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The Music Gallery presents
James Tenney: Resistance
+ Discussion (Basement Classroom): 6:30PM
For our final X Avant show, we dig into the groundbreaking work of composer James Tenney. Tenney, one-time Toronto resident and Music Gallery enthusiast, is widely considered to be one of the most important composers of the latter half of the 20th century. His music and ideas span an incredible range of interests and disciplines from early computer-generated music to medieval rounds to the elegant short form constructions of his beloved Postal Pieces. Tenney was also deeply concerned with social justice. Tonight’s program surveys almost 30 years of musical activism both in a historical and contemporary light.
The concert begins with the graphic and disturbing Viet Flakes (1965), a short film by Carolee Schneemann containing one of his early examples of electronic music created by tape collage. Fabric For Che (1967) comes to grips with revolutionary energy with pure playback noise. Timbre Ring (1971) is, to the best of our knowledge, a world premiere. Tenney’s frequent use of improvisation, and its essential democratic principles, represents one of the most socially conscious ways of making music: this piece requires careful listening and attention to others. Pika-Don (1994) is dedicated to victims of Hiroshima/Nagasaki nuclear bombings and utilizes recordings of U.S. military contrasted with transcripts of victims of their bombings. This piece is all too relevant today with fresh threats of nuclear war. Something akin to a pop song concludes the concert: Listen! (In memoriam of John Lennon and Wilhelm Reich) (1981/84) is poignant cry to action.
Like all political works, these compositions must be considered within historical and contemporary contexts. Please join us for a pre-show panel discussion exploring the composer’s intent vs. contemporary presentation of these pieces. What does it mean to be a socially conscious composer now as opposed to 20-30 years ago and what do audiences expect from socially conscious music?
The Music Gallery gratefully acknowledges the Lauren Pratt and Tashi Dorji of the James Tenney Estate for their assistance with programming.
Panel Discussion (Basement Classroom): hosted by Bruce Russell, 6:30PM
WARNING: this concert contains violent images.
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