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Selected Works 1961-1969

Artist: James Tenney
James Tenney - Selected Works 1961-1969 CD
Label: New World
Regular Price: $26.95
On Sale For: $10.78 
Year: 2004
Format: CD


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The work of James Tenney (b. 1934) as a composer, theorist, performer, and teacher, is of singular importance in American music of the past four decades. He is by nature a quiet, almost publicity-shy musician, but his musical and theoretical works are steadily becoming widely known, despite the fact that few have been published and only a relatively small number, to this date, are readily available on recordings. This recording is a reissue of the 1992 Frog Peak/Artifact CD, the first recorded collection of James Tenney’s music of the 1960s. Many of the pieces on this CD were realized at Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1961 to 1969, where Tenney used Max Mathews’s digital synthesis program that eventually became Music IV. This software became the model for many of the common computer music environments of the last forty years, and was the first system of its kind available to composers. Tenney’s pieces from 1961–64 constitute the first significant and developed body of computer-composed and synthesized music by an American composer.

Tenney was a very young composer when he wrote these pieces. He was working with a new medium, a technology that was still being developed, and a new aesthetic. It is perhaps easy to overlook the importance of the latter in the light of the tremendous technical and historical importance of these pieces—but it is characteristic of Tenney that he was not content just to explore the sonic and technical capabilities of a new technology. To this day, his work from this period remains an important example for composers who work with new technologies: the new world of “computer music” needed a radically new definition of music itself.

The 32-page booklet includes greatly expanded liner notes by composer and former Tenney pupil Larry Polansky.

James Tenney (composer); The Barton Workshop; James Fulkerson (dirctor)
Collage #1 (“Blue Suede”), Analog #1 (Noise Study), Dialogue, Ergodos II (for John Cage), Phases (for Edgard Varèse), Music for Player Piano, Fabric for Ché, For Ann (rising)
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