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Four Musical Minimalists: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass (Music in the Twentieth Century) Paperback – June 3, 2002
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"...provides a wealth of previously unavailable information and engages in analyses to which future writers on minimalism will be obliged to respond." Journal of Musicological Research
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One aspect I am keen to know more about, but which Potter doesn't stress overly much, is the striking confluence of non-Western influences. Young and Riley are both disciples of the North Indian master singer, Pandit Pran Nath, who died in 1996. Reich studied both African drumming as well as the gamelan music of Bali. Glass studied Indian music, after being immersed in serialism. With the European "classical" tradition at an impasse at the turn of the millennium, it seems only natural that the future would lie in creative fusions and combinations with other traditions. (Not a very original idea, I realize, as evidenced by the recent emphasis of the Kronos Quartet among others.) Minimalism seems by now to be another style that passed into history and critical assessments -- is there an opening there that is being missed?
Musical minimalism as well is a kind of misnomer in that the term began in the visual arts and if you go there you will find the term and its results and achievments has a much more vigorous base of contemplation and export. There simply is more important things happening there, as Donald Judd,the minimalist shrine of cubes and geometric shapes in an old Army base in Marfa Texas or the flourescent lighting schemes of Dan Flavin, the powerful sculptural plates of Richard Serra,or painters abound as Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Bridget Riley. There simply is no comparison with the level of conceptual depth and gestural focus, what art is suppose to do, what it did, and how the concept is engaged,and how it responds to its context and art history,or a temporality (how for instance the spirit, ir-religious of course is engaged in Richard Serra, his plates where the human mind simply stands there engaged in peace with his own existence or sense of space and time). Musical minimalism has no equivalent, and it is a shame for it could have had this. La Monte Young's "Well-Tuned Piano", a 9 hour work with just intonation tunings of the piano comes close to the temporal vigours of Judd's shrine I beleive.Read more ›