tue 04/08/2020

theartsdesk Q&A: Composer George Crumb | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Composer George Crumb

theartsdesk Q&A: Composer George Crumb

Avant-gardist American talks about his love for Bartok, Bach and the violated piano

George Crumb: 'a lot of music that pretends to be uncompromising is really avoiding the central plank of trying to communicate to another human being'
George Crumb (b.1929) is one of the great American experimental composers of the 20th century. His delicate scores are characterised by a child-like sense of wonder and an array of instrumentation that appears to have hitched a ride from outer space. Crumb first came to the fore in the 1960s with Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death (1968), Night of the Four Moons (1969), inspired by and composed during the Apollo 11 space flight, the savage string quartet Black Angels (1970) and Ancient Voices of Children (1970). In 1968 he won a Pulitzer for Echoes of Time and the River (1967). On the eve of a BBC Symphony Orchestra survey of his life and work at the Barbican of his life and work on 5 December, George Crumb lets us in on the secrets of his musical world.
In the early days there was a lot of resistance to me on the part of piano tuners. They thought you were out to destroy the instrument

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Interesting interview. It's funny how the starting point for any mention of Babbitt is often an article he wrote rather than the actual sound of the music. A listen to a piece like 'Allegro Penseroso' for solo piano might suggest that he cares very much whether people listen or not! it's a bright, zany soundworld and very likeable indeed.

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