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1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
This is a tough one... I'm sure you're looking for what we think is the ideal social/economic time for a composer in terms of role/status in the music world and in society as a whole rather than our ideal stylistic period. I’m gonna specify a location, too. For example, 1930s U.S. would probably be more fun than 1930s Russia.
2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
Cat. Cat wins. Dog is the people-pleasing creature of habit (unless we’re talking about Miles, of course [my dog - Rob]). Goldfish just can’t get outside his bowl. Cat says, “I’m gonna climb this tree because it’s there and I don’t know what’s at the top yet. Gonna do it even if I risk not being able to find my way back down.” See what I did there?
3. Would you rather…suck a hobo's toe for 2 minutes or be in a cage with a lion and a honey badger for 20 seconds?
Lion/Honeybadger cage. ANYTHING could happen. All three of us could be best friends. But I do know that I won’t be sucking any hobo toes.
4. You’re trapped on an island. There is one electrical outlet connected to a boombox from 1992. When you were stranded here you only had time to save one cassette out of collection of singles. What is the one pop song you will listen to for the rest of your life?
I’m assuming anything 1992 and before is fair game, but I tried to stay as close to 1992 as possible when considering this is the rest of my life we’re talking about: Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson.
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Igor Stravinsky, Ludwig van Beethoven, J.S. Bach
Present: David Coll, Albertas Navickas, Michael Hersch
To the Brim (2013) for solo violin and choreographed by Lydia Hance for Frame Dance. As I said a few posts ago, I don't typically like solo pieces at all. This is another exception (I promise there are only a few exceptions). Charlie's music has always seemed very controlled to me. He has great discipline. I think he was forced to give up some of that discipline in this piece because of the process where he and Lydia traded bits of material back and forth until they had the full piece. I think this yielded really positive results. The piece is able to breathe.
I've seen it with dance and without dance. Each is a completely different experience. But, each works very well. The piece does not need dance to survive. But, when the dance is present, the piece doesn't overpower and isn't overpowered itself. I think this is a rare quality. Truly beautiful work.
sidenote: I was at the above performance and the person clearing their throat was just as disruptive in the live setting. People have no respect for sound and listening.
Live Bass Improv (2010) for fixed media. First of all, I love this piece. I have used it to teach students about gesture, form, and economic use of material since Charlie wrote it. The sounds were all recorded as part of a class project. Bella (bassist) was playing any sounds she could think of and any sounds we could throw at her. I was at the computer. Charlie, Ben, Kenya, and Derek were setting up mics and sound barriers. We were taking samples to use for a joint composition for bass using the K-Bow system which we had recently purchased. It is a bow that sends all kinds of gestural information to the computer via bluetooth. The piece we came up with - not so good. This piece that Charlie made from all the samples - really good.
On my syllabus for electronic music this semester (in China), there is a day where I put only Charlie's piece in order to talk about all the good things they can learn from it.