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Options March 5, 2012: Other Minds: Radio Visions - The New Consonance, 1981


Starting in 1969, Charles Amirkhanian was the first radio producer to broadcast substantial quantities of music by first generation minimalist composers. His early interviews with Steve Reich, John Adams, Paul Dresher, Laurie Anderson, Lou Harrison, and others form the basis of this fascinating exigesis of the sea change in contemporary music brought on by the use of consonant harmonies, steady pulse, and hypnotic repetition.

But what was the historical artistic context that provoked this reaction, and what was the public's level of acceptance these new one-note geniuses? That question and others are explored in this detailed and fascinating look at modern music and the changing nature of the avant-garde over the period 1900 to 1980. Some of the breathtaking claims, like Lou Harrison's assertion that the music of Brahms, composed as it is in equal temperament, "is dreadfully out of tune," caused a scandal at the time and led series host Gunther Schuller to disavow the entire thrust of the program's narrative thread. But from beginning to end, this is definitive 60-minute statement about the West Coast sound in maverick music challenges and informs with rare insight and will keep you glued to your loudspeakers.
Engineer: Lawrence Rock, WFMT Chicago. Host and writer: Charles Amirkhanian


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Other Minds: Radio Visions  The New Consonance. 1981   Options  

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