On Sunday December 8, 1968 I attended a concert of the music of Earle Brown. There I received this program:
While looking at the program I “understood” that the graphic on the sheet of paper could be the score for a composition. I turned the graphic over and composed:
At the time, my brother and I had a radio program on the local (Los Angeles) Listener Sponsored station KPFK. As a student at Cal State U at LA, I lived on the east side of town. Jay would hitch-hike (at the time he did not drive) from our parents’ house to the intersection of Hollywood and Highland where I’d pick him up and we’d continue on the next few miles to the station’s studio on Cahuenga Blvd. (from where it still broadcasts). As long-time listeners and supporters of the station, we had convinced the program director that we could produce a music program of an hour or two every Saturday evening. The music would be devoted to what was at the time considered “Avant Garde”. However, as I had been listening to the music of Edgar Varèse, I knew (in at least one paraphrase of his words):
There is no such thing as an Avant Garde.
There are only people who are a little bit late.
We had listeners throughout the Los Angeles area. In fact one of the art professors at Cal State with whom I was friendly remarked to me that he enjoyed listening to the program on a regular basis.
There was a smaller version of the same graphic, printed on a dark olive-green card. I kept that card with me and we’d preform from it periodically using the “instruments” we had available to us in the recording studio (table, water glasses and pencils). The long lines usually represented sustained sounds with the dots representing percussive sounds. We wanted to use that as the score for a communal performance.
And, so, I composed:
We submitted my “score” (the small version on the dark green card) to the program printer along with my instructions. Needless to say, when the program appeared
we were sorely disappointed to see that the darkness of the paper made the score unreadable
and we were unable to realize the communal version of the composition.
Nonetheless, we continued to perform it throughout the time we had our program.