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Joseph Byrd: NYC 1960-1963 - Chamber music / American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Alan Zimmerman, percussion

Album Summary

>Byrd, Joseph : Animals, for prepared piano, string quartet, marimba & vibraphone
>Byrd, Joseph : Loops and Sequences, for cello & piano
>Byrd, Joseph : Aphorisms (3), for prepared piano
>Byrd, Joseph : Densities no 1, for viola & 4 treble instruments
>Byrd, Joseph : Four Sound*Poems, for 4 speakers
>Byrd, Joseph : Trio for violin, viola & cello
>Byrd, Joseph : Water Music, for percussion & tape
>Byrd, Joseph : Prelude to "The Mystery Cheese-Ball," for antiphonal rubber balloons
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The imaginative and carefully crafted music of Joseph Byrd (b. 1937) assumes an astonishing variety of guises: he was an integral part of the experimental arts scene in New York and Los Angeles in the 1960s and he founded the psychedelic rock band The United States of America, and its successor Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies, to name just the most salient. Byrd's career resists easy categorization because his collective activities encompass a broader sound world than is typically admitted within the confines of a single genre. In this sense, Byrd possesses the spirit of radical exploration that has long characterized composers of the American experimental tradition. He initially moved to New York in 1960 to study with John Cage, but among the most influential of his experiences during this period were his two lessons with Morton Feldman, whose delicately floating music enchanted the young composer. The works on this recording provide a rich musical document of Byrd's activities in New York between 1960 and 1963, when he studied with Feldman, served as an apprentice to Cage, and participated in the Fluxus group. Crafted with technical precision, all of the works were designed to explore the "singularity of sound" that was central to Byrd's lessons with Feldman.

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
I found a lot of the program interesting and compelling. The performances are confident and seem accurate. Animals, for prepared piano and six string and percussion instruments. Loops and Sequences is for cello and piano, combining specified pitches. It's more Feldmanesque, and long cello notes are often punctuated by the piano. Three Aphorisms is three tiny yet mighty movements for prepared piano. Densities I is for viola solo with trumpet, cello, marimba, and vibraphone. Again, a strong Feldman influence. The meditative Water Music is for percussion and tape; the texture is dark and thick in the first half, and brighter. The Prelude to The Mystery Cheese-Ball is the opener to a chamber opera that was performed by Byrd, Jackson Mac Low, Yoko Ono, David Tudor, Diane Wakoski, and La Monte Young. Notes are in English and are very informative; the sound is good.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012); Systems Two, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012); Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (10/16/2010); Systems Two, Brooklyn (10/16/2010).



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Works Details

>Byrd, Joseph : Animals, for prepared piano, string quartet, marimba & vibraphone
  • Conductor: Clarice Jensen
  • Ensemble: The American Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • Notes: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1961

>Byrd, Joseph : Loops and Sequences, for cello & piano
  • Performers: Clarice Jensen (Cello); Timothy Andres (Piano)
  • Notes: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1961

>Byrd, Joseph : Aphorisms (3), for prepared piano
  • Performer: Timothy Andres (Prepared Piano)
  • Notes: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960

>Byrd, Joseph : Densities no 1, for viola & 4 treble instruments
  • Conductor: Clarice Jensen
  • Ensemble: The American Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • Notes: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962

>Byrd, Joseph : Four Sound*Poems, for 4 speakers
  • Notes: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962

>Byrd, Joseph : Trio for violin, viola & cello
  • Performers: Sirota (Viola); Clarice Jensen (Cello); Caleb Burhans (Violin)
  • Notes: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1962

>Byrd, Joseph : Water Music, for percussion & tape
  • Performer: Alan Zimmerman (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1963

>Byrd, Joseph : Prelude to "The Mystery Cheese-Ball," for antiphonal rubber balloons
  • Conductor: Clarice Jensen
  • Ensemble: The American Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • Notes: Mission Sound, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (09/26/2012-09/28/2012)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern