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My Dear Siegfried


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Audio CD, April 1, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

David Behrman has been active as a composer and artist since the 1960s. Over the years he has made sound and multimedia installations for gallery spaces as well as musical compositions. His recorded work is available on the Lovely Music, Alga Marghen, Classic Masters and XI labels. He has done residencies during recent years at the KGNM (Cologne Society for New Music), the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvestworks in New York and the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona. In 2004 he received the John Cage Award for Music from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. Sam Behrman and Siegfried Sassoon met in 1920, when Behrman, then a young writer working at The New York Times, was sent to interview Sassoon at the start of the English poet's postwar American lecture tour. In that tour Sassoon was billed as England's Soldier-Poet." He had a reputation both as a war hero and an anti-war poet and peace activist. Many years later, each author wrote about this youthful meeting, which inaugurated a long-lasting friendship and a correspondence, mostly conducted via trans-Atlantic letters between England and America, which continued into the 1950s. My Dear Siegfried provides a performance environment in which musicians interact with texts by the two authors and with music software designed to respond to the performers' actions. The texts and the software elements are arranged as a linear thread along which the piece progresses. In QSRL a sensor listens to what the performer is doing and a computer music system provides responses to information the sensor takes in. Viewfinder is a sound installation using software based on homemade synthesizer music of the early 1970s. In A New Team Takes Over, homemade synthesizer modules were used in this piece to distort recordings made off the air of press conferences by members of the new Nixon administration following the American election of 1968. Touch Tones, from the early days of music done with the help of newly-available, small, inexpensive "microcomputers," made use of a kind of primitive artificial intelligence scheme. Pools of Phase Locked Loops was one of four pieces made in response to commissions to the artists of the Sonic Arts Union (Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma and me.) The recording is from a live performance at Radio Bremen in May 1972.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Statement against the War
  2. My Father's Grocery Store
  3. Watercress Well
  4. Letter from S. N. Behrman, August 22, 1939
  5. Letter from Siegfried Sassoon, Sept. 1, 1939
  6. Everyone Sang

Disc: 2

  1. QSRL (1998)
  2. Viewfinder (2002)
  3. A New Team Takes Over (1969)
  4. Touch Tones (1979 )
  5. Pools of Phase Locked Loops (1972)


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