School of Music live performance of Brian Eno's LP Music for Airports
- Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 7:30pm to 9:00pm
- Howard Hall, Reynolds Recital Hall and Howard Hall lobby - view map
Montana State University School of Music faculty and select students will present a rarely performed live version of British art rocker Brian Eno’s landmark LP, Music for Airports.
Music for Airports (1978) was Eno’s first LP in the genre he coined “ambient music”. Ambient music is composed in ways to blend with the atmosphere of a given space rather than to overtake it. Eno refers to ambient music as “music you can swim in”. The music, he says, should be as interesting as it is ignorable. In other words, this is music that can command attention or not as the listener may desire. The album was produced and composed at the same time that Muzak was converting commercial spaces in the US to a nearly universal bland, yet peppy atmosphere. While Muzak was designed to change the ambience of commercial spaces, Eno’s ambient music was specifically designed not to overtake atmospheres of places but to co-operate with the existing ambience of various spaces in interesting, compelling, yet subtle ways. The music is stripped to bare bones with regard to harmony, melody and rhythm. It is atmospheric rather than dramatic or directional. The harmonies unfold, rather than progress. Melodies are just hints of fragmented lines which come to the foreground and recede again in tones, rather than lines. The music flows in time and was not conceived in terms of meter or pulse. The emphasis is placed on the sounds themselves.
The 1998 live version of the piece is a faithful as well as creative adaptation of the work arranged by Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon, Pulitzer Prize winners David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, as well as Evan Ziporyn. Each composer independently arranged a section of the nearly hour-long work. All of the instrument groups of a symphony are used as are electric guitar, synthesizer, alto chorus as well as a great deal of colorful percussion. Sensitive, sensual, unique timbral combinations are found throughout. The second part, for example, features the sounds of brake drums played with a bass bow, a chorus of alto voices, synthesizer, electric guitar played with an electric bow, and solo clarinet.
The music will be presented as a concert as well as an ambient music experience. The audience is invited to enjoy the concert in Reynolds Recital Hall, or to experience the music in Howard Hall’s other spaces for an ambient experience-- choosing to listen while engaging in a quiet activity, such as reading, drawing, studying or meditating. The unpublished live version can only be performed with permission. MSU was generously afforded the live version by composer Evan Ziporyn at the request of MSU Associate Professor of Piano Laurel Yost. In addition to Yost, the core ensemble is made up of SOM faculty Greg Young (clarinet), Michael Videon (electric guitar), Julia Cory-Slovarp (‘cello), Stephen Versaeval (percussion) and MSU music technology alum, Scott Stebbins (bass). They will be joined in the performance by Sue Makeever, Jeannie Little, Sarah Stoneback, Mary Kothman as well as several outstanding student musicians from the SOM. The School of Music’s performance of Music for Airports will be on Saturday, November 4th at 7:30 P.M., in Reynolds Recital Hall in Howard Hall.
Tickets are 5$ Students/10$ Adults. Tickets will be available at the door and at TicketPeak.com through the MSU School of Music website.