James DeMars: Premonitions of Christopher Colmbus

Premonitions (1979)
by James DeMars

PREMONITIONS of CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS by James DeMars was premiered by Zeitgeist at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in October of 1979. This recording uses five musicians playing alto saxophone, two pianos, tablas, marimba, cymbals, and a tam tam. The form is similar to that of the Moroccan “nuba” tradition, in which a pulse gradually emerges to support melodic material. The eclectic blend of idioms and sonorities produces a paradoxical “state of being” as each gesture draws forward. Continue reading “James DeMars: Premonitions of Christopher Colmbus”

F.J. Sacci: Time Keys and Spirit Hammers

Time Keys and Spirit Hammers (1982) 12’08’’
by F.J. Sacci

While writing Time Keys and Spirit Hammers, I became interested in confronting modern music and its relationship to other musical entities, including rock and roll and its divisions. After being in Holland for several years, a longing to be in the rich American musical environment began to dominate my feelings about music, the pure aural sensations of rock music, and strange and repetitious chord progressions are combined throughout the piece.

The music is composed using sounds similar in nature to those being played on New York rock stations. Creating three short new wave-like melodies, I then wrote relatively repetitious chordal ideas and rhythms to appear with the unusual melodies. Hearing the piece might be described as driving down the road listening to your radio, switching your dial every few seconds, but the same tunes in different transformations are on every station.

With these compact pop motives and the well-tested theme and variation form, I describe Time Keyes and Spirit Hammers.

Continue reading “F.J. Sacci: Time Keys and Spirit Hammers”

James DeMars: This

THIS (1980) by James DeMars
THIS (a contracrostipunctus) for Frederic Rzewsky and Douglas Hofstadter IS an opportunity to adJUST to circles of reference and TIME, because a variety of “meanings” are available in (this) unusual interplay of an invertible text AND a looping melody which apparently refer to each and YOU; however, if you TAKE your TIME (AND you are) YOU may HEAR JUST both, which is MUSIC, which IS an opportunity to adJUST to circles of reference and TIME, because a variety of “meanings” are available in (this) unusual interplay of Continue reading “James DeMars: This”

Eleanor Hovda: If Tigers Were Clouds

If Tigers were Clouds… then reverberating, they would create all songs was developed in collaboration with Zeitgeist during a Music in Motion Residency based at the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. We met for two separate week-long sessions (in September and December, 1993) and during that time I was able to work with Zeitgeist in a process similar to that of a choreographer making a dance “on” a specific group of dancers. This process allowed us to make a piece that is what it is because [Zeitgeist] and I spent many hours together working, talking, eating, and
playing during those times.

The title is a thought arrived at in a collaborative instant with composer David Gilbert at least 25 years ago. It suddenly came back to me as I was scoring this piece for Zeitgeist. This piece is very much about reverberation, resonances, and the sonic energy of pitches and their overtones. Tigers and clouds suggest strength, mystery, elusiveness, and can evoke magical imaginary worlds in children and adults.”

— Eleanor Hovda Continue reading “Eleanor Hovda: If Tigers Were Clouds”

Stacey Bowers: Listen to the Rolling Thunder

Listen to the Rolling Thunder (1982) 12’51’’
by Stacey Bowers

Rolling Thunder looking long at his son before he spoke. Then he spoke quietly. “Now you know what has to be done here, so why don’t you wait until you feel those things are done, and then speak?… If you’re feeling impatient, then you’re where you think about time, and if you’re thinking about time, you should be able to think about the order of things. Things have their order. You know there are certain things I can’t do until I do other things first.”

The title and above quote are from Rolling Thunder by Doug Boyd, copyright 1974 by Robert Briggs Associates. The main melodic theme is from “The Bells” by William Byrd, The Fitzwilliam Virginal, volume one. Continue reading “Stacey Bowers: Listen to the Rolling Thunder”

Homer Lambrecht: Signature One: Mendelssohn Fantasy

SIGNATURE ONE: A MENDELSSOHN FANTASY (1980) by Homer Lambrecht was commissioned by the Jerome Foundation for Zeitgeist and received its premiere at Carnegie Recital Hall October 18, 1980 in New York.

“Music spans time in history; the movement of time also articulates the form and substance of music. Patterns of movement form streams of rhythm, flow of harmonic motion, and currents of timbre. These patterns also reveal the spiritual substance of the composer and his cultural heritage. To find patterns that connect my time with the past is the origin of SIGNATURE ONE. Techniques common to today’s music are used to transform ‘Adieu,’ one of Mendelssohn’s ‘Songs Without Words.’” Continue reading “Homer Lambrecht: Signature One: Mendelssohn Fantasy”