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The AR Contemporary Music Project


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"The Acoustic Research Contemporary Music Project

Acoustic Research, Inc., provided a group of composers with the funds and technical support necessary to produce broadcasts and recordings of music composed by their colleagues and themselves. The series, made available to the public in 1970, consisted of fourteen radio broadcasts and six recordings. The aim of the project was to provide composers with direct access to as large an audience as modern tech-nology could offer, and to give listeners an opportunity to hear con-temporary music, chosen by composers on the basis of musical criteria alone.

Advisers on the project were Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Aaron Cop-land, Gunther Schuller, and Roger Sessions; the program committee consisted of David Epstein, Earl Kim, Donald Martino, and Seymour Shifrin. David Epstein was director of the project; Leo Treitler was in charge of production and annotation; technical supervision was pro-vided by Roy F. Allison and Robert Berkovitz.

©1987 Recorded Anthology of American Music, Inc. All rights re-served."

From the Time magazine:

"Records: Summer's Choice

Monday, Aug. 30, 1971 By WILLIAM BENDER

Acoustic Research Contemporary Music Project (Deutsche Grammophon, 6 LPs; $2 each). The makers of AR loudspeakers and other audio equipment are offering records devoted to 16 American composers largely ignored so far by the record-industry majors. Espe-cially worthwhile are Milton Babbitt's Philomel, for soprano (Bethany Beardslee) and synthesized sound, and an airily atonalistic set of madrigals by Pulitzer Prizewinner George Crumb. The records are available by mail from AR, Inc., 24 Thorndike St., Cambridge, Mass.02141."

Very interesting and well recorded music, but not exactly easy listening. In the reprint above, the AR 3 record is incorrectly numbered as DGG: 0654 086 SD, it should be DGG: 0654 085 SD

BRgds Klaus

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I couldn't agree more; it took me quite a while to find a set of all six LPs. I'm not a big contemporary classical music fan, and some of it is pretty tough going, but much is (surprisingly) listenable.

But the most amazing thing about it is that AR clearly felt that this was a worthwhile promotional effort. Popular culture has devolved since then.

>I'm hard-pressed to think of any other companies that would

>do something like this:

>

>

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"But the most amazing thing about it is that AR clearly felt

that this was a worthwhile promotional effort. Popular

culture has devolved since then."

It's even worse - for so many, there's nothing to aspire to.

For the uninitiated, AR provided a window into a different realm of music - and by their official presentation of this material, removed a lot of potential barriers for those unfamiliar with art of this type.

By lending their implicit approval through these recordings, AR was constructing a bridge to something different, *and* providing a little corporate reassurance to those who otherwise might never make such a journey on their own.

The notion that there are better things than what the media overlords have chosen to present as popular "art" is largely lost - newspapers, TV, magazines, radio, etc., no longer feel a responsibilty to enlighten people or to improve their overall cultural experience, as they continue to feed off what passes for popular culture.

It's painful for the ones who know better, but a tragedy for those who don't, and may never.

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>

>The notion that there are better things than what the media

>overlords have chosen to present as popular "art" is

>largely lost - newspapers, TV, magazines, radio, etc., no

>longer feel a responsibilty to enlighten people or to improve

>their overall cultural experience, as they continue to feed

>off what passes for popular culture.

>

There has certainly been a massive dumbing down of popular culture since those days, which has gone hand in hand (and may well be correlated) with the rise of the "me" culture. I believe that companies like AR, KLH, Advent and others existed both to make a profit and to somehow improve the zeitgeist.

I lived in London with my wife and kids for 13 years. Not to make overly invidious comparisons, but I found the level of common knowledge of culture (music, art, literature) to be meaningfully higher in the UK than in the US. Perhaps it has always been such, but methinks the gap may be growing.

OK, off my soapbox now before I'm called a grumpy old man...

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I can't agree with you. "Popular culture" is just as intelligent now as it was in 1957 or 1917, if not more so. You should have heard the lectures my Dad used to give me about the "crap" I was listening to in 1967! Jazz was a bastard form, without meaningful structure or intellectual legacy. Rock was an unlistenable, decadent "fad," with primitive rhythms and mindless parallel harmonies. Oh, and the dancing....

Meanwhile, AR products, (and "hifi" in general), were/are far off the social and economic radar screen of the average American. Thus, AR promoted to its educated, middle-class, Brooklyn-to-Boston customer base. Geeze, Babbit and his ilk may have been mildly radical in 1955, but he was teaching at Julliard by 1970, I am sure.

I think the music scene is generally very vital these days, and kids are exposed to a wide variety. And the UFC is one small step above the Colloseum....

-k

www.kenkantor.com

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>I can't agree with you. "Popular culture" is just

>as intelligent now as it was in 1957 or 1917, if not more so.

Ha, ha, hahahahahahaha!

>You should have heard the lectures my Dad used to give me

>about the "crap" I was listening to in 1967! Jazz

>was a bastard form, without meaningful structure or

>intellectual legacy. Rock was an unlistenable, decadent

>"fad," with primitive rhythms and mindless parallel

>harmonies. Oh, and the dancing....

Says more about your father than the point pbda was making.

>Meanwhile, AR products, (and "hifi" in general),

>were/are far off the social and economic radar screen of the

>average American. Thus, AR promoted to its educated,

>middle-class, Brooklyn-to-Boston customer base. Geeze, Babbit

>and his ilk may have been mildly radical in 1955, but he was

>teaching at Julliard by 1970, I am sure.

Babbitt never was, and still isn't, mainstream. Compared to 99.9% of music with which the average American is familiar, his stuff is extremely "radical". And teaching at Julliard is no disqualification. The AR CMP was a beneficent endeavor, unlikely to be duplicated by anyone today.

>I think the music scene is generally very vital these days,

>and kids are exposed to a wide variety. And the UFC is one

>small step above the Colloseum....

Thanks for your "thoughts" - especially for the one about Ultimate Fighting, which successfully negates your first statement regarding "Popular Culture".

Hint: Unsupported, stream-of-consciousness-opinion is not a substitute for reasoned thought. And run spell-check, willya?

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>Ha, ha, hahahahahahaha!

>

>Hint: Unsupported, stream-of-consciousness-opinion is not a

>substitute for reasoned thought. And run spell-check, willya?

Ha, ha, hahahahahahaha!

>Says more about your father than the point pbda was making.

Oh, I think it speaks to both subjects. My dad sounded just like hifi people today, who put down rap music as unmusical and primitive. Or the intellectuals who scoffed at American jazz in the 1920's. Music was better in the past, and art had meaning, and people didn't do drugs, and kids respected their elders, poetry actually rhymed. It's the same, tired reactionary story. Yawn.

>>Babbitt never was, and still isn't, mainstream. Compared to

>99.9% of music with which the average American is familiar,

>his stuff is extremely "radical". And teaching at

>Julliard is no disqualification. The AR CMP was a beneficent

>endeavor, unlikely to be duplicated by anyone today.

I thought the CMP was great! I'm all for it. But many companies, particularly in the "heyday" of hifi, supported artists. Corporate donations have built many music venues, paid for many scholarships and grants. They still do.

>Thanks for your "thoughts"

You are welcome. I think a lot about this stuff, so it is nice to share the thoughts with an appreciative audience. However, you don't seem to know much about the history of brutal sports.

Hint: Spell-checkers are for resume-writers, idiots and anal-retentives. I am none of these, at the moment. Leet must drive you crzy dooD. Adapt or perish.

-k

www.kenkantor.com

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>>Hint: Spell-checkers are for resume-writers, idiots and

>>anal-retentives. I am none of these, at the moment.

>Leet

>>must drive you crzy dooD. Adapt or perish.

>

>

>/-//, /-//...|=(_)[ |< `/()(_), |<[-// !

A bit hostile, aren't we! Do you miss the old world? Maybe you need to go see some gladiators, or something.

-k

www.kenkantor.com

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