Charlie Morrow

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Charlie Morrow (USA, 1942), active on the New York scene since the 1960s, when he played trumpet for James Tenney and others, co-directed the New Wilderness Foundation with Jerome Rothenberg, that published EAR Magazine of New Music and sponsored a series of "wilderness audiographics" cassettes for meditation and spiritual healing. The Birth of the War God (1973) was his first recorded work. In 1974 he formed the New Wilderness Preservation Band with Joan LaBarbara, Carol Weber, a bassist and a percussionist that performed a Concert for Fish (1974). He also formed an ocarina orchestra. He scored the soundtrack for the films Moonwalk One (1969) and Beyond Day and Night (1987).

The three-disc retrospective Toot (Experimental Intermedia, 2011) contains: the 26-minute Very Slow Gabrieli (1957), a minimalist variation on Gabrieli's Sonata Pian e Forte for double brass ensemble, the 17-minute "sound portrait" Marilyn Monroe Collage (1967), that glues together recordings of her voice and contemporary music, Breath Chant (1971), an early experiment in extended vocal (or, better, breathing) techniques, Late Afternoon Chant (1971), an intensely personal polyphonic chant inspired by Tibetan music, the 19-minute Wave Music for 40 Cellos (1977), a dense, layered and chaotic field of rugged chords, the audio documentary Toot 'n' Blink Chicago (1982), perhaps his most accomplished venture into collage, the 19-minute Wave Music for 30 Harps (1984), a much better implementation of his concept of "wave music" (music that behaves like a fluid in that all molecules are connected with each other), possibly his most powerful composition, and certainly one of the most ambiguous, haunting and shifting, the 53-minute Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves (1992) for chamber ensemble, voices and natural sounds, that begins with percussion evoking the bells of ancient churches and, after a delirious trumpet solo, incorporates a monastery choir and medieval chamber music (not to mention insects and birds), the eleven-minute dissonant chamber concerto Feather (2001) for orchestral instruments and found objects, and much more.

In 2003 he introduced his own Sound Cube to perform his works. Morrow's installation Land Sea Air (2010) is inspired by the history of climate on Earth.

His "wave music" is more fully documented on Toot Too (2017), that contains Wave Music II for 100 Musicians With lights and Native American Singer (1978), Wave Music III for 60 Clarinets and a Boat Horn (1979), Wave Music IV for Drum and Bugle Corps (1980), Wave Music V for Conch Chorus and Bagpipes (1981), and Wave Music X for Trumpets (2014).

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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