A Companion to Slug
Frog Peak Music Newsletter #14
PEAK PICKS (contents)
* New Artists, New Works
* 5th printing of James Tenney’s META + HODOS
* UNBOUND: Daniel Goode, Malcolm Goldstein
* Frogspeak: John Chalmers on Xenharmonikôn 18; “One.” Jody Diamond and Larry
Polansky on the Frog Peak business model
NEW FROG PEAK ARTISTS and WORKS
Frog Peak is pleased to announce that composers Daniel Kelley and Malcolm Goldstein
have joined the collective in recent months, and that we plan to distribute some of
the works of the late Salvatore Martirano.
New works have been received from several Frog Peak artists, including Barbara
Benary, Philip Corner, Barbara Monk Feldman, Peter Garland, Drew Krause, Ron
Nagorcka, Jon Rose, David Rosenboom, and Lois Vierk. Check individual artist pages at
http://www.frogpeak.org for more information.
The latest (and last) issue of the journal Xenharmonikon 18 has been released. [An
excerpt of John Chalmers introduction to the final issue is in FROGSPEAK, below.]
META + HODOS
Frog Peak has recently completed the 5th printing of the volume META HODOS and META
Meta + Hodos by James Tenney. The most recent books (made from electronic files sent
to a laser printer and an automatic perfect binder in a local print and
communications company) rolled off the presses in late 2006, 20 years after the first
edition (for which each page was pasted up by hand at a dining room table in Oakland,
California, then sent more than half-way across the country to be printed, bound, and
shipped back) was published in 1986.
UNBOUND: Daniel Goode and Malcolm Goldstein
The UNBOUND section of the Frog Peak Music website, http://www.frogpeak.org/unbound/,
continues to grow with these new additions:
Daniel Goode’s “One Page Pieces,” a collection of works that “go back to 1974 and up
to 1993.” It includes Goode’s widely played “Eine Kleine Gamelan Music,” the ensemble
challenge of “Stamping in the Dark,” the surprising and extendable “Relaxing at the
Piano,” and many other pieces with interesting props or processes. At one page each,
how can you miss?
Malcolm Goldstein’s improvisation book, SOUNDING THE FULL CIRCLE. In Goldstein’s
words: “‘Soundings’ are free improvisations exploring the rich sound possibilities of
the violin. There is no pre-set structure; rather it is the process of discovering
new qualities and relationships, that is the flow of the music. Melodies of sound
(timbre/texture/articulation) are created that evolve out of the interplay between
the resonance of the violin and the gesture of the violinist.”
FROGSPEAK: John Chalmers on Xenharmonikôn 18
by Larry Polansky
Frog Peak Music (a composers’ collective) began some 25 years ago with a few humble
aspirations. First, we wanted to make scores and writings of fellow artists available
simply and easily, have the composers themselves in control of their own work, and
allow for the most radical forms of musical expression without editorial interference
or evaluation of any kind.
Second, we wanted to publish important manuscripts, particularly those that dealt
with speculative theory, which had not, for one reason or another, been published in
conventional ways. Two of these manuscripts, James Tenney’s Meta + Hodos, and John
Chalmers’ giant project on tuning, the monumental Divisions of the Tetrachord, were
among the first projects we undertook.
Divisions, a highly ambitious project, didn’t appear for some 10 years. Frog Peak
composer Lou Harrison had initially shown us some of the manuscripts for Chalmers’
book, and been a great advocate for John’s ideas; it seemed clear that this book and
Frog Peak were meant for each other. (While the book is out-of-print in paper, the
information is still available: http://www.frogpeak.org/unbound/).
Now, as Lou might say, a score and a lustrum later, another labor of love begun by
John Chalmers has come to an end: the occasional journal Xenharmonikon [XH], long a
champion of and forum for important ideas and radical composition. The following is
from John’s introduction to XH 17, the final issue.
Notes and Comments 18 , by John Chalmers
This issue is exceptionally late again as the previous issue was published in the
Spring of 1998 and over the past 30 years, there have been only 17 issues, including
those edited by Daniel J. Wolf. I think it is finally time to end Xenharmonikôn with
this issue. Although I’m at retirement age, I am busier now enjoying a second
research career as a prebiotic chemist and astrobiologist than I was in 1995 and
1998, when I was a consultant in biotechnology and sundry other areas, and more
easily found the time and energy to publish XH16 and XH17.
More to the point, I think there is less need for a publication like Xenharmonikôn
than there was back in the spring of 1974 when I brought out the first issue. In
those days, the microtonal music community was so small that I could organize XH as
an Amateur Press Association (APA), an idea I got from science-fiction fandom, on
whose edges I lurked during the late 1960s and early 1970s when I was a postdoctoral
fellow in Genetics at the Universities of Washington and California, Berkeley. Back
then, in what now seems like the Pleistocene, there were few channels of
communication and most microtonalists worked in isolation. Now there are a half-dozen
email lists devoted to alternative tunings, numerous web pages, concert series,
academic conferences and special issues of established music journals. Although a
hard-copy archive is certainly desirable, with the Internet and World Wide Web,
communication is no longer a problem and I question the need for a silent journal
devoted to an aural art. I’ve contemplated including a CD with each issue, but I am
not a sound engineer and I don’t really have the time or the equipment to do it properly.
It’s been fun, most of the time at least, and I’ve met a large number of people all
over the world whom I consider as friends, but it’s time, I feel, to cease
publication. In this day of instant communication, on-line journals, preprint
servers, (self) publication on demand, and professional quality audio and video
recording in home studios, I see little place for an occasional and usually late
print journal like XH, though if anyone reading this wants to start a new one, you
certainly have my encouragement and best wishes.
Jody Diamond and Larry Polansky, co-founders and co-directors of Frog Peak Music, were
interviewed by the New Hampshire Business Resource journal. The interviewer was
surprised that the answer to “How many CDs do you need to sell to consider it
successful?” was “One.”
(The full article is at
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