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Extreme Positions

Artist: Philip Corner
Philip Corner - Extreme Positions CD
Label: New World
Regular Price: $29.95
On Sale For: $11.98 
Year: 2007
Format: CD

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Philip Corner (b 1933) studied composition with Henry Cowell and Otto Luening and musical analysis with Oliver Messiaen. During the 1960s and 70s he was an active member of Fluxus, a founder (along with James Tenney and Malcolm Goldstein) of the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble, the resident musician and composer for the Judson Dance Theatre, and co-founder of Gamelan Son of Lion (with Barbara Benary and Daniel Goode).

The musical opportunities that these ensembles and their performances offered Corner insured that he was both prolific and had or developed a deep understanding of the important artistic influences of that time. Corner uses a variety of scoring methods—some scores are conventionally written out, some are graphic scores with added commentary and some are, indeed, only text or commentary by which Corner creates an attitude to sound-making materials, the manner of eliciting sounds and the manner of responding to the activities of others.

He is truly the equal of John Cage in forcing us to examine what we call music and how we understand music-making. He is a master of the art of presenting what amounts to a Zen koan to the performer or performing ensembles. He sets interpretive challenges of the highest order while often creating music which can be realized by amateur or professional musician alike.

Corner has commented that being drafted into the US Army and sent to Korea was in fact a “fortuitous” event in his life: “One of the things I learnt in Korea was to go into the quality of sound … to enter into this thing that the Orient had explored that the West hadn’t.” This set of recordings includes two of the seminal pieces from this period—Sang-teh (Situations) and Lovely Music—and proceeds to explore music from five decades of work under the direction of Corner’s earlier collaborator, James Fulkerson, and the composer himself.

This 2-CD set is the first comprehensive overview of his work, including many of his key compositions, and is an ideal introduction to an important but overlooked figure of the American avant-garde.

ARTISTS
The Barton Workshop: Jos Zwaanenburg, flute; John Anderson, clarinets; James Fulkerson, Hilary Jeffery, trombones; Nina Hitz, cello; Boris M. Visser, violin; Manuel Visser, viola; Rozemarie Heggen, contrabass; Krijn van Arnhem, bassoon/contrabassoon; Dante Oei, piano (Chopin Prelude…); Tobias Liebezeit, percussion; Taylan Susam, conductor (Passionate Expanse of the Law)
TRACKS
Disc 1: Trombones
For 2 Trombones No. 2 (1960), Calling! OM (“from the ’70s”), attempting whitenesses (1964), Round Sound (1963), One Note More Than Once (2005) (two performances), An Earth Breath Trilogy (2005), Big Trombone (1963)

Disc 2: Ensemble
Zen Om (“from the ’70s”), Just Another 12-Tone Piece (1995), Sang-Teh, movement III (1960–61), Passionate Expanse of the Law (1959), Lovely Music (1961–62), When They Pull the Plug (2002), Chopin Prelude I: The V9 chord which begins the Chopin D Major Prelude . . . as a revelation (1969)

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