The composer who curved time
An outstanding American composer died last Thursday at the age of 69. A pioneer, an innovator, an inspiring teacher, he also wrote over 200 works in genres as ancient as a cappella choral, and as modern as something called "The iPod Opera 2.0." Well-known to new music insiders, greatly admired by his friends and colleagues (a particularly moving tribute here), he remained unknown to the broad swath of classical listeners, including, I have to admit, those who count of WFCR to learn about such artists. But listen to his works, and you may conclude that they're some of the most beautiful and compelling new things you've heard in some time.
And starting during Monday's noon hour, we'll give you several chances to enjoy the exquisite music of the late William Duckworth, as we begin a series of broadcasts of his best-known works, the "Time Curve Preludes" (free audio stream here). A collection of 24 piano pieces composed in 1977-78, inspired no doubt by the two-dozen preludes of Bach, Chopin, Debussy and Shostakovich, these intricate, highly experimental manipulations of melodies, scales, piano sonority and yes, time, (read the description on the streaming site to get an idea of their complexity) are credited with being the first "post-minimal" music. For all its intricacy and influence, however, what draws me into this music is its utter naturalness. Like all great music, the Time Curve Preludes will change the way you hear, and once heard, become a permanent part of the musical landscape. Please tune in and get to know, even if belatedly, a major voice in contemporary music. Mr. Duckworth will be missed, but I'm pretty confident that his music will outlive him.