concert program notes from the mic gendreau collection copyright 1405w


20TH CENTURY FORUM at Footwork. Saturday, June 27, 1992. 8:00 pm.

20th Century Forum is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to promoting contemporary music in the Bay Area. The FORUM works to foster an understanding and appreciation of new music through concert production, interactive workshops, public lectures and special projects and events. Board of Directors: Greg Stephens, President, Diana Keener, Secretary, Judy (JJ) Hollingsworth, Treasurer, Steed Cowart, Dan Misunas, Jan Wadsworth. If you would like to support 20th Century Forum by making a tax-deductible contribution, or if you are interested in getting more information about our programs or score score commission guidelines, please don't hesitate to contact us at the number below. 20 Century Forum: PO Box 194651. San Francisco CA 94119. (415) 255-8225.


Moving in to an Empty Space (1992) William Susman. 1. Hot Time. 2. Begging the Night for Change 3. Moving in to an Empty Space. Sarah Ganz, soprano; Karen Wells, clarinet; Carrie Weick, horn; Renee Wilton, piano.

Im Ping Ment (1992). Michael Gendreau. Michael Gendreau, piano harp, motors; Karen Wells, clarinet.


Blues For My Father (1984) Molly Axtmann Schrag. Karen Wells, clarinet; Renee Wilton, piano.

Three Songs (1987-92) Maggie Martin Song 1 - haiku, Song 2 - Los Enamorados Ciegos, Song 3 - Out Of Proportion. Maggie Martin, vocals; Diana Keener, vocals; Greg Stephens, trombone; Gary Wium, percussive juggling.

Produced by 20th Century FORUM. Directed by Greg Stephens, House Manager: Rebecca Lowe, Lighting & Sound: Brian Fergus.

Program Notes.

William Susman: William Susman was born in 1960 in Chicago. He studied composition at the University of Illinois and at Stanford University. His principal teachers were Herbert Brun, Ben Johnston and Salvatore Martirano. At Stanford he studied with John Chowning and Leland Smith at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. He has also worked at IRCAM in Paris. Mr. Susman has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, string quartet, and numerous film and video projects. His music, performed frequently in the United States and Europe, has earned him awards and commissions from ASCAP, BMI, the From Music Festival, KUCYNA International Composers of Competition, Percussive Arts Society and others.

Moving in to an Empty Space is a musical setting of three poems by Sue Susman. In the setting of "Hot Time" I was interested in creating an atmosphere of intense interaction among people. The shifting point-of-view in the poem represents the passing of time in the evening, and these shifts are reflected in changing harmony and rhythm.

"In Begging the Night for Change", I have interpreted the woman as homeless people and the narrator as society. The instrumentalists play the role of the woman moving along at a slow and lugubrious pace as the vocalist, society, reacts to her presence. The setting ends on an unresolved chord as the poem and the ensemble fade away.

"The setting of the third poem, 'Moving in to an Empty Space', opens with soft repeated chords that continuously vary in rhythm and texture throughout the piece. The work closes with a sudden shift to fast, rhythmically charged music evoking the narrator's discovery 'that I have always been here." -W.S.

Michael Gendreau: "When I am externally influenced for my compositions, it is more often than not by extramusical ideas. Many recent inspirations have come through my educational background in physics. This month (the same month in which Im Ping Ment was composed) however, I spent most of my spare time contemplating the spectacle and its situationist antimatter.

Im Ping Ment (19__: The State of ***Music as Outlined by ***) In Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Jacques Attali gives an example of a speech by ***to support the idea that '(Totalitarians) have all explained, indistinctly, that it is necessary to ban subversive noise because it betokens demands for cultural autonomy, support for differences or marginality...' Tracts like the following are' translations of the political importance of cultural repression and noise control' . "And indeed, we are faced with a very acute, although outwardly concealed struggle between two trends in ***music. One trend represents the healthy, progressive principal in ***music, based upon recognition of the tremendous role of the classical heritage, and, in particular, the traditions of the ***musical school, upon the combination of lofty idea content in music, its truthfulness and realism, with profound, organic ties with *** and their music and songs - all this combined with a high degree of professional mastery. The other trend is that of a formalism alien to ***; it is marked by rejection of the classical heritage under the cover of apparent novelty, by rejection of ***music, by rejection of service to the ***, all for the sake of catering to the highly individualistic emotions of a small group of aesthetes...Two extremely important tasks now face ***composers. The chief task is to develop and perfect ***music. The second is to protect***music from the infiltration of elements of ***decadence. Let us not forget the the ***is now the guardian of universal music culture, just as in all other respects it is the mainstay of human civilization and culture against *** decadence and decomposition of culture..."

***I have deleted common names and ideological symbols because the same things can and have been said by totalitarians of different name and program. "Im Ping Ment might contain this duality - both parts! But there is certainly not a battle between clarinet and piano harp/motors. They work together to exclaim both states, to make the comparison. The use of "classical" material is premonitory proposition detournement (in two ways: 1. by using tonal material at all in the present context, and 2. by hitting pitches of unexpected [unfamiliar] tuning in the apparently tonal passages). Elements of both sides of the struggle, tied and shifting, are favored and disfavored." -M.G.

Molly Axtmann Schrag. composer, and pianist, began writing down her songs at age six. Her compositions have been performed in New York City and the Bay Area since 1972. She has served on the faculties of Mannes College of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory and the Community Music Center of San Francisco. Molly writes original lyrics for most of her songs, and has just completed the libretto for her opera, "Beauty". Molly has written for all varieties of chamber ensemble and full orchestra. She graduated with honors in music from Barnard College Columbia University and holds a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children, where she teaches composition and piano privately. The poem "Blues for my Father" (see insert) is meant to accompany the music, although it is not used as text. -M.S.

Maggie Martin, a life-long vocalist and Pantheist, has for the past four years worked as writer/performer/director with Mixed Company, a multimedia performance group based in Sonoma County. She has a fascination with Grand Themes and Accordions, enjoys creating art and music with whatever is available, and is currently involved in film making. Ms. Martin is a female Caucasian, 5'7", ~145 lbs with blond hair, brown eyes and a valid California Drivers License. Three Songs: "The pieces speak for themselves. They are what they are." -M.M.

Texts: "Moving in to an Empty Space" by William Susman, from three poems by Sue Susman. copyright by Sue Susman, 1984.

1. HOT TIME Hot time this summer in the city in the artificial light of the street. At night people scurry and run together in packs. Too many rats in a cage. Running towards something in the distance, in the dark' something hidden from sight, something they cannot name. They come here to hunt and groan in hot dark rooms filled with sweating, hungry bodies, dancing with fever into the morning. And as the music blasts into flashing strobe-lights, the walls begin to swell and breathe. There are bodies on the street tonight, each with its own hidden secret. You can choose one to take home with you. You can go on alone. You can help yourself. Steal into the night. No one can find you. You become invisible in the dark, invisible to others who may want to hurt you; invisible even to yourself.

2. BEGGING THE NIGHT FOR CHANGE She approached me in the supermarket's parking lot a tired-looking woman with a worn-out face asking if I had any change.