Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook

By Larry Sitsky | Go to book overview

LA MONTE YOUNG (1935–)

Ruth Lee Martin

La Monte Young’s unique musical aesthetic combining aspects of serialism, Cagian conceptualism, Eastern philosophy, and an obsession with the idea of a perpetual sound world has been one of the major forces, if not the major force, in the development of minimalist music. In Young’s work, there has been, as with other minimalist composers, a move away from a romantic teleological framework toward an approach that is essentially nondirectional. There is instead a focus on the actual process of the unfolding musical material that occurs moment by moment, so that in a sense, the idea of the work-as-object has been replaced by the idea of the work-as-process. In Young’s work, there has been a decided focus on economy. His music uses extremely limited musical material, and there is limited use of compositional techniques in terms of transforming the basic material. Young’s music, however, is far from minimal in regards to performance time, and many of his works span hours or even days. Other works, he argues, are infinite. In Young’s work, there has also been an emphasis on experimentation with different tuning systems such as “Just Intonation,” and this, too, has been influential to a wide-ranging and diverse musical audience. Young’s music shows a gradual evolution from early serialist works (1956–1958), to a transitional period when he was involved with the fluxus movement (1959–1961), to his minimalist works that began in the early 1960s.

La Monte Young was born in Bern, Idaho, on October 14, 1935, where he lived until he was four years old. His family then moved to Los Angeles for five years, before moving again, this time to Utah Lake. Young began saxophone lessons with his father when he was seven years old and played in school orchestras throughout his school years. As a child, Young was fascinated by continuous sounds, both natural and artificial, such as the sound of the wind, running water, or electrical hums, and this was to have a profound affect on his later musical thinking. Young’s musical thinking was also influenced by the fact that he was brought up as a Mormon. His religious background was important not

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Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xix
  • George Antheil (1900–1959) 1
  • Robert Ashley (1930–) 11
  • Select Discography 16
  • Milton Babbitt (1916–) 17
  • Henk Badings (1907–1987) 23
  • Bibliography 30
  • Jean BarraquÉ (1928–1973) 31
  • Bibliography 42
  • BÉla BartÓk (1881–1945) 43
  • Selected Works 48
  • Alban Berg (1885–1935) 50
  • Luciano Berio (1925–) 60
  • Selected Works 66
  • Boris Blacker (1903–1975) 68
  • Pierre Boulez (1925–) 77
  • Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924) 85
  • John Cage (1912–1992) 91
  • Bibliography 98
  • Cornelius Cardew (1936–1981) 99
  • Selected Works 102
  • Elliot Carter Jr. (1908–) 103
  • Bibliography 110
  • Henry Cowell (1897–1965) 112
  • Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–1975) 117
  • Claude Debussy (1862–1918) 124
  • Morton Feldman (1926–1987) 131
  • Brian Ferneyhough (1943–) 138
  • Selected Works 143
  • Kenneth Gaburo (1926–1993) 144
  • Selected Works 149
  • Roberto Gerhard (1896–1970) 151
  • George Gershwin (1898–1937) 159
  • Philip Glass (1937–) 168
  • Efim Golyschev (1897–1970) 173
  • Selected Works 176
  • Percy Grainger (1882–1961) 177
  • Sofia Gubaidulina (1931–) 183
  • Alois HÁba (1893–1973) 190
  • Josef Hauer (1883–1959) 197
  • Lejaren Hiller (1924–1994) 203
  • Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000) 211
  • Bibliography 216
  • Charles Edward Ives (1874–1954) 217
  • LeoŠ JanÁČek (1854–1928) 224
  • Ernst Krenek (1900–1991) 236
  • La Monte Young (1935–) 246
  • GyÖrgy Ligeti (1923–) 254
  • Bibliography 261
  • Arthur LouriÉ (1892–1966) 264
  • Alvin Lucier (1931–) 269
  • Selected Works 273
  • Videography 274
  • Otto Luening (1900–) 275
  • Witold LutosŁawski (1913–1994) 282
  • Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) 291
  • Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992) 299
  • Selected Works 304
  • Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) 305
  • Aleksandr Vasil’yevich Mosolov (1900–1973) 314
  • Conlon Nancarrow (1912–1997) 319
  • Notes 325
  • Luigi Nono (1924–1990) 329
  • Bibliography 336
  • Nikolai Obukhov (1892–1954) 339
  • Pauline Oliveros (1932–) 345
  • Leo Ornstein (1892–2002) 351
  • Arvo PÄrt (1935–) 358
  • Harry Partch (1901–1974) 365
  • Krzysztof Penderecki (1933–) 373
  • Selected Works 378
  • Francesco Balilla Pratella (1880–1955) 380
  • Steve Reich (1936–) 385
  • Selected Works 390
  • Terry Riley (1935–) 391
  • Nikolay Roslavets (1881–1944) 398
  • Dane Rudhyar (1895–1985) 404
  • Selected Works 407
  • Carl Ruggles (1876–1971) 409
  • Selected Works 414
  • Luigi Russolo (1885–1947) 415
  • Mordecai Sandberg (1897–1973) 420
  • Erik Satie (1866–1925) 425
  • Pierre Schaeffer (1910–1995) and Pierre Henry (1927–) 432
  • R.Murray Schafer (1933–) 446
  • Alfred Schnittke (1934–1998) 455
  • Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) 463
  • Dmitry Shostakovich (1906–1975) 470
  • Bibliography 479
  • Aleksandr Skryabin (1871–1915) 480
  • Selected Works 486
  • Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892–1988) 487
  • Selected Works 491
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928–) 493
  • Selected Works 498
  • Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) 500
  • TÔru Takemitsu (1930–1996) 508
  • Vladimir Ussachevsky (1911–1990) 525
  • Edgard VarÈse (1883–1965) 530
  • Wladimir Vogel (1896–1984) 537
  • Ivan Vyshnegradsky (1893–1979) 544
  • Anton Webern (1883–1945) 548
  • Selected Works 552
  • Kurt Weill (1900–1950) 554
  • Christian Wolff (1934–) 561
  • Selected Works (published by C.F.Peters Corp. Unless Specified) 566
  • Stefan Wolpe (1902–1972) 569
  • Selected Works 577
  • Iannis Xenakis (1922–2001) 581
  • Selected Works (all Works Published by Editions Salabert, Paris, Unless Otherwise Stated) 584
  • Isang Yun (1917–1995) 586
  • Frank Zappa (1940–1993) 593
  • Bibliography 598
  • Bernd Zimmermann (1918–1970) 599
  • Bibliography 606
  • Index 607
  • About the Editor and Contributors 649
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