Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Max Neuhaus - Fontana Mix-Feed (Alga Marghen, 2003)

Of the six interpretations of Cage's Fontana Mix featured here, four came from an LP issued by Mass Art, another from Neuhaus' Electronics & Percussion, and the last previously unreleased. Fontana Mix is an indeterminate score, the structure of which is determined by the performer who superimposes several sheets and transparencies with a grid. On its own, the piece is intended for tape, although it may be used in conjunction with other Cage scores for instruments and voice.

For Neuhaus' approach to the piece, which he subtitled Feed, he attached four contact mics to the skins of two timpani and routed those mic signals to a pair loudspeakers, each aimed at the timpani. The mics and thus the ensuing feedback loop were controlled by a mixer, with the volume levels determined through the Fontana Mix score. This relatively simple configuration allowed for a complex variety of outcomes, as the oscillations that occur are influenced by the room itself, the drums used, the size and location of the loudspeakers, as well as the other objects in the room and even the climate. The date and location of each performance follows:

1 Solo Recital, Mandell Hall, University Of Chicago, April 13, 1965
2 Solo Recital, New School For Social Research Auditorium, New York City, June 4, 1965
3 Solo Recital, Festival ZAJ1, Madrid, November 27, 1965
4 Solo Recital, Carnagie Recital Hall, New York December 1, 1966
5 Columbia Records Studios, New York City, 1968
6 West Deutsche Rundfunk Studios, Cologne, 1965

Fontana Mix-Feed

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