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TUDOR & GORDON MUMMA, DAVID
Rainforest/4 Mographs, 2 Sections from Gestures II
NEW WORLD RECORDS
"This historic recording features the first-ever release of the two earliest surviving recordings of David Tudor's seminal work,
. Sandwiched in between are six keyboard works by Gordon Mumma in recordings featuring the composer and his close collaborator, Tudor. In early 1968, Merce Cunningham created a new dance whose apparent impetus was Colin Turnbull's
The Forest People
, with its account of life among the Mbuti pygmies of the Ituri Forest in Zaire. For the music, Cunningham turned to Tudor and for the first time asked him for an original work. When he learned that the dance was to be called 'Rainforest,' Tudor said, '
Oh, then I'll put a lot of raindrops in it.
' Raindrops were just the beginning: using audio transducers originally designed by the Navy for hearing under and above water simultaneously -- eight small objects programmed with signals from sound generators, phonograph cartridges, and two sets of speakers -- Tudor created a world of sound in perpetual but unpredictable motion, a steady state at once abstract and evocative. The first recording, made from the Teatro Novo orchestra pit on July 30, is an excellent document of the sound character of Tudor's 'Rainforest' work when it was performed with the Cunningham Dance Company in those early years. The second recording documents the first concert performance of 'Rainforest', in March 1969, several months after the Rio de Janeiro dance performance. The venue was a large conference space at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. The equipment was set on tables in the center of the space, with the audience seated around the performers. Four separate channels of sound were used and widely spaced, with two in the foreground and two in the background. The sound sources had also expanded from the earlier Cunningham performances, with Tudor now adding recordings of small sounds from insects and birds, in conjunction with the previous electronic sounds, all modified by his acoustical resonant devices. Gordon Mumma's 'Gestures II' and the 'Mographs' are two sets of pieces for two pianists, composed between 1958 and 1964. During the 1960s Robert Ashley and Gordon Mumma toured with their concerts of New Music for Two Pianos, including parts of 'Gestures II' and some of the 'Mographs.'"
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