part 4 of my response to the BBC's minimalism series, or as it's coverage in said series has been niftily described in Jennifer Allen's article for The Quietus 'menimilism'.  In this post I am venturing beyond the most obvious linked work, partly including some pieces that I remembered whilst searching for suitable clips by other artists and some that again, in my opinion, show how much more interesting and expansive some composers and artists not featured in the BBC series were. I've also included some examples of the developments in jazz and art-music that were part of the sound-world the minimalist composers existed in.






(there is no doubt that jazz had a significant influence on the early 'minimalist' composers and of course at that time it was another form where male musicians got top billing, however it is my opinion that with a close listen to Mary Lou Williams, especially this relatively famous piece from 1945, one can hear a particular use of forceful emphasis on key chord progressions and driving notes that have similarities to later developments by the minimalists. 'Zodiac Suite' was broadcast on US national radio several times in the 40's and 50's and released on Folkways in 1945, meaning it was placed in most libraries, including those in universities)



(this is the 1970 re-staging of the Tridiac Ballet", reconstructed by Margarete Hastings. There were a number of stagings of sections of this pivotal Bauhaus piece in the US in the 50's and early 60's and although it has not been referred to in the history of minimalism thus far most of those involved had an interest in Bauhaus and various threads of early minimalist visual art)


(moondog has been acknowledged by several male minimalist composers as an influence however as this album shows he also had a problematic attitude towards recognising the women he worked with. It is hard to find detailed information, for example, on who the 'friends' are on this 1953 album but we do know that his 'wife' is featured on one track at least and that a number of his musical collaborators of the time were female classical and jazz musicians as well as dancers and poets)



(John Coltrane was considered an influence on minimalism in the later part of the 1960's, however it was really Alice that led his music into new directions, hence the inclusion here of the first album released with her as leader. Tracing her career and how she is referred to in the large number of books and articles on John Coltrane is a prime example not only of the misogyny of music history but also the sheer energy of musical progression she and many other female musicians and composers make whilst being overlooked in favour of their male counterparts)






(it's impossible to find any of Ruth's earlier records for dancers - simply repeated rhythms for dance practice - but it has been said that these instructional singles were often to be found in thrift stores and record bins and that the minimalist composers had based some early tape pieces on them)


(and of course the history of black female composers is a whole other issue. Perry for example is, probably, almost totally unknown except to those with a specific interest in this area and yet her work stands firmly alongside that of her more famous contemporaries. Perry wasn't by any means a minimalist but again I would argue that this piece is an illustration that minimalism was just one part of a continuum and its history is best viewed in that context)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog