November 19, 2013
November 8, 2013
November 20, 2011
Its been a long, long time since I used what used to be “amaranth arthouse” as a vehicle to share outstanding works of my fellow musicians. I have since re-arranged the site, but decided keeping the “shout-out” section made perfect sense. In that regard, let me lead you to a work which I believe is worth your time to allow stereo infiltration to your brain through your ears.
This week at the event, ImprovFriday, we decided to add links to artist websites via contributors to our playlist and surfing through the links I came upon http://stevemoshier.com//. And all this time I thought I was the only one to create a set of Bagatelles for piano in my circle of new music friends. Steve Moshier’s “Unchained Melody – 8 Bagatelles for Piano” are not only outstanding, they represent minimalist compositional prowess. What I hear on a personal level is something akin to Julius Eastman with a touch of more complexity.
Have a listen for yourself:
Unchained Melody – 8 Bagatelles for Piano (1999) [1st Four] by Steve Moshier
August 17, 2008
Its Saturday night and I’m dying of heat. I was planning to compose a 20 minute-plus work dedicated to Mars Webbens this weekend and ended up composing IMO the most mainstream work yet to date: An Incidental Lucid Moment (although I kind of dig it).
Anyway, I want to give a nice and loud shout out to David Toub who this weekend gave me a lesson on serial composition. I want to make it clear, he is not a professor (as you undoubtedly know), he is a composer who has no problem passing on knowledge. I have written about David Toub before and here I am again. Yet, this won’t be the last time either. Every composer I write about is someone who deserves a serious listen. Toub is a “downtown” composer, a postminimalist specialist. The greatest thing about Toub is that once you start exploring his works, you realize there are literally hours more to delve into. Happy listening!
Postminimalist composer, David Toub, took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us a little about his start up in to composition and what we can look forward to from him in the future. I think people generally look over the detail, “when did you start composing and what triggered it.” I would suspect that is because a good number of composers are straight out of a college of the arts and it streamed from childhood. Directed. I personally find it more interesting when someone has “a calling” without any direction. The individual working/studying, etc., to succeed in a competitive society, yet pulled into the arts, towed in by a force, that being a creative outlet in the mind, a predefined set course maybe or simply a natural talent discovered and utilized to its fullest. Be sure to visit the links and check out his works.
Combs: How old were you when you started composing?
Toub: I can’t remember the age, but I know I started writing something by the seventh grade. It was pretty bad, and I knew nothing about theory, not even how to write proper notes (backward noteheads, etc.). I got more involved during ninth grade.
Combs: What attracted you to minimalism?
Toub: Initially, I had zero interest. I had heard some early Reich (Come Out, Four Organs, Drumming, etc.) and thought it was weird and unlistenable. I was writing freetonal and 12-tone music at the time. However, I remained intrigued. In 12th grade (1978-1979), I heard the radio premiere of Einstein on the Beach and was hooked. But it was about two years before I actually wrote a postminimalist piece. I wanted to make sure I was writing in my own voice rather than plagiarizing.
Combs: You practiced medicine for many years. How in the hell did you compose hour long works while attending medical school?
Toub: That was tricky. I made the time during off-hours. I also would copy my scores by hand during down time between surgical cases as a fellow. The biggest challenge was finding a piano. I made use of a lot of practice rooms under less than optimal circumstances. In the early 90’s, my wife got me a synthesizer that I still use, and that was invaluable.
Combs: Who is your favorite composer?
Toub: Too many to count, but certainly Feldman, Scelsi, Riley, Shostakovich and Reich are up there.
Combs: What project is on deck for David Toub?
Toub: I am currently almost done digitizing my first postminimal work from 1981. It’s around 2 hours for piano. The percussionist Bill Solomon has asked me for a piece, and I will write it eventually. I just took a great position with a medical device startup in Silicon Valley, so I spend a lot of time flying to work from Pennsylvania. But I have a MIDI keyboard controller in my office in California, so I’m managing to get something done after the workday.
March 20, 2008
A boring Sunday, really not so much different than any other Sunday. March 16, 2008, I went for a drive to run some miscellaneous errands. My wife informed me that we were in some need of household items which could be purchased at the nearest store. So heading to the store on this boring Sunday, I am ever increasingly slipping slowly, steadily, into a trance state while driving. I am sure it was not unsafe, and I believe there is a name for it. Highway hypnosis. The condition where you arrive at your destination while not recalling much of the way there. I remember arriving at the store that boring Sunday and noticing the parking lot was quite full. This pulled me out of my trance to an irritating degree. Not finding one parking spot, my wife decided to run in and get the couple of items and I would simply drive around the parking lot until she made her way back outside. So I started driving steadily, cautiously through the parking lot which went in a round about. The first loop I was concerned with looking out for other cars, but I have to say by the time I made it to my second lap I was really feeling the track, memorizing all the angles. By the time I hit the third lap I was steering around vehicles and halting with expert dexterity for crossing traffic through the parking lot, the track. I can’t remember what lap I was on when my cell phone rang and woke me up from my hypnotic state. It was my wife wondering why I kept driving past her, waiting outside the front of the store.
March 4, 2008
The sixth in this series of piano works is a minimalesque piece with hypnotic properties and a steady percussive nature. You may find it here: myspace