[f_minor] Make Silence Stop {was:} Re: On Some Faraway Beach Nfld

pzumst pzumst at bluewin.ch
Fri Jul 2 14:21:44 EDT 2010

Just heard that Brazil was kicked out of the World Cup by Holland of all teams . Hoep you didn't bet any money on them....

From: Robert Merkin 
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2010 7:00 PM
To: Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. 
Subject: [f_minor] Make Silence Stop {was:} Re: On Some Faraway Beach Nfld

Glass never nabbed the Pulitzer Prize for Music, but my very favorite composer in this genre, Steve Reich, snagged the venerated golden dingus in 2009.

I got "Four Organs" by Reich on vinyl (with Cage on the A-Side), the (electric) organists are Michael Tilson Thomas, Ralph Grierson, Roger Kellaway and Steve Reich. I can't find the specific duration, but "Four Organs" takes up one whole side of the LP, with no grooveless leftover in the middle. I think LP side max length is about 44 minutes. The musically advanced might be able to calculate the piece's length from the wiki below.

Does this thing show images? If not, I'll zap it to anybody who's curious via e-mail.

I had a midnight-ish radio show on college FM, and one night I said I'd play "Four Organs" until I got a phone request to stop playing "Four Organs" ... I was trying to invent the Anti-Request. The first phone call rang in 35 seconds, there were others.

(Dance enthusiasts may want to catch a very rare performance of Anti-Tap, with Velcro shoes on a complementary Velcro floor, an invention of the Theatre [sic] & Dance Department of the University at Buffalo [NY USA].)

An f_minor thread long ago revealed the previously unsuspected Anti-f_minor, a List of Cage worshippers. The name of the list is Silence (homage to the notorious "4:33" -- I particularly like David Tudor's interpretation)


so that makes the University of Virginia the Anti-Rutgers. (I don't know who the Anti-Mary Jo is.)

Well, my man Charles Ives wailed:

"Why do I like these things? Are my ears on wrong?"

This is the most educationally entertaining wiki I've ever read:


Four Organs is a work for four electronic organs and maraca, composed by Steve Reich in January 1970.

The four organs, harmonically expound a dominant eleventh chord (E-D-E-F#-G#-A-B), dissecting the chord by playing parts of it sequentially while the chord slowly increases in duration from a single 1/8 note at the beginning to 200 beats at the end. The process of increased augmentation is accomplished first by causing notes to sustain after the chord, and then notes start anticipating the chord. As the piece progresses this "deconstruction" of the chord emphasizes certain harmonies; at the climax of the work each tone sounds almost in sequence. A continuous maraca beat serves as a rhythmic framework.

Reich describes the piece as "the longest V-I cadence in the history of Western Music" the v (B-D-F#) and I (E-G#-B) chords being contained within the one chord: "You'll find the chord in Debussy and Thelonious Monk - the tonic on top and the dominant on the bottom."[1] He has cited the music of Perotin and other twelfth and thirteenth century composers as suggesting the technique of note augmentation used in Four Organs.

For performances of the piece, Reich recommended using electronic organs with as plain and simple a timbre as possible, without vibrato, to avoid the sound of the instrument itself distracting from the harmonic and rhythmic aspects of the piece. Reich himself employed four Farfisa "mini compact" models.

Four Organs was first performed in May 1970 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.[2][3] It was received well at the premier, and performances later that year in the United States and Europe received respectful, and in some cases enthusiastic, responses.[4]

Subsequent audiences were not always as polite. October 1971 performances by Reich and members of the Boston Symphony (at Symphony Hall in Boston) received a combination of "loud cheers, loud boos, and whistles."[4]

A 1973 performance of Four Organs at Carnegie Hall in New York City nearly caused a riot, with "yells for the music to stop, mixed with applause to hasten the end of the piece."[5] One of the performers, Michael Tilson Thomas, recalls: "One woman walked down the aisle and repeatedly banged her head on the front of the stage, wailing 'Stop, stop, I confess.'"[6][7]


   1. ^ Steve Reich: Works 1965-1995 (Nonesuch 79451-2, 1997), interview with Jonathan Cott, p.33
   2. ^ Reich, Steve; Hillier, Paul (Editor) (April 1, 2002). Writings on Music, 1965-2000. USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 50. ISBN 0-19-511171-0. 
   3. ^ Strickland, Edward (1993). Minimalism: Origins. USA: Indiana University Press. pp. 218. ISBN 0253213886. 
   4. ^ a b Strickland, at 221.
   5. ^ Schonberg, Harold C., "Music: A Concert Fuss: Music by Reich Causes a Vocal Reaction," New York Times, January 20, 1973.
   6. ^ Byrnes, Sholto (October 2, 2006). "The face Steve Reich". The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article655775.ece. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
   7. ^ Terry Gross, Steve Reich. (2006-10-06). Fresh Air from WHYY: Steve Reich at 70. [Real Player Stream (SMIL)]. Philadelphia: NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6209213. 


    * Reich, Steve; Hillier, Paul (Editor) (April 1, 2002). Writings on Music, 1965-2000. USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 48-50. ISBN 0-19-511171-0. 
    * Steve Reich: Works 1965-1995 (Nonesuch 79451-2, 1997), interview with Jonathan Cott, p. 33.
----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Houpt, Fred 
  To: Robert Merkin ; Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. 
  Sent: Friday, July 02, 2010 11:03 AM
  Subject: RE: [f_minor] On Some Faraway Beach Nfld

  Hah, hah, Bob, well done.  My personal Glass fave is the soundtrack to the awesome film "Powaqatsi"


  From: f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org [mailto:f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org] On Behalf Of Robert Merkin
  Sent: Friday, July 02, 2010 11:00 AM
  To: Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
  Subject: Re: [f_minor] On Some Faraway Beach Nfld

  Knock Knock


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://ff0.org/pipermail/f_minor/attachments/20100702/ae4eb62f/attachment-0001.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 19192 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://ff0.org/pipermail/f_minor/attachments/20100702/ae4eb62f/attachment-0001.jpe>

More information about the f_minor mailing list