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Alvin Lucier: Wind Shadows / John Anderson


Release Date: 09/27/2005 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80628   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alvin Lucier
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


If you think Morton Feldman is the king of spacious, painfully sparse textures, you haven't met Alvin Lucier (b. 1931). His slowly unfolding soundscapes make Feldman seem like a speed demon by comparison. In 40 Rooms (1996) for quintet and digital reverberation system, single pitches gingerly protrude from a dark canvas of silence, up until about the eight minutes and 20 seconds mark, when the first chords appear. Letters (1992) consists of a violin, clarinet, and cello whose alternating slow sustained notes swim around each other while soft piano chords provide pulseless signposts. The piece ends abruptly, as if someone suddenly pulled out your CD player's plug. Bar Lazy J (2003) for clarinet and
Read more trombone, and Fideliotrio (1987) for viola, cello, and piano showcase single pitches that move in glacial microtonal shifts. The remaining compositions follow similar principles, with help from electronic pure wave or closely tuned oscillators.


Like Mark Rothko's bleak, late paintings, or Beckett's most minimal stage works, Lucier's single-minded, uncompromising aesthetic is borne out of extraordinary concentration and seriousness of purpose, and it demands these precise qualities from listeners. I find it best not to take in more than one or two pieces in one sitting, and to think of them as sculptures to observe rather than narratives that move in a tangible linear fashion. No doubt this music's appeal always will be limited to highly specialized tastes and to listeners with patience and quiet time to spare. And I can't pretend to love the oscillator pieces the way I absolutely adore Lucier's riveting text masterpiece I Am Sitting In a Room (Lovely Music). Yet it must be said that Alvin Lucier usually manages to transform his conceptual and timbral aims into reality, with no loose ends or vagaries. That's no mean feat for any composer. [10/20/2005]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
In Memoriam Stuart Marshall by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
2.
40 Rooms by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
3.
In Memoriam Jon Higgins for Clarinet and Oscillator by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984 
4.
Letters by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Q by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
6.
A Tribute to James Tenney by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
7.
Bar Lazy J by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
8.
Fideliotrio by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
9.
Wind Shadows by Alvin Lucier
Period: 20th Century 

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