James Tenney Collection ➔ An Interview and Performance by Dane Rudhyar, (July 29, 1956)

Analog Audio

Event Type
Interview and Music
Tenney Estate
Program Length
66 min
| broadcast
| 1956-07-29 | created
In a recording made on July 29, 1956, Dane Rudhyar is interviewed for KPCC Radio in Pasadena, California. Rudhyar talks about his early history, his decision to move to the United States in 1916, his interest in Indian and “Oriental” music, psychology, painting, and poetry. While he describes his music as having dissonant elements, Rudhyar seeks to make a distinction between his compositions, which he states are attempts to be attuned to human psychology, and the more technical exercises in modernism of other avant-garde pianist composers. To illustrate his comments Rudhyar performs a number of selections from “Moments,” a collection of tone poems for the piano that were later revised and republished in the 1970s as his “Pentagrams.” These brief but poignant and very resonant works are perfectly balanced between the soft subtleness of Debussy, and the more active and experimental works of Antheil, Ornstein, or Cowell. This interesting interview, which provides such enlightening insights into the inner workings of this gentle spoken Frenchman, concludes with Rudhyar reciting a selection of his spiritually minded poetry.

In the composer’s own words: "My music reflects a similar attitude toward creative activity (as does my visual art). As I have often stated, this music unfolds its melodic-harmonic substance with a rhythm similar to that of speech or poetic recitation rather than referring to the regular motions of physical dance or march characterizing so much of our classical Suites or 'Sonatas' with their rigid patterns of melody and development. I do not mean to say that the music tells a story already expressed in words or translates a succession of events into tones. It is a direct release of psychic energy whose source is an inner feeling or experience.”

Thanks to the James Tenney Estate for making this interview available.
20th century classical
Musical Selections
Moments: Call (1:15) ; Reaching Out (2:27) ; Salutation to the Depths (2:36) ; The Gift of Blood (4:00) ; Gates (2:20) ; Stars (3:32) ; Sunburst (1:27), tone poems for piano (1924-25) -- Odes to Joy [a poem] (1:39) -- Motion [a poem] (1:22) -- “The day’s times stood still” [a poem from “Resurgence III”] (1958) (2:26) -- Release [a poem] (1:30)
Dane Rudhyar, piano
20th century classical
New music
Piano music
Funding for the preservation of this program made possible through a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Related place
Pasadena (Calif.) (was recorded at)
Related Entities
Rudhyar, Dane, 1895-1985