8.10. From Process to Performance: Text-Based Improvisation in Henry Brant’s “Instant Music” Joel Hunt - 30 juin 2017, 9h50-9h55, amphithéâtre Cavaillès


Le 30 juin 2017
de 9h50 à 9h55

Le Patio (université de Strasbourg)
22 rue René Descartes, 67000 Strasbourg
amphithéâtre Cavaillès


Pré-acte / Acte

Auteur : Joel Hunt

     Henry Brant (1913-2008) was an internationally acclaimed composer, Pulitzer Prize winner, two-time Guggenheim Fellow, and the first American to receive the Prix Italia. Existing analytical studies on his music contribute mightily to our understanding of his post-1950 spatial compositions, but they are limited in their exclusive reliance on score analysis. This study examines Brant’s original manuscript documents and recorded performances to illustrate how his text-based compositional process transformed into a text-based improvisational performance practice known as « instant composition. » I will explore Brant’s compositional process through analyses of his sketches for Voyage Four (1965), and show how his subsequent « instant compositions, » including Fracas II (1965), Town Meeting (1969), Machinations (1970), and Rosewood (1989) employ similar text-based compositional instructions to facilitate group improvisation. I argue that characteristics of Brant’s spatial technique—the non-coordination of simultaneous layers, and subsequently, the flexibility of musical content within each layer—enabled him first to compose each layer in a fast and spontaneous improvisational style, and later to completely remove the final compositional act from the process, replacing it with a text-based framework for improvisation.

Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg
Opéra National du Rhin
Conservatoire de Strasbourg