Composers Datebook

with host John Zech

Monday, January 21

A minute with Bolcom and Gosfield and

Synopsis

If -- as the saying goes -- "Brevity is the soul of wit," then one of the wittiest piano recitals ever took place in New York City on today's date in the year 2000 at Columbia University's Miller Theater.

Guy Livingston, a 30-something American pianist who lives in Paris, had the idea to commission 60 composers to write for him works lasting a minute or less for a recital program he would call "Sixty Seconds or Less." The project started in 1995, and by the time of his Miller Theater recital, Livingston had accumulated 150 pieces from composers living in Europe, Asia and both North and South America.

One piece, for example, entitled "A 60-second Ballet for Chickens" is by the American composer William Bolcom.

Some of the pieces Livingston commissioned called for what musicologists call "extended performance techniques." One piece, by New York composer Annie Gosfield, asks Livingston to use a baseball to strike the piano keys. Gosfield titled her 60 second piece "Brooklyn, October 5, 1941."

That particular date probably refers to an especially painful 7-4 defeat of the much-lamented Brooklyn Dodgers by the much-hated New York Yankees that occurred on that date during the 4th game of the 1941 World Series.

Music Played in Today's Program

William Bolcom (b. 1939) A 60-second Ballet for Chickens Guy Livingston, piano Wergo 6649

Annie Gosfield (b. 1960) Brooklyn, October 5, 1941 Guy Livingston, piano Wergo 6649

Additional Information

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