One of the most innovative composers of the post-war period, Robert Ashley (1930—2014) scored his piece The Entrance (for Larry Leitch) in 1966. Designed for two ‘players’ to perform the work on a two-manual organ, this evening recital will be performed by typographer Will Holder and artist Anna McLauchlan.
Of the work Robert Ashley said: “The work of producing the sounds of The Entrance takes about three hours — if the performer is extremely dexterous, if the performance has been extensively rehearsed, and the performance goes perfectly. This is highly unlikely. (I say three hours because I realized finally after many tries that I could never perform the piece. So in order to hear what the piece might sound like I had to resort to the piles of coins being taped together — I cheated — and it took three hours.) The problem, of course, is that with so many piles of coins on the keyboards the likelihood is that one or more (or a lot) of piles might fall over and require of the performer that the situation, as it was, be reconstructed — no easy job in itself and increasing the possibility of more catastrophes. I came to the conclusion that the piece could never be performed by any human being I knew, and that led me to write, five years later, the ideas about ‘What form should that work take?’” (2006)
This event was organised by Collective and LUX Scotland, as part of Rhyme or Reason, a five-day, intensive study programme that investigated the role of notation, improvisation and score across the visual arts and other disciplines including music, writing and geography.
A distinguished figure in American contemporary music, Robert Ashley (1930-2014) holds an international reputation for his work in new forms of opera and multi-disciplinary projects. A pioneer of opera-for-television, his recorded works are acknowledged classics of language in a musical setting.
Typographer Will Holder organises writing around cultural objects. He sees conversation as model and tool for a mutual and improvised set of publishing conditions whereby the usual roles of commissioner, author, subject, editor, printer and typographer are improvised and shared, as opposed to assigned and pre-determined. Holder is editor of F.R.DAVID, a journal concerned with reading and writing in the arts (published by de Appel, Amsterdam, since 2007). In May 2009 he co- curated TalkShow (with Richard Birkett) at the ICA, London. Together with Alex Waterman, he edited Yes, But Is It Edible?, the music of Robert Ashley, for two or more voices (New Documents, 2014). Holder is currently developing a protocol and interface for a collectively compiled catalogue of the Bob Cobbing archive.
Anna McLauchlan studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, served on the committee of Glasgow’s Transmission Gallery and has subsequently trained in environmental studies and hatha yoga. Anna is a Teaching Associate in Geography at the University of Strathclyde, a hatha yoga teacher, and part of the artist-run group The Strickland Distribution.
This is an archived programme entry.