Friday, June 2, 2017

For Musical Masochists...

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was born on June 2, 1740.  In honor of his birthday, I present you with the two most painful pieces of music I have ever heard:

There are many, many recordings of Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood, and I could have tortured you for hours with all of them.  They do sound pretty similar, though, leaving you with the question, is the ringing in your ears meant to be part of the music? What makes this video particularly excruciating is eliminating the human element, just seeing the pure geometry of the passing notes.

John Cage's Fontana Mix is quite a different beast.  He did not notate it in a traditional manner, so different performers can have radically different realizations.  What makes Max Neuhaus's interpretation so ear curdling is that his primary "instrument" was a speaker and microphone, which he manipulated the feedback between.

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