Friday, July 14
A famous commercial for magnetic recording tape once asked the question: "Is it live—or Memorex"—suggesting it was impossible to tell the difference. These days, at concerts of some contemporary composers' works, the correct answer would be "It's live AND Memorex"—as there is a growing body of works that involve BOTH live performers and prerecorded tape.
A 1995 work by the American composer Ingram Marshall, titled 'Dark Waters,' was written for an English horn soloist accompanied by a prerecorded tape of fragments from old 78-rpm recordings of Jean Sibelius' chilly tone-poem "The Swan of Tuonela."
Both the live English horn part and the prerecorded tape are digitally processed and mixed at each live performance. "Those who know the Sibelius will recognize familiar strains," says Marshall. "Of course the live and taped materials are highly processed, so eventually the listener forgets about the original materials and sinks into the re-created music itself."
On today's date in 1998, Ingram Marshall and Libby Van Cleve, the English horn player for whom "Dark Waters" was written, recorded the work at St. Casimir's Church in New Haven, Connecticut.
"You can actually hear the sound of that church in the recording," recalls Van Cleve. "We finished at about 3 AM, and it was stiflingly hot—How ironic that Ingram's music—and Sibelius'—is always associated with cold climates!"
Music Played in Today's Program
Ingram Marshall (b. 1942) Dark Waters Libby van Cleve, English horn; Ingram Marshall, electronics New Albion 112