Other Minds Festivals ➔ Other Minds Festival: OM 7, Concert 3 (selection)

Digital Audio

Event Type
Other Minds
Program Series
Other Minds Festival
Program Length
45 min
| broadcast
| 2001-03-10 | created

Her composing has always been a three ring circus—a literal mix of high wire walks, lion-taming, and clownerie. Masks, small change artistry and pheromones. Total control and falling on your face; Legal intention and illicit non-intention. Truth or consequences. When I woke up, her music was mine. The conductor announced an unscheduled stop in Inner Cities.

That's where I go to get away from it all; away from the computer wards, the installation brothels, the fast food theaters, the arugola beds. Inner Cities is where I go to get debriefed. Like in Calistoga, first the mud, then heaven, then you pay.

In a hammock under a fig tree Italo Calvino wrote his Citta Invisibili; then, I was a mere closet-"situationist" with an electric thumb piano and wanted to make all the music in the world. Gradually I pointed my microphone out the window and began.

As a natural born liar, I have always sought the truth…So amidst the racket of pile drivers and Wailing Walls and String Quartets, Fog Horns, Midi Shofars and waltzes, I have been filling notebooks up for years with three note chords, two note arpeggios, drunken scales, umpah rhythms in seven-elevenths.

In the early nineties I started to sort these objects out, add new ones, ignore others... I'd take a few days off, sometimes a week, sometimes a month, sometimes never and go to the INNER CITIES... there I kept a secret scratch pad and a tabula-rasa in my Bluthner Piano. My father always used to say that if you keep studying the piano, you'll always have something to fall back on. I've been falling ever since.

What began in 1993 as a mere 28 minute piano piece on an A major triad in first inversion, has now grown to a major (for me) series of solo piano works, of which this last - number 8 is one of the most rarified and rigorous, most lush and longest (50 minutes plus)…Number 2, by contrast is built on two two-note chords of a diminished 9th and ends up in a smoky bar playing "Body and Soul." Number 3 is a four part Choral using typically dysfunctional triadic harmonies, etc. etc. So far there is a tendency toward very quiet and calm, but occasionally this is broken by sudden and vigorous attacks of high energy, for no apparent reason. In all of these pieces, the writing is instinctual, and obsessed with detail, edited and rewritten to death: how to make a big deal between a pause of 7 seconds and one of 7.3 seconds, how to use only two triads, then three, then none, then one, then turn your back on the whole thing and use all the triads and clusters to boot. These damned impish little piles of stones, chords of well-being that have all but defined the sonic space that Einstein walked in on his way to rehearsal at the Oranienburgstrasse Synagogue.

Cut to the plot—these pieces are serial containers of music for solo piano, which I make unsolicited and with nothing to prove. They are pure oases of personal pleasure—intimate and democratic spaces where all is possible as long as almost nothing (well not too much) happens; there is room for everything except the superfluous. Everything is surrounded by air, by intense focus. Literal triadic memories, they begin and end stark naked like a scrawl in Cy Twombly painting. They're exercises in liberation and attachment at the same time—dream plans for anywhere you might want to be.

In 1994, I recorded five of these pieces for the Hessicher Rundfunk in Frankfurt; Most recently, n.6 and 7 were premiered by Jed Distler at Mills College in 1998 and by Daan Van der Walle for the BRT (Belgian Radio, 1999) and now Eve Egoyan a superb player of my piano music presents a world premiere of n.8 in a version slightly shortened for this occasion.
- Alvin Curran
20th century classical
Musical Selections
Inner Cites 8, for piano (2000) (44:04) / Alvin Curran
Eve Egoyan, piano
20th century classical
Piano music
Related Event
Other Minds Festival 7
Related place
San Francisco (Calif.) (was recorded at)
Related Entities
Other Minds Festival
Curran, Alvin S., 1938-
Egoyan, Eve