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Benjamin Boretz

COMPOSITIONS AND THEIR PERFORMANCES

Ben writes:

"I was born (1934 in Brooklyn) at a time when no sentient person could separate personal preoccupations from the social and political urgencies of the time. That consciousness has inflected all my work as composer and writer, and undoubtedly underlies my activity as an instigator of projects such as the publication Perspectives of New Music, the creative cooperative called Open Space, and the learning program at Bard College called Music Program Zero. All the meta-musical writing I have done, from the book-length essay Meta-Variations to my decade as Music Critic for THE NATION, and many text compositions and essays since then, have been spurred by this engagement with the implications of expressive personhood in the contemporary world. And partly as a consequence of this thinking, my music has never had any referentiality at all."

EARLY WORKS

 

1953-1954

 

AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

1954-55

  • Concerto Grosso I: Sinfonia
    For string orchestra

  • Concerto Grosso II: Nocturne 
    For string orchestra

  • Partita
    For piano (Prelude, Gavotte, Allemande, Capriccio)

    • ​Score

    • MIDI performance

    • Ann Besser, piano, Brandeis University, 1955

    • Keith Eisenbrey, piano, Seattle, WA

    • Terrie Manno, piano recital, Moorhead State University, April 1998

    • Michael Fowler, piano recital, Cincinnati Conservatory,  March 2002

 

1955-56

  • Rilke: A Sonnet to Orpheus 
    Chamber song on a text by Rainer Maria Rilke for mezzo soprano, flute and two cellos

    • Score

    • MIDI performance with wordless voice 
       

  • First Donne
    Holy Sonnet of John Donne for soprano and piano

  • Divertimento
    For chamble ensemble: flute, bassoon, violin, viola, cello

    • ​Score

    • MIDI performance

    • Boston Symphony Chamber Ensemble at Brandeis, 1956: Anton Winkler, flute; ??, bassoon; Robert Brink, violin; Elephtheros Elephtherakis, viola; Dorothea Jump, cello

 

 

AT ASPEN MUSIC SCHOOL

SUMMER 1956

  • Violin Concerto (first movement)
    For solo violin and orchestra

    • ​Score

    • Stanley Hoffman, solo violin; Aspen Festival Orchestra, David Epstein, Conductor 

 

 

AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

1956-57

  • Violin Concerto (movements I, II and III)
    For solo violin and orchestra

    • ​Score 

    • Charles Castleman, solo violin; Eastman Composers' Orchestra, Geoffrey Pope, Conductor. Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, Spring 2010. Paul Coleman, audio; recorded and released as OSCD 27, 2020)
       

  • Overture to a Cantata on Kenneth Patchen's Jezebel
    For clarinet, trumpet, piano, violin, viola 

 

AT UCLA

1957-59

1958

  • String quartet I (Overture), II (Intermezzo)

    • ​Score

    • MIDI performance

    • Columbia Records Quartet: Stanley Hoffman, violin; ??, violin; ??, viola; Alex Reisman, cello. Stanford University Composers' Festival, spring 1958 (recording lost in NYC apartment theft, 1968) 

    • Composers' Quartet: Matthew Raimondi, violin; Anahid Ajemian, violin; Walter Trampler, viola; Seymour Barab, cello. Princeton University, 1960

    • DAFO Quartet: Justina Duda, violin; Danuta Augusty, Violin; Aneta Dumanowska, viola; Anna Armatys, cello; Malgorzata Polanska, Tonmeister, Krakow-Warsaw, 2006. Recorded for Open Space (with Postlude) at Polish National Radio Studio, Warsaw, and released as OSCD 23

 

AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

1959-60

 

 

IN NEW YORK CITY, 1961-71

 

1964-67

 

IN LONDON, UK; NEW YORK CITY; PRINCETON UNIVERSITY AND BARD COLLEGE

1972-73

  • Group Variations II
    For computer, realized at the Princeton University Computer Center on the IBM 360 computer using Barry Vercoe's Music 360 revision of the Music AV program written by Godfrey Winham and Hubert S. Howe (1968-1973)

    • Score

    • Concert of Group for Contemporary Music, Columbia University, McMillan Theater, New York City, autumn 1973

    • International Society for Computer Music annual festival, New England Conservatory of Music, 1974; recorded and released on CRI LP by Composers' Recordings Inc., 1974

    • Video composition/performance by Russell Craig Richardson, 2004, recorded by Open Space on OSDVD 1 

 

AT MACDOWELL ARTISTS’ COLONY, PETERBOROUGH, NH

SUMMER 1974

  • Liebeslied, for a pianist alone

 

 

AT SYCAMORE DRIVE

1977-78

  • (“…my chart shines high where the blue milk’s upset…”)
    For piano, for Milton Babbitt at 60

    • Score (Lingua Press, 1980, with J. K. Randall: “…such words as it were vain to close…” for piano)

    • Joan Tower, piano, Carnegie Recital Hall, April 18, 1978 

    • Keith Johnston, piano, University of Washington, Seattle, April 18, 1978

    • Jeff Presslaff, piano recital, Princeton University, 1979

    • Keith Eisenbrey, piano, Seattle, WA

    • Sarah Rothenberg, piano, recorded at Bard College, released by Open Space on OSCD 1, 1989

    • Terrie Manno, piano, Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN, April 1998

    • Terrie Manno, piano, Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN, Spring 2001

    • Michael Fowler, piano recital, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, 2002

    • Michael Fowler, piano recital, Princeton University Taplin Hall, 2002

    • Michael Fowler, piano. Open Space recording of BAB piano music, OSCD 18, 2002

    • Michael Fowler, piano recital, Newcastle Conservatory of Music, Newcastle, Australia, 2004 – with music by Babbitt, Boretz, Randall

1978

  • Language  ,as a music
    For speaker and tape

    • Score 

    • Score (book), Lingua Press, 1979

    • BAB, Center for Music Experiment at UC San Diego, April 1980, released as OSCD 10

    • Jon Forshee, UC San Diego, 2014

1979

  • A Passage, for Roger Sessions at 80 (…What I could hear, trying to crawl out from between the lines of your last ferocious sonata...)
    For piano

    • Score

    • MIDI performance

    • Jeff Presslaff, piano recital, Princeton University, 1980 – with music by BAB/JKR

    • Terrie Manno, piano concert, Moorhead State University, 1998

    • Terrie Manno, piano recital, Moorhead State University, 2002

    • Michael Fowler, piano. Open Space recording of BAB piano music, released on OSCD 18, 2002

    • Michael Fowler, piano recital, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, 2002

    • Michael Fowler, piano recital, Newcastle Conservatory of Music, Newcastle, Australia, 2004 – with music by Babbitt, BAB, JKR 

 

THE TIME OF THE INNER STUDIO AT SYCAMORE DRIVE (1979-2003)

1980

1979-2003

Piano solos

  • The ONE Sessions (1985-1988)

    • ONETEXT

    • ONETEXT: COMMENTARY

    • TWOTEXT

    • TWOTEXT: COMMENTARY

    • THREETEXT

    • THREETEXT: COMMENTARY

    • FOURTEXT

    • FOURTEXT: COMMENTARY          

    • FIVETEXT  (1987) (OSCD 46)

    • SIXTEXT (1988)

    • Poem for SIXTEXT (1988)
       

  • Lament for Sarah 
    9/3/90 on the death of Sarah Vaughan

1987

1990

1991

  • The Purposes and Politics of Engaging Strangers
    For speaker, players, prerecorded audio

    • BAB (speaker, live and recorded player and presenter); Mary Lee A. Roberts (live and recorded player). Visiting guest lecture, Willamette University, Salem, OR, with introduction by Professor of Music John Peel, 1991. Released on OSCD 6

    • BAB with Mary Lee A. Roberts at colloquium, University of Washington, Seattle, 1992

    • BAB with Bard College Composers' Ensemble, Wellesley College Composers' Forum, 1992

1992

  • Group Variations II.1
    For computer 

    • Resampled at Princeton University Computer Center by Paul Lansky, 1992

    • Recorded by Open Space and released on OSCD 5

 

1994

  • music/consciousness/gender
    Text/sound/video performance piece for speaker, audiotape and video –video composed with Noel Bush, 1994

    • Video version: Open Space DVD 1

    • Audio version: Open Space OSCD 49

    • Score published in Audible Traces, edited by Lydia Hamessley and Elaine Barkin

    • Also in Being About Music 

    • BAB at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, 1995

    • BAB at Princeton University Composers' Forum, 1995

    • BAB at Moorhead State University music department colloquium, 1995

    • BAB, recorded for Open Space by Mary Lee A. Roberts at Moorhead State University, 1995 and released on OSCD XX

    • BAB, University of California, Riverside, 1995

    • BAB, UCLA Schoenberg Hall, 1995

    • BAB, lecture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 1995

    • BAB, lecture series, UC Santa Cruz, 2000

    • Recorded by Mary Lee A. Roberts at Moorhead State University, 1995

1997

 

1998

  • Black /Noise I
    Electronically processed piano (Echoic /Anechoic)

  • Black /Noise II
    Audio for a video piece 

    • BAB, voice (text: Deleuze & Guattari's 1000 Plateaux) with electronically processed piano, 1998

  • Black /Noise III
    Video piece with text and audio

    • BAB, voice (text: Deleuze & Guattari's 1000 Plateaux) with electronically processed piano, instruments and voices plus video images from books and domestic events and objects, 1998

    • Released on OS DVD 1

 

1999

2000

  • O
    For piano, for Terrie Manno

    • Score

    • Terrie Manno, piano recital, Moorhead State University, April 2001

    • Michael Fowler, piano, OSCD 18 (BAB piano music), 2002

    • Michael Fowler, piano recital, Cincinnati Conservatory, 2002

    • Variations on O by other composers, recorded by Open Space and released on OSCD 33: 

 

2001

  • I/O
    For two speakers 

    • Score (Published as a text in The Open Space Magazine and Being About Music)

    • BAB, solo version, SEAMUS conference, Baton Rouge, LA  (2001) 

    • BAB with Karen Eisenbrey, Seattle, WA (2002) 

    • BAB with Mara Helmuth, CCM Cincinnati Composers' Forum (2002) 

    • BAB with Tildy Bayar, Princeton University Composers' Forum (2002)

    • BAB with Mary Lee A. Roberts, UC San Diego Critical Studies and Experimental Practices Forum (2004)

    • Jean-Charles François, French version, online at Paalabres (2019)

    • Doroto Czerner, solo version, recorded 2021 for Open Space

 

2002

  • AINU 1 and AINU 2
    For piano, for George Quasha at 60 (2002)

2004

  • Poppies

    • Video by Russell Craig Richardson with Dorota Czerner reading her text; sound by BAB derived from (“…my chart shines high where the blue milk's upset…”) performed by Sarah Rothenberg

    • Projected at PAFME (Polish American Festival of Electronic Music), Krakow Conservatory of Music, December 2006

    • Released  on OSDVD 1
       

  • Postlude, With Jim Randall in Mind
    For string quartet

2005

  • Downtime
    For solo piano and (electronic) percussion ensemble

    • Score

    • Electronic performance in Music Around Benjamin Boretz at 70 (Perspectives of New Music, includes Open Space OSCD 20)

    • Piotr Grodetzky, piano; Marek Cholonewski, board (PAFME Festival, Krakow Conservatory). Video recording from concert, 2008

    • Michael Fowler, piano. Sydney, Australia Opera House Electronics concert, 2009

    • Ian Pace, piano; Russell Craig Richardson, video; Eric Lyon, board. BAB concert, Queens University Belfast, May 2012

    • Ian Pace, piano; Newton Armstrong, board and audio engineer. London, UK, 2013. Released on OSCD 31 and Open Space DVD1 with video by Russell Craig Richardson

    • Ian Pace, piano; Newton Armstrong, board. Concert at London City College, 2013

2009

 

2011

  • St. Andrews Night
    Poem by Dorota Czerner with electronic sound by BAB

    • Dorota Czerner, voice; BAB, electronic sound. Recorded on OSCD 29
       

  • Fireflies
    Poem by Dorota Czerner with electronic sound by BAB

    • Dorota Czerner, voice; BAB, electronic sound. Recorded on OSCD 29
       

  • The Memory of All That
    A Holy Sonnet of John Donne for Mezzo-soprano and Piano in Memory of Milton Babbitt (2011)

    • Score

    • Eastman students at colloquium, Eastman School of Music, 2012

    • Megan Berti, mezzo-soprano; Zuzanna Szevzyk, piano; Paul Coleman, engineer. Eastman School of Music 2012; on OSCD 31; also on Perspectives of New Music/Open Space CD album Milton Babbitt: A Composers' Memorial, 2012

    • Sascia Pellegrini, vibraphone with MIDI piano, 2017, released on OSCD 35
       

2012

2013/14

 

2015

 

2017

 

2018

2020-22

  • A viola piece for Elaine Barkin (unfinished)

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