a phase shifting effect, characteristic of Reich’s early works. Gradually, the discrepancy widens and becomes a reverberation and, later, almost a canon. The two voices then split into four, looped continuously, then eight, until the actual words are unintelligible. The listener is left with only the rhythmic and tonal patterns of the spoken words. Reich says in the liner notes to his recording Early Works of using recorded speech as source material that “by not altering its pitch or timbre, one keeps the original emotional power that speech has while intensifying its melody and meaning through repetition and rhythm”. The piece is a prime example of process music.

In dance, this piece has been used in 1982 by the Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker as part of one of her seminal works entitled Fase, which has become a cornerstone of contemporary dance.