Extreme Positions

NW 80659CD NW 80659CD

"Philip Corner (b. 1933) studied composition with Henry Cowell and Otto Luening and musical analysis with Oliver Messiaen. During the 1960s and '70s he was an active member of Fluxus, a founder (along with James Tenney and Malcolm Goldstein) of the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble, the resident musician and composer for the Judson Dance Theatre, and co-founder of Gamelan Son of Lion (with Barbara Benary and Daniel Goode). The musical opportunities that these ensembles and their performances offered Corner insured that he was both prolific and had or developed a deep understanding of the important artistic influences of that time. Corner uses a variety of scoring methods -- some scores are conventionally written out, some are graphic scores with added commentary and some are, indeed, only text or commentary by which Corner creates an attitude to sound-making materials, the manner of eliciting sounds and the manner of responding to the activities of others. He is truly the equal of John Cage in forcing us to examine what we call music and how we understand music-making. He is a master of the art of presenting what amounts to a Zen koan to the performer or performing ensembles. He sets interpretive challenges of the highest order while often creating music which can be realized by amateur or professional musician alike. Corner has commented that being drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Korea was in fact a 'fortuitous' event in his life: 'One of the things I learned in Korea was to go into the quality of sound ... to enter into this thing that the Orient had explored that the West hadn't.' This set of recordings includes two of the seminal pieces from this period -- Sang-teh (Situations) and Lovely Music -- and proceeds to explore music from five decades of work under the direction of Corner's earlier collaborator, James Fulkerson, and the composer himself. This is the first comprehensive overview of his work, including many of his key compositions, and is an ideal introduction to an important but overlooked figure of the American avant-garde."