Sunday, January 30, 2011

RIP Milton Babbitt

Milton Babbitt, one of the most influential composers and teachers of the 20th and early 21st century died on January 29th. Allan Kozinn's obituary in the New York Times gives a good idea of his interest both in esoteric serialism and popular music.

Here is three and a half minutes of pure awesomeness: Post-Partitions for piano, as played by Robert Miller. Post-Partitions utilizes an all-partition array, which in layman's terms is the distribution of all possible vertical distributions of the 12-tone row across segregated registers (partitions) of the keyboard throughout the course of the piece. Thus, while you see (or for those of you with transhuman powers of perception, hear) the row reoccur regularly throughout the piece, you can also observe each and every possibility of the row's vertical distribution across the registers of the piano. Once every distribution has been reached, the piece is over.

A graphical representation of the piece might help, as seen in the following video (performer not listed - Alan Feinberg, perhaps?):

1 comment:

  1. So sad. He will be sorely missed.