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Michael Torke's Monday, Tuesday and Proverbs #1 are masterpieces of Post Minimalism for Chamber Ensemble. Post Minimalism is a term referencing the Visual Arts and Music which is blended in genre but asserting a newness beyond Minimalist trends of the 1970s.
This music is also personally significant as it immediately recalls my years age 4-5 in Eurhythmics classes at University of Southern California [Dance Expression/Movement for Children]. Explore the history of Eurhythmics or The Dalcroze Method of Early Childhood Music Education.
For me, understanding music has always been about...feeling the music and visualizing it. This sensibility I connect directly to The Dalcroze Method aka Eurythmics that established my early Childhood musical training.
Torke's sound world is immediately a modern mirroring of and reflection upon Stravinsky Neo Classicism as heard in Stravinsky's 1945 Symphony in 3 Movements, 1952 Concertino for Twelve Instruments, 1954 Septet and 1945 Ebony Concerto
Torke's music immediately evokes a call for a modern day Ballanchine to choreograph it as Ballachine choreographed Stravinsky's Orpheus, Agon, The Violin Concerto and Symphony in 3 Movements and other works.
Like Torke and Stravinsky and centuries before, Handel and JS Bach
modern composers have referenced and have been strongly influenced by stylistic innovations of their predecessors and peers * e.g. JS Bach: The Italian Concerto[Vivaldi], Handel Concerti Grossi[Corelli], Hindemith Ludus Tonalis[Well Tempered Clavier], Debussy and Scriabin Etudes[Chopin], Stravinsky: Pulchinella, Mass, Moumentum Pro Gesualdo, The Fairy's Kiss, Fireworks [Pergolesi,Palestrina,Gesualdo,Tchaikovsky,Rimsky Korsakov]
As well it can be said that 1952-55 Stravinsky Neo Classicism and Serial Period 1954-57 also mirror themselves with clear references to his earlier Neo Classicist and late Russian Period *
Listen below to Stravinsky's 1952 Concertino at 3:58-5:12 for his own mirroring back to L'Histoire Du Soldat of 1918.
Listen below to his 1954 Septet, First Movement
Here....you will find glimpses of Capriccio and Concerto for Piano and Winds, Octet, The Piano Sonata....all iconic examples of Stravinsky 1920s Neo Classicism
Torke and Stravinsky share blended uses of musical archetypes: Classicism and Third Stream Music: Classicism in musical forms and structure and Third Stream Music influences of ethnic/folk roots music, jazz improvisation.
Add to that mix....
20th Century Viennese School 12 Tone innovation widely associated
with Schoenberg,Berg and Webern and its important debut 1946-53 with Stan
Kenton and His Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra.[Pete Rugolo,Bob
Graetinger composers/arrangers] and the progressive jazz pianist, Lennie
Tristano and you have a new mixture formally titled in 1961 by Gunther
Schuller as Third Stream Music
Consistent with the overall architecture of what 3rd Stream Music beyond its Jazz connotations, Torke uses 1960s popular rock tunes
reconfigured and embedded into his works, Monday and Tuesday.
*Note, Stravinsky can be credited as an iconic
leader in Third Stream Music long before..... the term was invented in 1961 by
Stravinsky shares this distinction with other early 20th Century
composers using ethnic/folk roots music influences e.g. Bartok, Kodaly, Janacek.
Listen below to the juxtapositions of
Torke and Stravinsky.....
Listen to Torke's Monday
and Tuesday excerpts juxtaposed to Stravinsky's Symphony in 3
Movements, Concertino for 12 Instruments and Septet.
Listen for the iconic Stravinsky "logo" in the syncopated violin
staccato/piano rhythm in The First Movement of The Symphony at 0:38-1:05 and again...at
Listen to Torke's Proverbs #1 juxtaposed to Stravinsky's 1962 Serial Period, The
Flood and Ebony Concerto, Movement 1
The landmark and iconic Miniature 1917 Etude For Pianola by Stravinsky performed by Stravinsky on
Piano Roll .
This is iconic Russian
Period Stravinsky with many "Third Stream influences" as
it were. Etude for Pianola is a masterpiece of multiple inspirations
Listen and you will hear
sounds from Russian peasant songs to Hurdy Gurdy sounds
popular at Turn of The Century to clearly stated Italian street
vendor sounds associated with famous Neapolitan songs and a syncopated
ostinato rhythm in the left hand directly suggests Afro-Argentine
Millonga/Tango or Cuban Danzon*
Listen at 0:49-- 1:14 for this
syncopated ostinato effect. Within this time range, there is a
cacophony of street and carnival sounds...... as well
Hurdy Gurdy sounds which are clearest at 2:11-2:17 appear
earlier as well
Of course, Stravinsky ventured
the world of Buenos Aires Millonga/Tango with his composition titled, Tango
The Etude For Pianola, Les Noces and the
famous Le Sacre Du Printemps are three iconic landmarks of "The
LISTEN * scroll to page bottom and click pause/stop on auto Music Player to view this astonishing showcase
*Please note* My comparisons and analysis are entirely subjective, yet throw a very interesting musicological spotlight on Torke and Stravinsky*
Art, Music and Movement perceptions....
My interest in the blended use of Music, Movement, Art, Photography, Art Direction-Set Design or what today is appropriately called Multi Media began at USC [University of Southern California]
This was a very important period in my development musically and artisically.
I was typical of gifted kids in The Arts.... it began at a very young age. Alas, I was not allowed the indulgence after age 7 because of my parents' choice to keep me grounded vs in an Arts "ivory tower".
That was the explanation..... years later.... by my mother as to why she did not take me out of Public School and put me in a School for the Arts when she had been urged to do so by my music education teachers when I was 6 1/2 years old.
With the focus in my early years on the overwhelming civic involvement of my parents in the Civil Rights Movement 1958-1964, my artistic development became a quiet personal journey back seated until the late 1960s-mid 1970s
The idea of blended genres or Multi Media reached a new height for me in 1984 when I met the great innovator, Alvin Nikolais , creator of the landmark 1960s-90s Dance Theater Company, Alvin Nikolais Dance Theater back stage during The 1984 Summer Olympics Arts Festival in Los Angeles.
This was an Olympics Arts Festival like non other, in which I was also a feted Visual Artist participant in LA '84:The Best of Southern California Art
I had been following Nikolais since 1975 when I first experienced his legendary artistry at UCLA Royce Hall.......
View the iconic Nikolais Dance Theatre's, Tensile Involvement below as performed in tribute by The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago *Click pause on the auto play Music Player at page bottom to view *
Purchase and listen to more from Torke's Music on The Floor