Son[i]a #226 Alvin Lucier
- 00:01 Not just listening
- 00:46 Revealing implicit sounds
- 02:53 Let it happen: on "Music for Piano and Magnetic Strings"
- 07:18 Transparency of sounds
- 08:35 The question of space
- 10:48 Music that happens in a loudspeaker
- 13:16 Letting the players play
- 14:59 "I'm Sittting in a Room"... live: something wonderful about real time
- 17:30 "All I wanted to do is to tell people what I was doing"
A key figure in post-Cage experimental music, Alvin Lucier (1931-2021), is one of a kind, a composer who, as James Tenney says, makes his fellow musicians find themselves “having to revise our basic (and often unconscious) assumptions – our self-evident axioms about music.” Driven by a curiosity to understand “how things work” (an innocent and unprejudiced curiosity that Tenney compares to that of a child), Lucier always seems ready to disappear within sound.
It is as if his fascination with the sound phenomenon leads him to avoid interfering in its manifestation. His work is thus by no means based on self-expression or on compositional interventions. Instead, he allows sounds to “be themselves” without pushing or directing them in any way.
In this podcast, Alvin Lucier talks about the need to listen carefully, the composers that have accompanied and influenced him over the years, and the role of space and technology in his work, among many other things. Near the end, he also explains some interesting facts about “I am Sitting in a Room”, one if his best known and most enigmatic works.
Music references: "Music on a Long Thin Wire 1", 1977