The Royal Society accepted James Cook to convey the scientific staff of the expedition to observe the transit of Venus due to occur on 3rd June 1769. Cook left England on Aug. 12, 1768 and, after the momentous discovery of New South Wales, arrived at Otaheite [i.e. Tahiti] on April 13, 1769. (via slnswmaps)
DENNIS JOHNSON- NOVEMBER (as performed by R. Andrew Lee) NOVEMBER (IRRITABLE HEDGEHOG, 2013)
Pictured above is the score (as transcribed by Kyle Gann) for the first four minutes of Dennis Johnson’s November, which received its New York premiere last weekend at Issue Project Room courtesy of pianist R. Andrew Lee—only 54 years after its composition. From what I understand, those first four minutes were the starting point for a performance that ultimately lasted roughly five hours; its inaugural recording (also done by Lee and just released on the Irritable Hedgehog label) clocks in just shy of that length.
As someone who is just starting to explore the origins of minimalism, I find the existence of this piece to be really fascinating in how it helps (re)construct the history of this strain of music. The line that has been trotted out about November is that it inspired La Monte Young to compose The Well-Tuned Piano, his own lengthy solo piano piece that originated in 1964 and has gone through various iterations (and tunings) since then. The impact of Young’s piece was tremendous, and it’s tempting to view November mostly as a precursor or influence as opposed to experiencing it on its own terms. Listening to Lee perform November now, with its accumulation of motifs, chords, and colors, the music is divorced from time and context. Melancholy but resilient, this is music to inhabit (or invite to inhabit you). Perhaps a little more austere than the Michael Nyman piece I posted last week but occupying a similar space…