[ISEA97] Artist Statement: James Dashow – FIRST TANGENT TO THE GIVEN CURVE For piano and computer

Artist Statement

Performed by Paul Hoffman, piano

The more time passes, the more I am fascinated with putting together musical ideas that are on the surface seemingly unrelated in order to see how they effect and transform each other, how their interactions generate form building energies. The tensions from their contrasts, the rhythms within each event, how each idea unfolds and develops, the rhythms with which the events succeed or interrupt each other… all these elements form the dynamic of my work. They are ensembles of things that generate a world of complexities, intertwinings, symmetries and asymmetries, turbulence, provocations, moods, much like the multifarious life experiences—both day to day and in the long run. The result is a unique form, a completed blend, rather like a reflection of a series (a collection) of events in life that you perceive as a local whole. A pluralistic universe in the best Jamesian tradition. The relationship between the piano and the computer generated electronic sounds is, on the other hand, rigorously worked out with extreme precision.The pitch structure provides the basis for the cniintic or vice versa a certain kind of sound yields the basis for the intervals and their specific pitches. And they too mutually influence each other. A continuous cooperative “a due”.
The electronic sounds were generated entirely by the composer’s MUSIC30 program for digital sound synthesis running on the Spirit30 accelerator board for PC, by Sonitech Intl (Wellesley, MA.). The title of the work comes from an essay by Michel Serres, which captures rather nicely the sense of the music, the sense of the composition.

“Here is the complement of the model. Given a flow of atoms, by the declination, the first tangent to the given curve, and afterward by the vortex, a relatively stable thing is constituted. It stays in disequilibrium, ready to break, then to die and disappear but nonetheless resistant by its established conjunctions, between the torrential flow from the upstream currents and the river flowing downstream to the sea.lt is a stationary turbulence.”   —Michel Serres, on Lucretius

First Tangent to the Given Curve has been recorded by Daniele Roi on a Capstone CD.

Audio: First Tangent to the Given Curve (#12,13,14)

  • James Dashow (Italy/U.S.A.), born 1944 in Chicago, studied at Princeton and Brandeis Universities, and completed his musical training with Petrassi at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome. He is now director of the Studio di Musica Elettronica Sciadoni. He has been associated as composer and teacher with the Centro di Sonologia Computazionale of the University of Padua. Dashow served for several years as the first vice-president of the International Computer Music Assocation. Dashow has been the recipient of numerous prizes, such as a Fulbright fellowship to Rome, first prize at the V Concours International di Musique Elettroacoustique, Bourges (France), 2 NEA (U.S.A.) grants for works with soloist and computer generated electronic accompaniment, 2 commissions from the Venice Biennale, a Rockefeller Foundation grant, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters prize, a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, and commissions from the Fromm Foundation and the Koussevitzky Foundation. His radio piece, MEDIA SURVIVAL KIT (1995-96), a “lyric satire” on texts by Bruno Ballardini, was commissioned by the classical music channel, Radio3, of the RAI, and was awarded the Prize of Distinction at the 1996 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz (Austria). Dashow has been invited to present solo concerts of his work for acoustic and electronic instruments at major new music festivals and in conjunction with European national radio net-works. He has lectured extensively in the U.S. and in Europe, has been acting director of the M.I.T.  Experimental Music Studio while teaching the Studio’s graduate music seminar, and has also taught composition courses at Princeton University. Most recently Dashow conducted a series of seminars in digital sound for the Centro para la Difusion de la Musica Contemporanea in Madrid. jamesdashow.net  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dashow