Occasional Pieces: Writings and Interviews, 1952-2013

ISBN : 9780190222895

Christian Wolff; George E. Lewis
368 ページ
156 x 235 mm

As one of the original pioneering composers of the American experimental music movement and a well known scholar of classics, Christian Wolff has long been active as a significant thinker and elegant writer on music. With Occasional Pieces, Wolff brings together a collection of his most notable writings and interviews from 1950 to the present, shining a new light on American music of the second half of the twentieth century. The collection opens with some of his earliest writings on his craft, discussing his own proto-minimalist compositional procedures and the music and ideas that led him to develop these techniques. Organized chronologically to give a sense of the development of Wolff's thinking on music over the course of his career, some of the pieces delve into connections of music-making to social and political issues, and the concept of indeterminacy as it applies to performance, while others offer insights into the work of Wolff's notable contemporaries including John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, David Tudor, Frederic Rzewski, Cornelius Cardew , Dieter Schnebel, Pauline Oliveros, and Merce Cunningham. An invaluable resource for historians, composers, listeners and students alike, Occasional Pieces offers a deep dive into Christian Wolff's musical world and brings new light to the history of the American experimental movement.


Author's Preface
1. (One of) 4 musicians at work (1952)
2. On Webern (1955)
3. New and Electronic Music (1958)
4. On Form (1960)
5. Questions (1964)
6. Electricity and Music (1968)
7. Interview with Victor Schonfield (1969)
8. Fragments to make up an interview (1970-1)
9. For Merce (1975)
10. Conversation with Walter Zimmermann (1976)
11. Frederic Rzewski, 12. On Political Texts and New Music (1980)
13. Cornelius Cardew memorial text (1981)
14. On Notation (1984)
15. Open to Whom and to What (1987)
16. Morton Feldman memorial text (1987)
17. On Morton Feldman's 18. Text on Morton Feldman's music (1990)
19. What is Our Work? (1990)
20. Text on Charles Ives (1990)
21. Keith Rowe, 22. On Dieter Schnebel's 23. Floating rhythm and experimental percussion (1990)
24. Quiet Music (1991)
25. Interview with Cole Gagne (1992)
26. Interview with Markus Trunk (1992)
27. Briefly on Cornelius Cardew and John Cage (1992)
28. John Cage memorial text (1992)
29. Preface to 'John Cage, Morton Feldman: Radio Happenings' (1993)
30. Sketch of a statement (1993)
31. Music - Work - Experiment - Politics (1995)
32. Letter to Suzanne Josek (1996)
33. Thinking of David Tudor (1997)
34. 'Most Material': Evan Parker and Eddie Prevost (1997)
35. Frederic Rzewski and his piano music (2001)
36. Merce Cuningham and CW music (2001)
37. Feldman's String Quartet No. 2 (2002)
38. Earle Brown - Chamber Music (2004)
39. Some Notes on Charles Ives and Politics (2004)
40. On day to day composing work (2004)
41. Remembering Grete Sultan (2005)
42. On Music with Cunningham Events (2008)
43. Some recollections of Arthur Russell (2009)
44. On verbal notation (2009)
45. Experimental Music around 1950 and Some Consequences (2009)
46. Interview with James Saunders (2009)
47. Crossings of Experimental Music and Greek Tragedy (2010)
48. About Merce (2010)
49. What can I still say about John Cage? (2012)
50. Thinking yet again about John Cage (2012)
51. The first performance of Erik Satie's 'Vexations' (2012)
52. Robyn Schulkowsky's 'Armadillo' (2013)
53. Selected program notes


Christian Wolff is a former Professor of Classics and Music at Dartmouth College, now a full-time composer and sometime performer. Born in Nice, France, he has lived and worked primarily in the United States since 1941, where he studied composition briefly with John Cage in 1950. He was a pioneering member of the New York School of composition in the 1950's and 60's and with Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown and David Tudor produced a range of experimental music that maintains a notable and still evolving presence. Wolff has received awards and grants from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Ford Foundation, DAAD Berlin, the Asian Cultural Council, the Fromm Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts and the Mellon Foundation, and is a member of the Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.; George E. Lewis is Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University.