Monday, November 18, 2013

Morton Subotnick

Morton Subotnick 1

Morton Subotnick, a pioneer of electronic music, spoke about and performed his work Saturday night at the Kranzberg Certer. O M G. It's been many a year since I've heard such a transcendent performance.

Subotnick, 80, played a synthesizer, what I took to be a MacBook Pro, a microphone and assorted touch pads. He spoke of using two of his best-known works, Silver Apples of the Moon and A Sky of Cloudless Sulphur as a base while adding new "pallets." The performance's theme was Lucy, perhaps the mother of us all.

Although this is, to a point, the boop squeak kind of electronic music, it has structure with complex rhythms and harmonies. The sections passed like chapters of a novel or scenes of a play. So many thoughts and associations went through my head while listening: The Rite of Spring extruded in silicon. God's own glass harmonica. All the tribes of all the planets of all the stars in a jam session.

His sound exploited the entire room. The music moved around you; or, if you prefer, since motion is relative, you moved through it.  Many of his works are available on CD and for download. However, a stereo recording is a limited substitute for hearing the music in three - or four - dimensional space.

When I spoke to Subotnick briefly after the show, he told me he came here in 1964 for a St. Louis Symphony performance of one of his works. He was booed. Good things come to those who wait.           

Morton Subotnick 2

Subotnick performance 1
crummy iPhone photo
Subotnick performance 2

Subotnick performance 4


cieldequimper said...

I am trying to imagine what it would have been like to listen...

Olivier said...

comme me disait un ami jazzman , quand on est hue, c'est que c'est bon, on est en avance sur son temps.
Beau bordel dans tous les cables said...

Maybe the Symphony audience had not been prepared to know what to expect. I cannot imagine boing at a symphony

William Kendall said...

Terrific portraits, Bob!

Stefan Jansson said...

This must have been a fun evening. I have always enjoyed electronic music. Listening to him play as I'm typing this.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Yeh I had a listen too Bob, must have been a fantastic experience live.. who on earth boos at a concert!