Thomas DeLio

 

contact:   tdel6@comcast.net

 
 
 

Table of Contents

Biography
Archive
Citations
About Thomas DeLio
Book, Subject
Review of  Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio
Recordings
Compositions (and Publishers)
Books, Author
Books, Editor and Contributor
Books, Co-Editor
Essays

 

Biography

 

          Thomas DeLio is a composer and theorist, internationally renowned in both fields.  He has composed music for soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestra, and is especially noted for his work in computer music.   His compositions have been performed worldwide and are recorded on numerous labels including Wergo (Germany), 3D Classics (France), Neuma, Centaur, Capstone, ERMMedia and Spectrum.  His music is published in the US by Neuma Publications and Sonic Art Editions and, in Italy, by Semar Editore.

     He has published over thirty essays in such journals as The Journal of Music Theory, Perspectives of New Music, Interface, Artforum, Contemporary Music Review (London), Revue d'Esthetique (Paris), and MusikText (Cologne).  A number of his essays have been anthologized, and translated into German, French and Italian. His books include Circumscribing the Open Universe (University Press of America; Italian translation, Semar Editore, Rome), The Music of Morton Feldman (Greenwood Press), and The Amores of John Cage (Pendragon Press).  He has participated in conferences, festivals and residencies throughout the world.

     A book about his work, entitled Essays on the Music And Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio was published by The Edwin Mellen Press (2008).  It contains essays by leading composers and scholars from Europe and the United States.  Contributors to this volume include: Herman Sabbe, Professor, Ghent State University (Belgium); Robert Morris, Professor, Eastman School of Music; Agostino di Scipio, Professor, University of Bari (Italy); Christopher Shultis, Regents Professor, University of New Mexico; Wesley Fuller, Professor Emeritus, Clark University; Morris Palter, Professor, University of Alaska.  A companion volume entitled Thomas DeLio: Collected Essays Vol. I (1980-2000) will be published by the Mellen Press in 2017.

 

Archive
 
     In 2010 the University of Maryland Library Special Collections Division established a new archive, The Thomas DeLio Papers.  This archive will hold, among other items, Thomas DeLio's sketches and manuscripts for his music, books and essays; master tapes from numerous recordings sessions; journal articles, books, CDs and DVDs.  In addition it will hold his correspondence, including letters from such composers, poets and artists as Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Morton Feldman, P. Inman, Sol LeWitt, among others.  Eventually all his teaching materials will also be held in this collection as well as work by his students in both music theory and composition.
 
 

Citations

 

New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1999-2000 edition).

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Eighth Edition), p. 412.
Wykipidia entry for Thomas DeLio created December 2006.

 

 
 
About Thomas DeLio

 

 

...among the most significant experimental composers of his generation, a composer whose work...is rooted in every detail of the sonic experience...

Christopher Shultis, Regents' Professor of Music, University of New Mexico

 

Well over two decades of my listening life have been immeasurably graced by live and recorded performances of the music of Thomas DeLio.

Wesley Fuller, Professor Emeritus, Clark University

 

Thomas DeLio engages and illuminates the world of Peter Inman's poetry in his music as passionately as Robert Schumann does Heinrich Heine's, and in this way he situates himself among the great art song composers... the listener lingers in many thresholds: between sound and silence; between the poet's voice and the composer's composition; between a recording as a composition in and of itself, rather than a recording as a representation of a performance; between a work of art being made and a work of art completed.  At a carefully constructed intersection of the musical, the visual, and the literary, DeLio and Inman create a liminal space that is its own genre, a potent world of constant imminence that extends the tradition of art song beyond its tradition of poetic representation and illumination.

Linda Dusman, Chair, Professor of Music, The University of Maryland Baltimore County

 

...a musicologist with a vision, a musicologist not in the least apprehensive of tackling music that would have seemed to most quite out of reach of any analytical method...when I came to know DeLio's own music, I found that it revealed the same sense of wondering at the world.

Herman Sabbe, Professor of Musicology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Ghent University

 

 

Book, Subject
 

The Edwin Mellen Press, 2008

www.mellenpress.com

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

Contact Katherine Clark,  kclark@mellenpress.com

 

Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Contemporary American Composer

 

Thomas Licata, Editor

 

A revealing look at the artistic and theoretical output of Thomas DeLio whose original compositions, books, and essays are innovative, wide-ranging and wholly provocative. Through essays written by and in tribute to this composer and theorist his contribution to music is more thoroughly appreciated and understood. A CD of compositions is included.

 

Imprint: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2008 (408 pages)

Subject Area:  Music & Dance
ISBN10:  0-7734-5176-5   ISBN13:  978-0-7734-5176-6    

USA List Price: $129.95 UK List Price: £ 79.95  

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Preface

Herman Sabbe

 

Introduction

Thomas Licata and Jerry Tabor

 

Composer
The Complexity of Experience

  Thomas DeLio

Luminous Presence: Thomas DeLio’s ‘think on parch’

  Linda Dusman

Experiencing and Defining Digitally Recorded Musical Silence:

The Electronic Music of Thomas DeLio

   Agostino Di Scipio

‘Bright Seaweed Reaping’: A Song of Thomas DeLio

   Wes Fuller

The Dialectics of Experimentalism

   Chris Shultis

Perception/Form: Thomas DeLio’s ‘Though’ for Solo Piano

  Michael Boyd

The Evolution of Performance Practice: Thomas DeLio’s ‘wave / s’

  Morris Palter

A Conversation with Composer Thomas DeLio

  Tracy Wiggins

 

Theorist 
Circumscribing the Open Universe

  Thomas DeLio

The Open Universe, Revisited

  Thomas DeLio

Music / Talking About Music / Talking About Talking About Music

  Robert Morris

Pitch, Timbre, and Space in Morton Feldman’s ‘For Frank O’Hara’

  Steve Johnson

The Sonic Landscape: ‘Bewegt’ by Anton Webern

  Thomas DeLio

su una nota sola: Giacinto Scelsi’s ‘Quattro Pezzi, No. 3’

  Thomas DeLio

 

List of Compositions

Discography

Bibliography

Index

About the Contributors

 

In the future when the historian sifts through the debris of our era, oversaturated with information, once the dross has been cast aside, more than a few of the things that remain will be bound in the covers of The Edwin Mellen Press. - Charles S. Kraszewski. King's College

 

 See essays in Contemporary Music Review Volume 34, Parts 5-6, 2015:

     "Sense Without Syntax:  The Art of P. Inman and Thomas DeLio" by Benjamin Levy

     "(ex)Congruities"  by Thomas DeLio and P. Inman

 

Review of  Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Contemporary American Composer

 

Thomas Licata, Ed.: Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Contemporary American Composer, with Accompanying CD of Selected Compositions of Thomas DeLio

 

Hardcover, 2008, ISBN 0-7734-5176-5, 416 pages, illustrated, notes, bibliography, list of compositions, discography, CD information, CD-Audio, US$ 129.95; The Edwin Mellen Press, P. O. Box 450, Lewiston, New York 14092-0450, USA; telephone (+1) 716- 754-2266; fax (+1) 716-754-4056;  Web mellenpress.com.

 

Reviewed by Benjamin R. Levy

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona, USA

 

Thomas Licata’s collection, Essays on theMusic and TheoreticalWritings of Thomas DeLio, Contemporary American Composer, is a remarkable new book, the first full-length study of a unique composer and groundbreaking theorist whose contributions to

computer music and percussion literature are undeniable, and whose analytical insights into music of the avant-garde continue to stand out as relevant and thought provoking. The essays included in the volume are well chosen and balance analyses and appraisals of Mr. DeLio’s music by other authors, as well as new essays by Mr. DeLio himself, both analytical and theoretical, concerning other composers and his own work. The collection includes both European and American authors, writings by theorists, composers, and performers, and through this variety of perspectives, succeeds in the difficult task of making connections between the subject’s work as both composer and theorist as well as interdisciplinary connections to other artistic fields. As Hermann Sabbe states in the book’s introduction, “DeLio is, indeed, a scholar and artist in one” (p. v), and this Festschrift brings out many themes and questions that carry over from one side of his work to the other.

     The first section of the book is devoted to Mr. DeLio’s work as a composer, and includes several analyses of his works—essays by Linda Dusman, Agostino DiScipio, Wesley Fuller, and Michael Boyd— that represent both electronic music and works for acoustic instruments, most of which are included on the accompanying CD. All of the analysts at some point have to come to terms with some of the strikingly original features of the music, in particular, the composer’s use of long

periods of silence, and, related to this, his preference for nonlinear, nonhierarchical  structures. 

     Linda Dusman’s “Luminous Presence: Thomas DeLio’s think on parch

(four songs for tape)” begins by responding to the question of how these purely electronic works fit into the tradition of song. Although the composer and poet (P. Inman, whose voice is the principle source of sound material) have closely related artistic sensibilities, their voices remain distinct in these settings. Mr. DeLio’s concern with engaging the audience to reflect actively on the process of perception puts his songs squarely at

odds with romantic ideas of narrative.  Ms. Dusman points in particular to one instance where the composer’s voice is heard on tape, referring to the process of recording and composition, making this process more transparent and dissolving any sort of imaginary scenario that romantic Lieder often work to create. Christopher Shultis’s article, discussed subsequently, also picks up on this modernist, antiromantic impulse in Mr. DeLio’s work, and the composer’s tendency to question accepted genres and expectations.  Ms. Dusman also examines many nonlinear aspects of the music, including the use of silences and the way spatial location and computer processing reflect the stanza divisions of P. Inman’s text. Mr. DeLio manages to give each stanza an audible identity while not necessarily reproducing the text in a conventionally straightforward way—transferring what is traditionally a chronological distinction, based on linear progression of time, into a distinction made spatially, sonically, and synchronously. 

     Bright seaweed reaping, the subject of Wesley Fuller’s detailed analysis, is a song in the more usual sense—a setting of a traditional Japanese poem, scored for soprano and instruments—and as such leads to interesting comparisons with Ms. Dusman’s essay. Here the poem is more linear and syntactic in ways that P. Inman’s often fragmentary, Beckett-influenced poetry is not, but Mr. DeLio’s text setting, using silence to isolate individual words or clauses, focuses attention on the significance of individual linguistic moments. Mr. Fuller sets up this observation by citing correspondence between the composer and translator (American poet, Cid Corman), comparing different translations, and pointing out how a single word can convey meaning far beyond its simple definition.  

     Michael Boyd’s excellent analysis focuses on though for piano. Mr. Boyd parses the surface of the work into layers, rather than addressing changes as sections, an approach that seems quite fitting here—each sounding event seems like a representative from some pre-existing strand, which momentarily surfaces and then recedes into silence, an effect that seems more common to electroacoustic music than to instrumental works. Moreover, this approach allows Mr. Boyd to look at the connections between different events (looking at pitch class emphasis and density within particular layers), and address them as related instances of a common type, but not as causally connected to one another.  Mr. Boyd supports this reading of the piece with an examination of the lengths of the silences that separate these events, preserving open, non-causal connections between the sound events.

     Agostino DiScipio’s essay, “Notes on Digital Silence: Listening to Tom DeLio’s Short Tape Works,” is not an analysis of a single piece, but an examination of features, including extended silences, in several works. Mr. DiScipio points out that there is a difference between technologically “generated” silence, and a recording of natural silence, or of ambient space. Likewise we may observe that the nature of the silence changes depends on the surrounding material, whether acoustic or electronic, if electronic then whether synthesized or concr`ete, and also, whether or not a text is involved.

     The authors are in agreement that Mr. DeLio’s use of silence is decidedly not Cagean—it is not an invitation to attend to external sounds happening in the environment as in 4!33!!. Instead, the silence functions as “blank spaces on a page, more graphic or visual than ‘musical’” (p. 28), according to Ms. Dusman, who also equates this silence to “negative space” or “margins.”  Addressing silence through an analogy to the visual arts is a common strategy through all the analyses in this volume, and given Mr. DeLio’s frequent references to contemporary visual artists in his own essays, this seems like an effective way of coming to terms with a phenomenon that is less familiar inmusic. This analogy to visual arts also helps address the nonlinear nature of the music, comparing the way we come across events to the way our eyes would come across different objects while scanning the canvas of a painting. 

     Mr. DiScipio points out that in Mr. DeLio’s music, the “silent segments have a duration that far exceeds what perception psychologists describe as the width of the present (i.e., the time span of 8” to 12”), within which sequential events can in one way or another be connected to the whole” (p. 51). He then relates the silences in this music directly to the issues of nonlinearity, and connects the challenges and complexity directly to human perception. When put to the extreme lengths that we find in Mr. DeLio’s music (Ms. Dusman points to instances where over half of the piece is “negative space”), the functions of individual silences become multifaceted. No longer do we have a purely anticipatory silence before the performance, a reflective one  afterwards, and other smaller “breathing pauses” within, as Zofia Lissa presents as the norm in her 1964 article, “Aesthetic Functions of Silence and Rests in Music” (Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 22/4, Summer 1964, pp. 443– 454). Here, the inner silences can be longer than the beginning or ending silences, defying hierarchical syntax, forcing listeners both to process the details of the previous sound and to anticipate the next; moreover, the degree to which these functions overlap, or eventually nullify each other, is largely up to the individual listener. One might connect these perceptual issues back to the analogy of the visual arts by saying that there is a conflict, then, between what is perceived as frame and content, and with no resolution to this prolonged conflict, one might do well to abandon the distinction altogether. 

     Here we really approach the “Complexity of Experience” that Mr. DeLio lays out in his article of the same name (his artistic credo opens this collection). As listeners, the composer pushes us in conflicting directions, and forces us to question a priori categories. The silences, which are ostensibly all the same in terms of content, prove to be quite varied in their function. Moreover, as Mr. DiScipio points out, the long silences can attune listeners to the most minute differences—the hum of different types of loudspeakers, or the acoustic personality of the hall. Furthermore, the impulse to group all of the sounds into a single category, as one side of the opposition “sound versus silence” is immediately undercut by the great diversity in the contrasting particulars of the actual sounds. Rereading “The Complexity of Experience” after the analyses, one is struck by the ambitious nature of Mr. DeLio’s philosophy of composition, questioning the very nature of what we call “unity” and “identity.”

     While these analytical essays are self-contained, these philosophical concerns are in the background of all of them; Christopher Shultis’s contribution, “The Dialectics of Experimentalism,” addresses some of these more directly. In what was originally a series of three lectures, Mr. Shultis examines two different views of experimental music as represented by Pierre Boulez and John Cage, and then turns to a discussion of various ways in which composers such as Brian Ferneyhough and Mr. DeLio are, respectively, the inheritors of this dialectic; these two composers are both represented by articles in the “Complexity Forum” of Perspectives of New Music (Vol. 31, Winter 1993), and make for a compelling comparison in Mr. Shultis’s article.  Particularly interesting is the discussion of memory and its role in the formation of gestures in Mr. Ferneyhough’s music versus the concept of presence in Mr. DeLio’s music and the ways it leads him to the creation of sound objects as concrete sonic entities; and moreover the contrasting ideas of complexity as seen in Mr. Ferneyhough’s case as technique and virtuosity, or in Mr. DeLio’s case as a complexity of perceptual experience. 

     The degree to which Mr. DeLio’s works provoke questions fundamental to musical discourse can be seen in Robert Morris’s contribution, “Music, Talking About Music, Talking About Talking About Music,” which appears later in the volume.  Mr. Morris posits a three-level system where discourse about music becomes self-conscious at the third level. He mentions certain text pieces (such as Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing”) as examples where all three levels of discourse “can share the same cognitive and experiential space” (p. 242); in the context of the book as a whole, though, one may wonder if Mr. DeLio’s pieces approach this in another way, through self-conscious moments in the music such as the one Ms. Dusman cites, but even more remarkably, non-verbally, through the silences which draw the listener into active consideration rather than passive reception.

     The performers represented in this volume address many of the same issues raised by the theoretical and analytical discussions; the change in perspective, though, is quite informative.  In his “The Evolution of a Performance Practice: Thomas DeLio’s wave / s,” Morris Palter discusses his interpretive decisions while working on that piece: considering the implications of a pitch/noise dialogue that flows through the piece and how this dialogue effect his decisions regarding instrument selection, attack, resonance, and blend. His essay is a valuable companion piece to Steven Schick’s discussion of Xenakis’s Psappha (in The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams, University of Rochester Press, 2006); this comparison will be of particular interest to those familiar with Mr. DeLio’s analyses of Xenakis. The book presents yet another notable connection as Mr. Shultis’s discussion of Mr. Ferneyhough mentions Mr. Schick, and 76 Computer Music Journal conversely, Mr. Shultis’s role as a performer and interpreter of Mr. DeLio’s music comes up in Mr. Palter’s essay. 

     Tom Goldstein’s essay deals extensively with performing the silences in Mr. DeLio’s music. In light of the previous discussion, one can see how complicated a task this can be. Mr. Goldstein asks, “Should the silences necessarily be intense? Should they even be serious? Should they perhaps be serene?” (p. 201). And it is clear that he recognizes the multitude of functions that happen in these rests and is conscious of how a performer might aid or detract from the sense of openness that is so vital to the composer’s aesthetic. Mr. Goldstein also addresses the difficulty of learning and practicing a type of music where one has no chance to make causal connections between events. It is fascinating to hear a performer’s take on the practical implications of the same issues discussed in the earlier analyses: the nonlinear nature of the music, and the devalued role of memory. 

     Tracy Wiggins’s interview with Mr. DeLio ranges over his influences, inspirations, and starting points, and his ways of thinking about his own music and the relationships between pieces. The composer seems drawn to the fragmentary and incomplete, and both Mr. DiScipio (in the electronic medium) and Mr. Palter (in the percussion music) discuss interrelationships between works, relating some of the short pieces together in the same way that brief individual sounds are connected across the silences within a piece. When Mr.Wiggins broaches this subject, it is interesting to hear the response: “Actually, I think of all my music as related. Each piece is a different facet of my view of music” (p. 209).  

     The final section of the book is devoted to Mr. DeLio’s theoretical and analytical work, including essays by the subject and others. Robert Morris’s essay (discussed earlier) is included here, as is an essay by Steven Johnson on “Organic Construction in Music of Morton Feldman”; indeed, the recent boom in American scholarship on Morton Feldman owes much to Mr. DeLio’s The Music of Morton Feldman (Greenwood Press, 1996).  Mr. Johnson’s analysis focuses on For Frank O’Hara, stressing the role of texture, register, and timbre as well as harmony in this piece of music, and bringing out an interesting discrepancy between Feldman’s rhetoric and the actual music. 

     Mr. DeLio’s critique of trends in contemporary music theory comes out in his interview with Mr.Wiggins, and also in his essays Circumscribing the Open Universe,” and “The Open Universe Revisited”—the latter of which appears for the first time in the present collection. In the first of these essays, the author explains how he sees the idea of an “open” work, drawing on Italo Calvino and Allain Robe-Grillet (among others) to articulate the idea of the artwork not as an object, but as something in the process of becoming. In the second, follow-up essay, Mr. DeLio addresses this same idea in greater depth, both from a compositional perspective and also from a theoretical one. He sees a very destructive trend in much of the set-class analysis pioneered by David Lewin and Alan Forte. Although he does not cite specific essays from Mr. Lewin, Mr. Forte comes under direct criticism in Mr. DeLio’s analysis of Anton Webern’s masterwork, Bewegt (Op. posth., 1913). And the two analyses that end the book exemplify the philosophical distinctiveness of Mr. DeLio’s approach to analysis, while pointing out the limitations he finds accompanying the codification of set theory, or other fixed systems of analysis. 

     Mr. DeLio’s critique focuses on Mr.Forte’s contribution to an Analysis Forum on Webern’s Bewegt (Journal of Music Theory, 18/2, 1974, pp. 13–43) and in particular on Mr. Forte’s statement that “it is reasonable to assume, however, that orchestration was not a primary consideration, whereas the overall pitch organization of the music was a fundamental concern” (quoted p. 322, n. 8).Mr. DeLio points to a snare-drum roll, which fills the noise spectrum as a culminating point for his own hearing of the piece—a convincing argument, using spectrographs as evidence of his claims, and centering around a specific sonic event in the composition that Mr. Forte’s analysis ignores entirely. Indeed, an analysis that focuses entirely on pitch-class relationships would have trouble capturing this aspect of the work’s design, which, given the role of klangfarbenmelodie in Arnold Schoenberg’s work, seems quite plausible in his student’s music as well. 

     Mr. DeLio’s second analysis focuses on the iconoclastic Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, and the third movement of his Quattro Pezzi (su una nota sola). The analysis here examines the role of microtonal inflections, attack noise, and dynamics in shaping the form of the piece, again using spectrographs to analyze the full spectrum of sonic activity. The author examines the spectral data and makes observations pointing to a change in the implied fundamental of the single note to which the title of the piece refers. This analysis also points to reasons that Scelsi has been held in high esteem by spectral composers Gerard Grisey and Tristan Murail.  More and more composers are taking into consideration the full range of noise and pitch as an integral part of their composition, and although this approach is perhaps most commonly acknowledged in contemporary electronic or percussion music, yet Mr. DeLio has chosen two early orchestral examples for his analysis, showing  the need to address timbre in earlier music as well. In so doing he calls attention to the dangers of codifying set theory, and expecting analysis to be based solely around the assumptions of this analytical system. After all, what could a set-class analysis that assumes octave-equivalency say about such a piece, built around the diversity of sounds within a single note? These analyses are thought provoking in that they do not aim simply to describe how the piece goes, but are invitations to explore radically different ways of hearing the works; moreover, when read at the end of the present collection, they resonate with Mr. DeLio’s theories of what an open artwork should do, and also with the aesthetics of his own  compositions. Through its diverse essays, the present book succeeds in the remarkable task of showing this crossdisciplinary consistency in ways that few other volumes have attempted.

 

 
Essay, Subject, in part
 
"Writing (at the End) of New Music" Christopher Shultis; in The Modern Percussion Revolution, Kevin Lewis and Gustavo Aguilar, eds.  (Routledge, 2014).

excerpt:


     There were two passions of mine back then: early percussion music, most of it first performed by John Cage and his percussion ensemble, and seeking out new music by younger composers. The former led me to research the music found in the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection in Philadelphia, which is where Cage sent those pieces, through the recommendation of Johanna Beyer.  Michael Udow chaired a panel at the percussion convention in Washington, D.C. (1986) where I presented my findings, including performances by the UNM Percussion Ensemble of works I had found in the collection that hadn't yet (to my knowledge) been discovered and performed. And it was in 1986, during the convention, that Stuart Saunders Smith introduced me to Thomas DeLio, just the kind of young composer I liked to work with, who in turn introduced me to a recent composition of his, Against the silence ... (1985). It is a piece that I regard as one of the great percussion compositions of that decade and a real turning point in the history of experimental music. Why?

     To understand that, I need to fast-forward to 1993. I was defending my dissertation on John Cage, and Thomas DeLio was an outside reader and present (via telephone) at the defense. The dissertation, "Silencing the Sounded Self: John Cage and the American Experimental Tradition" (later published as a book with the same title), concerned Cage's intentional "silencing" of the self in his poetry and music through 1974. During the defense, DeLio asked me, "Are there other kinds of silence?" referring of course to the Cageian silence my research addressed; it was through my close association with DeLio's work that it was easy to answer "yes." DeLio's silences, found in much of his music and especially prominent in Against the silence ..., display by far some of the most interesting "other silences" I've ever heard.

     But that's not what caught my attention at first. Instead, I was practically interested in finding music that could be played by my ensemble without making any mistakes. "Sonic perfection" is what I was after but not at the expense of backing off of my obsessive interest in performing only compositions for percussion that could be regarded as potential masterpieces, regardless of instrumentation. This may seem obvious now, but then I was surrounded by percussionists who played music written by percussionists, often with the sole purpose of furthering careers rather than adding to a repertoire that I thought was developing into a literature of great historical importance—especially music written for the percussion ensemble, which I regarded then (and still do) as the most significant new chamber medium since the string quartet.

     DeLio's music, I believe, belongs in this company, and Against the silence ... is a masterpiece of that era. I love the way the verticality of this piece is so rhythmically complex (equal, in a musical sense, to the complexity of Ferneyhough and his followers), and yet, horizontally, those vertical elements create a sonic frame around the silences that become not spaces between sounds in the traditional sense nor spaces for hearing the unintentional in a Cageian sense, but, instead, silence heard as silence. To hear nothing and have that experience be the something you hear. As Cage put it regarding Morton Feldman's music: "something and nothing need each other to keep on going." The amazing thing here is that DeLio puts that in the same space, not as contrasting opposites, but as, instead, two things becoming one thing—"other silences" indeed! The greatest complexity of all is the relationship between those complex frames (which also includes a highly sophisticated electronic component generated through means of a computer) and the varying asymmetrical periods of silence with both electronic and acoustic forces surrounding the audience. There is no center. The music (silent and sounding, acoustic and electronic) is all around, and you can only hear the magnificence of this if every single aspect of the sonic experience is heard as originally composed, in its complete and utter perfection. A mistake of any kind destroys the piece—but it was/is possible to perform it perfectly, and my ensemble did so several times.


Review of book Circumscribing the Open Universe

From:  Reader's Guide to Music: History, Theory and Criticism by Murray Steib

Routledge, Dec 2, 2013 - Reference - 928 pages

     In his collection of five analytical essays, DeLio closely examines five open-form works by five composesr - Cage, Feldman, Christian Wolff, Robert Ashley, and Alvin Lucier.  The author links these composers by their aesthetic credo that artwork is not a fixed entity but a process, not a "circumscribed object" but a "circumscribing event."  Although DeLio's dichotomization of open and closed structures is not without controversy, his essays are among the most extensive and finest analyses of open-form works ever written.  DeLio's book is one of the few monographs devoted entirely to aleatoric music.

Jeongwon Joe


Review of final concert National Gallery of Art American Music Festival March 22, 2015, Reviewed by Stephen Brooks

The National Gallery of Art’s two-week American Music Festival — one of the most adventurous and exciting celebrations of contemporary music here in years — closed Sunday with a performance by the Third Coast Percussion ensemble that proved just how vital and fertile new American music really is....

But it was the world premiere of Thomas DeLio’s “sound/shivering/silence II” that provided some of the most sublime music of the evening. Moving through the audience, the Third Coast players wove two brief poems by the American poet Cid Corman into DeLio’s spare, quietly eloquent music, which seemed to rise into the vaulted space and hang there, weightless and not quite of this Earth, with the distant intangible beauty of starlight.


Recording Review


Percorsi Musicali

Pensieri sulla musica contemporanea

 

Thomas DeLio and the Aesthetics of Intermittence

 

Daniel Barbiero
Diritti Riservati - Pubblicato da Daniel Barbiero a 15:18



Thomas Delio (b. 1951) è un compositore che lavora con un senso espansivo dei suoni e degli spazi interni ad essi. Una raccolta di opere selezionate, pubblicate dall'etichetta discografica Neuma, fornisce un compendio efficace del suo lavoro nel periodo 1991-2013. La raccolta comprende opere strumentali, produzione di testi, e pezzi meramente elettronici. Anche se i pezzi differiscono l'uno dall'altro in termini di formato, materiali e orchestrazione, tutti condividono quella che potremmo chiamare una estetica di intermittenza, cioè, un focus sul suono che si materializza in ben definite isole di tempo.

 

___________________

 

 

The turn away from pitch and toward sound as such as the fundamental element of musical composition and performance is one of the hallmarks of a significant strain of late twentieth century art music. This reevaluation of the relative weights of compositional elements continues to exert an influence on composers and performers, many of whom take for granted the status of pitch as one point along a larger compass of sounds. Thomas DeLio is one such composer for whom this expansive sense of musical sound, and the consequently catholic sonic palette to which it gives rise, opened a field in which his own practice could flourish.

 

DeLio (b. 1951) studied under Robert Cogan at the New England Conservatory of Music, after which he pursued interdisciplinary studies in music, mathematics and visual art. He is a music theorist as well as a composer, having written or contributed to many academic books and journals since the late 1970s. His compositions, which were inspired by the sonic and formal vocabularies of such forerunners as Iannis Xenakis, John Cage and others, draw on the full range of sound sources available to contemporary composers--pitched and unpitched acoustic instruments, voice, and electronics—as well as on the organizational possibilities opened up by disjunctive forms. This can be heard in the compilation of selected works recently released on the Neuma label, which provides a substantial survey of his work over the period 1991-2013. The collection includes instrumental works, mostly for soloists or small groups, settings of texts, and purely electronic pieces. Although the pieces differ from one another in terms of format, materials and orchestration, all of them share what might be called an aesthetic of intermittence—that is, a focus on sound as such standing alone in well-defined islands of time.

 

The electronic compositions z, rb (2000) and ,c el, f (2001) exemplify DeLio’s work in that medium. In both pieces, each of which is of less than two minutes’ duration, brief bursts of electronic sounds, some lasting no more than one second, are separated by much longer expanses of sonically empty space. Than (1991), the only work for orchestra represented here, similarly intersperses sound blocks and pitch collections with long silences over its approximately four minute length. The same structural sense informs the pairings of what DeLio calls “deconstructions”—works that involve the electronic manipulation of a recording of a performance of a prior composition—with the original works that provided their source material. As though (1991) for solo percussion, realized by Jeffrey Gram, is an episodic survey of the drum kit; the “deconstruction” as though/of (1999) modifies the shapes and timbres of Gram’s performance while retaining its distinctive profile.

 

DeLio’s interest in fragmentary sounds comes into play in a conceptually intriguing way in his settings of texts, particularly in his settings of poetry by P. Inman, here represented by Song: “aengus” (2013). Inman, a writer associated with the East Coast branch of “language” poetry, breaks language into shards of isolated words or non-signifying combinations of letters. This is analogous to DeLio’s separation of sounds into objects conveying only their formal properties of timbre, duration, dynamics and occasionally pitch. To read Inman’s poetry is to read linguistic elements that refuse to represent reality but rather insist on embodying a concrete reality in themselves; similarly, DeLio’s sounds appear not to want to function as parts of larger musical motifs but instead to be motifs in and of themselves, or at least the functional equivalent of motifs.

 

In all of these works, and in DeLio’s work more generally, silence acts as a boundary or frame. Long passages devoid of musical or sonic activity act as interstices by virtue of which sounds are set off from one another to be heard as independent entities. Their discontinuity vests them with a certain fleetingness or intermittence. But in defining boundaries between sounds and casting them as events, these interstices also set up relationships between and among those events. The empty passage—the negative space—both links the succeeding event to a preceding event and creates the larger context in which events transpire. Negative spaces thus engender a set of structural relationships—separations, adjacencies, priority and succession and so forth. And these relationships make possible the qualitative relationships that allow us to hear similarities and differences based on such sonic parameters as timbre, pitch, duration, dynamics and phrasing.

 

In the end an aesthetic of intermittence is an aesthetic of relationships, and one in which the attentive perception of the qualities of individual sound objects can be cultivated and indeed relished. DeLio’s work affords many opportunities for doing just such a thing.

 

 



Recording Review: Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 and Thomas DeLio space / image / word / sound

Fanfare Magazine:  Issue 37:3   Jan/Feb 2014

reviewed by Art Lange

Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 including Belle-Isle I-IV (2003; tape), transients / images (2006; percussion, piano), …transients (2011; tape), Though (1993; piano solo), XXXIII - XXVII (2007; tape), as though (1994; percussion solo), as though / of (1999; tape ), between (1991; flute, piano, 3 percussionists) , z,rb (2000; tape), Center (1999; solo voice), Center / s (2000; tape), Than (1991; orchestra), ,c,el,f (2001; tape), that light (1989/2009; solo soprano) , Song: “aengus” (2013, tape), Zilahn (2004; tape)
NEUMA CD 450-108

 

Thomas DeLio: space / image / word / sound: Song: Foxrock near Dublin… , et avant /  image,  …zwischen den Worten (Schwimmhäute, Redewände), - qu’un espace / sépare, amounts. to.,  “sam”, “aengus

NEUMA DVD 450-201

 

            In the Introduction to his book Circumscribing The Open Universe (University Press of America, 1984), Thomas DeLio makes the case that in contrast to the conventional type of “closed” art in which the artist has a singular point of view to express and creates a work (or object) that fulfills that vision and requires the audience to understand its experience of the artwork from the artist’s perspective (for example, by following Goethe’s first principle of criticism, that is, questioning “What is the artist or work of art trying to do?”), there is a manner of artistic creativity—found in, among others, the work of composers John Cage and Christian Wolff, poet Charles Olson, and visual artist Robert Irwin—that redirects the idea of form to that of an “open structure” which allows the audience to become aware of the experience itself, and the way they relate to the materials at hand, as a process dependent upon their own individual perception. DeLio writes, “A structure is open if it presents no single fixed view of reality but instead reinforces those variable conditions under which each unique consciousness becomes manifest.” He then cites D.H. Lawrence, who anticipated such a re-focusing of form as the product of an “immediate present” which reflects “the sheer appreciation of the instant moment, life surging itself into utterance at its very well-head.”

            To this end, since 1970 DeLio has worked toward a distinct style of composition that rejects the use of development, variation, continuity, and hierarchical relationships—which is not to say that aspects of these may not be part of the individual listener’s perception of his music. But DeLio’s intention is to create music that focuses the listener’s attention on various sequences of minute musical events separated by passages of silence, in the moment, and not necessarily as part of a larger whole. In his words, “I always try to avoid constructing transitions linking individual events, anything that might convey a sense of continuity and connection. I want everything to feel segmented, halted, separated. Only the direct perception of the moment seems important to me.” In their own ways, composers like Stockhausen, Cage, and Feldman have created music that attempts to be in and of the moment, but none of it sounds anything like that which fills this particular CD and DVD.

            The music itself can be divided into three formats: pieces using live performers with acoustic instruments and/or voice; tape compositions of “pure” electronic origin (which explains the lack of performers for several of the pieces in the headnote listing above); and tape compositions which primarily utilize, and often manipulate, voices and instruments. I make a distinction between the two types of tape composition because DeLio is uncommonly well-versed in modern poetry (as his imaginative titles indicate), and his setting of texts by, in these instances, Cid Corman, A.R. Ammons, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Celan, and most frequently P. Inman, involve not merely accompaniments to the words, but their fragmentation, distortion, disorientation, and near-total recontextualization. (Full disclosure: in 1978, I included poetry by P. (then Peter) Inman in the small press magazine I published and edited, Brilliant Corners: a magazine of the arts.) Nevertheless, in each of these formats the basic features are the same—starkness, concision, and concentration to the point of microscopic detail. Characteristically, a piece will consist of brief events (less phrases than gestures) made up of several seconds of small, mostly quiet, sounds—buzzes, clicks, indistinct pitches, the sonic debris of activity—isolated by longer patches of silence. How many events there are determine the length of the piece; most are in the three- to eight-minute range. On occasion, there will be abrupt jolts of color or texture—a flute trill, a harsh electronic rasp, a sudden disembodied voice. DeLio prefers percussion instruments because of the ambiguity between their pitched and unpitched qualities, and draws attention to the instant of their attack—a hard mallet on a marimba, the whisk of a brush, the rattle of maracas, the pop of a drum head. The extended silences both resolve and intensify the tension of the moment.

            A few of the works stand out. Center (1999) and that light (1989/2009), setting the Japanese-influenced nature poems of Ammons and Corman respectively, find the soprano soloists negotiating large, angular interval leaps and whispered sibilants, breaking up the words, repeating syllables, and abstracting the poetry’s original verbal music under DeLio’s extreme conditions. Though (1993) is a condensed essay for solo piano—a brief flurry of notes, contrasting intense gestures of range and dynamics, concluding with a surprising episode of bare octaves. “A novel in a sigh,” indeed. The three-minute Than (1991) translates DeLio’s concerns into orchestral proportions—denser textures, a broader palette of colors, sporadic activity, as if Schoenberg’s Five Pieces, op. 16, were plotted according to a Feldman graph score. In comparison, the 30-minute “aengus” (2013) is DeLio’s Das Lied von der Erde; a tape-manipulated counterpoint of words, voices, instruments, and subterranean electronics. Here, and moreso in Song: “Foxrock near Dublin…” (2005), amounts. to. (2002), and “sam” (2010), the non-syntactical, fragmented, and collaged poetry of P. Inman is voiced in flat, uninflected tones, reduced, excerpted, and at times layered into an Ivesian chorus of complexity, emphasizing and multiplying the text’s “acoherence”—a term suggested by poet and literary and music critic Richard Kostelanetz to correspond with atonality in music.

            Previous Fanfare critics have had favorable responses to DeLio’s music. Mike Silverton, in Fanfare 16:1, decided Against the silence was “a beautiful work,” and in Fanfare 19:5 praised a Neuma recording of six of his pieces as “wonderful, palliative stuff for these sound-soaked times.” Robert Kirzinger, in Fanfare 21:6, called DeLio “a provocative musical thinker” and acknowledged “his uniqueness appeals to me,” even though he felt two of his text-based tape pieces were “not particularly effective.” From these earlier recordings, only one performance, the solo piano Though, seems to have been recycled; the solo percussion piece as though is revisited, but appears in a new performance by a different player. It should be noted that the DVD is, for the most part, devoid of images, the exception being “sam” (a non-specific tribute to Beckett, I wonder?), which presents us with an assortment of visual columns of word fragments, clusters of letters, and drawings derived from word fragments, dots, and erasures. Chosen, I assume, because of the extended playing time, the DVD offers each work in two types of sound reproduction, surround sound or quad (again, “sam” is the lone exception) and stereo. All things considered, I’d start with the CD, a well-filled, more diverse program, and an ear-opening introduction to DeLio’s unconventional sensibility. The overly literal minded may not appreciate the mystery and eccentricity of DeLio’s sound world, but as with any uncharted territory, there are wondrous strange discoveries to be made there.

                                                     

Review:  Thomas DeLio: space /image / word / sound II

Hbdirect.com (2017

https://www.hbdirect.com/album_detail.php?pid=3287572

 

Notes & Reviews:

space/image/word/sound II offers a rich journey through two-years' worth (2014-2015) of Thomas DeLio's purely electroacoustic creations for computer-generated sound and processed poetry. DeLio seems to have made music that conceptualizes sound as objects in space, more like a visual artist might. These compositions turn the idea of linearity inside out so that sound is no longer time-oriented and, instead, becomes an articulation of spatial volume. DeLio makes it nearly impossible for listeners to get their bearings due to the quantity or positioning of sound in the surround space. Now, instead of hearing sound unfold over time, the experience begins to emphasize textures that create a feeling of spatial depth and the sense of sonic pressure, where time is not even a consideration. Even when texts are source materials, the music feels like a series of sonic explorations that completely eschew any sense of formal design. It seems that, for DeLio, form is no longer important since the whole idea is to stay in the moment. Yet, there is somehow a clear feeling of overall unity coming from the sonic characteristics of each composition - perhaps formal designs that are completely outside of time, like we might experience with paintings. This music is by its very nature a radical departure from composition as we presently understand it.

This DVD is in 5.0 surround-sound audio (no stereo versions are provided) for five full-spectrum speakers with no channel sent to the subwoofer. The configuration is front center, front left and right, and rear surround left and right. The disc menu appears on screen with composition titles that can be selected out of order, but the disc has been welldesigned for listening from beginning to end.




Recording Review, Against the silence...
Fanfare Magazine; Issue 16:1 (Sept/Oct 1992)

 Computer Music Currents 9 (WERGO 282 028-2 [DDD]; (Distributed by Harmonia Mundi USA.) BENNETT Kyotaku, YUASI Towards “The Midnight Sun“—Homage to Ze-Ami, DELIO Against the silence. . ., ALBRIGHT Sphaera.

 ...Thomas DeLio (1985/86) Against the Silence . . . , for percussion ensemble and four-channel computer-generated tape... “Throughout the work,“ the composer remarks, “sound arises from decays into a silence which ultimately overwhelms it—hence the title, from the work of the great American poet Paul Blackburn“... Silence indeed dominates this beautiful work. I'd love to hear a staged, surround-sound performance.
 
 


Recording Review

Percorsi Musicali

Pensieri sulla musica contemporanea

 

Thomas DeLio and the Aesthetics of Intermittence

 

Daniel Barbiero
Diritti Riservati - Pubblicato da Daniel Barbiero a 15:18



Thomas Delio (b. 1951) è un compositore che lavora con un senso espansivo dei suoni e degli spazi interni ad essi. Una raccolta di opere selezionate, pubblicate dall'etichetta discografica Neuma, fornisce un compendio efficace del suo lavoro nel periodo 1991-2013. La raccolta comprende opere strumentali, produzione di testi, e pezzi meramente elettronici. Anche se i pezzi differiscono l'uno dall'altro in termini di formato, materiali e orchestrazione, tutti condividono quella che potremmo chiamare una estetica di intermittenza, cioè, un focus sul suono che si materializza in ben definite isole di tempo.

 

_________________________________________________________________________

 

 

The turn away from pitch and toward sound as such as the fundamental element of musical composition and performance is one of the hallmarks of a significant strain of late twentieth century art music. This reevaluation of the relative weights of compositional elements continues to exert an influence on composers and performers, many of whom take for granted the status of pitch as one point along a larger compass of sounds. Thomas DeLio is one such composer for whom this expansive sense of musical sound, and the consequently catholic sonic palette to which it gives rise, opened a field in which his own practice could flourish.

 

DeLio (b. 1951) studied under Robert Cogan at the New England Conservatory of Music, after which he pursued interdisciplinary studies in music, mathematics and visual art. He is a music theorist as well as a composer, having written or contributed to many academic books and journals since the late 1970s. His compositions, which were inspired by the sonic and formal vocabularies of such forerunners as Iannis Xenakis, John Cage and others, draw on the full range of sound sources available to contemporary composers--pitched and unpitched acoustic instruments, voice, and electronics—as well as on the organizational possibilities opened up by disjunctive forms. This can be heard in the compilation of selected works recently released on the Neuma label, which provides a substantial survey of his work over the period 1991-2013. The collection includes instrumental works, mostly for soloists or small groups, settings of texts, and purely electronic pieces. Although the pieces differ from one another in terms of format, materials and orchestration, all of them share what might be called an aesthetic of intermittence—that is, a focus on sound as such standing alone in well-defined islands of time.

 

The electronic compositions z, rb (2000) and ,c el, f (2001) exemplify DeLio’s work in that medium. In both pieces, each of which is of less than two minutes’ duration, brief bursts of electronic sounds, some lasting no more than one second, are separated by much longer expanses of sonically empty space. Than (1991), the only work for orchestra represented here, similarly intersperses sound blocks and pitch collections with long silences over its approximately four minute length. The same structural sense informs the pairings of what DeLio calls “deconstructions”—works that involve the electronic manipulation of a recording of a performance of a prior composition—with the original works that provided their source material. As though (1991) for solo percussion, realized by Jeffrey Gram, is an episodic survey of the drum kit; the “deconstruction” as though/of (1999) modifies the shapes and timbres of Gram’s performance while retaining its distinctive profile.

 

DeLio’s interest in fragmentary sounds comes into play in a conceptually intriguing way in his settings of texts, particularly in his settings of poetry by P. Inman, here represented by Song: “aengus” (2013). Inman, a writer associated with the East Coast branch of “language” poetry, breaks language into shards of isolated words or non-signifying combinations of letters. This is analogous to DeLio’s separation of sounds into objects conveying only their formal properties of timbre, duration, dynamics and occasionally pitch. To read Inman’s poetry is to read linguistic elements that refuse to represent reality but rather insist on embodying a concrete reality in themselves; similarly, DeLio’s sounds appear not to want to function as parts of larger musical motifs but instead to be motifs in and of themselves, or at least the functional equivalent of motifs.

 

In all of these works, and in DeLio’s work more generally, silence acts as a boundary or frame. Long passages devoid of musical or sonic activity act as interstices by virtue of which sounds are set off from one another to be heard as independent entities. Their discontinuity vests them with a certain fleetingness or intermittence. But in defining boundaries between sounds and casting them as events, these interstices also set up relationships between and among those events. The empty passage—the negative space—both links the succeeding event to a preceding event and creates the larger context in which events transpire. Negative spaces thus engender a set of structural relationships—separations, adjacencies, priority and succession and so forth. And these relationships make possible the qualitative relationships that allow us to hear similarities and differences based on such sonic parameters as timbre, pitch, duration, dynamics and phrasing.

 

In the end an aesthetic of intermittence is an aesthetic of relationships, and one in which the attentive perception of the qualities of individual sound objects can be cultivated and indeed relished. DeLio’s work affords many opportunities for doing just such a thing.

 







Recording Review, Against the silence...  Of, Though, anti-paysage, so again, on again, of again

Mike Silverton

Fanfare Magazine Issue 19:5 (May/June 1996)
 
DASHOW Morfologie, Punti di Vista No. 2, Reconstructions, DELIO anti-paysage, Of, Though, so again, on again, of again,  • NEUMA 450-90 (Distributed by Albany.)

 

This excellent Neuma CD is a must-have for the collector who takes a particular interest in new music's electroacoustic possibilities. Both James Dashow and Thomas Delio are consummate computer-studio craftsmen and imaginative artists of sharply contrasting temperaments. As concept, term, and practice, minimalism is in its dotage, its post-post stage. To paraphrase another's remark (can't remember who), a typical, first-generation minimalist work is upholstered to bursting with maximums. To begin, then, on a note of aesthetic leastness, we've these six Thomas DeLio items which, iota for iota, sum to fifteen seconds, say, of prime Reich or Andriessen. The long and pungent silences may be Cage's contribution. The nitty-gritty is DeLio's, and where and when it falls on the ear comes to a luscious experience—in the cerebral sense; you'll find no pomegranates here. From DeLio's notes: “My approach . . . involves the reduction of [surfaces] to a few disjunct sound events [pushed apart] by large quantities of silence; sound events pushed into isolation. Moreover, I find myself reducing [events] to only the barest essentials, anti-paysage (1990), [for] flute, percussion, piano, and computer-generated tape . . . constitutes [an extensive exploration] of discontinuity and non-linearity. I [incorporate] enormous spans of silence . . . without losing the coherence of a single musical evolution.“ Trust a composer to say it just so. This listener reports a handsome outcome. The traycard has it wrong: Through (1993) is for solo piano, not tape. The remaining, succinctly titled pieces are for tape alone, the core aesthetic obtaining throughout. Wonderful, palliative stuff for these sound-soaked times.

Now for the pomegranates. The acoustic half of James Dashow's Morfologie (1993) consists of an homage-laden trumpet, Miles Davis and Chet Baker its objects of esteem. One needed to see the notes for names; the cool-jazz demeanor would be obvious to a geranium. As always, the magic resides in electronicacoustic interaction, and few do it better than Dashow, an expatriate living in Italy. In Reconstructions (1992), a timbrai kinship between harp and its lustrous electronic counterpart, the latter filling the broader stage, serves as frankly beautiful material for a remarkably subtle, elegantly crafted piece. Again, few do it better. Dashow wrote Punti di Vista No. 2 (Points of View, 1976, revised 1990) for composer-pianist Frederic Rzewsky, as one of a series of works for specific performers. The pieces take their subtitles—in the present instance, Montiano, a small hill town where Rzewsky once lived—from views and vistas the music's dedicatees propose. It's an interesting idea filled in the doing with Dashow's peculiarly wonderful way with stressed colors and fleeting moods. Excellent performances throughout in good recorded sound. Go for this one.





Recording Review, “Foxrock, near Dublin…” (2005) and “...zwischen den Worten” (2006)

 

Michael Boyd

Computer Music Journal, Vol. 35 Issue 4

 

Space/Sound: Multichannel Electroacoustic Music by Thomas DeLio, Thomas Licata, Agostino Di Scipio, Kristian Twombly, Kees Tazelaar, and Linda DusmanDVD, 2008, Capstone Records, CPS-8811; available from Capstone Records, 252 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11205-3612, USA; telephone 718-852-2919; fax 718-852-2925; Web capstonerecords.org.

Reviewed by Michael Boyd
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Roger Reynolds’s DVD Watershed IV, released by Mode Records in 1998, was the first contemporary music DVD to feature spatialized sound specifically designed for home 5.1 -channel diffusion. Since that time, DVDs featuring 5.1 surround-sound have become an increasingly popular way for composers to release multi-channel music. Space/Sound is a striking 2008 release from Capstone Records that continues this practice. This DVD features music by six composers: Thomas DeLio, Thomas Licata, Agostino Di Scipio, Kristian Twombly, Kees Tazelaar and Linda Dusman, whose works were created between 2004 and 2008 and represent a broad range of technical and aesthetic approaches. This diversity and the overall quality of each piece make the disc delightful to hear.

The DVD begins with songs entitled, “Foxrock, near Dublin…”(2005) and “...zwischen den Worten” (2006), two works by DeLio whose music is surely familiar to many readers. These pieces, like several of this composer’s recent compositions, are electroacoustic settings of poetry, specifically poems by P. Inman and Paul Celan, respectively. The sounds of each composition are derived from readings of the poems, and notably, in the case of “Foxrock, near Dublin…,” that reading is by the poet. In the DVD liner notes, the composer articulates his larger approach to text- setting by quoting German musicologist Jürg Stenzl, who writes, “setting a poem means translating it into a completely different medium. In doing so, the text can be broken up, can disappear, or can even be impossible to hear.” Indeed, these works are far from linear presentations of each poem. In the setting of Inman’s poem, one hears fragments of the poem intertwined with continuously fluctuating, inharmonic textures that seem to reflect the sonic structure of the text while thoroughly blurring the words themselves. At times when Inman’s voice is clearly audible, DeLio superimposes multiple readings of the same line of text, thus presenting multiple perspectives on those lines while slightly obscuring the words themselves. Many of these same techniques are observable in “...zwis chen den Worten.” In this work the composer incorporates whispered readings of the poem, which sonically reflect the noisy nature of the initial two words of the first Celan poem: schwimmhäute and zwischen. These whispered lines seem to be placed in opposition to semi-pitched, almost bell-like, inharmonic gestures at the work’s outset. As the piece progresses, clearly spoken lines of text emerge that eventually seem to merge with the inharmonic sounds, integrating the initially oppositional elements. Notably, both works incorporate periods of silence that allow the pieces to breathe, though not to the same degree found in much of DeLio’s earlier work.

Overall, Space/Sound is characterized by significant aesthetic and technical diversity. The ability to experience the works of these six composers in four or five channels, rather than two, makes hearing these works a much richer experience that is, importantly, closer to each composer’s creative intentions. Listening to these pieces is simultaneously challenging and rewarding. I highly recommend this recording!

 

 






Recording Review, “think on parch"

Thomas Licata

Computer Music Journal, Volume 27, Issue 2

MUSIC/TEXT II:  Thomas DeLio, Agostino Di Scipio, Linda Dusman, Wesley Fuller, Michael Hamman

Compact disc, 2001, Capstone CPS-8693; available from Capstone Records, 252 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11205, USA; World Wide Web www.capstonerecords.org/.

Reviewed by Thomas Licata
Oneonta, NewYork, USA

MUSIC/TEXT II, Capstone Records’ second release of text-based pieces, presents a rich and diverse compilation of works that, like the first (MUSIC/TEXT, Capstone CPS-8669), continues to address and explore the setting of text in a contemporary musical idiom. Comprised of works composed exclusively for the electroacoustic medium (the first release consists of a superb collection of electronic and mixed ensemble pieces), MUSIC/TEXT II features the music of five very different composers, each approaching the setting of text of five very different poets/writers in exceptionally unique and highly imaginative ways.

...

The last work on the CD, think on parch (1997) by Thomas DeLio, is a stunning and highly original work. Based on a setting of four poems by the American poet Peter Inman, the work’s sound materials are nearly entirely derived from Mr. Inman’s recorded voice. Mr. DeLio writes: “rather than set words to music in the traditional sense, I’ve used electronic means to present and often transform the poet’s own reading of his work.” The four songs articulate a wide-ranging treatment of the text, from rather straightforward, unaltered readings, to complete transformations that at times leave the text nearly unintelligible. A particularly striking moment is found near the end of the third song. Alternating and overlapping with Mr. Inman’s reading of the text, the voices of both poet and composer are heard discussing issues raised during the recording session. This effect adds an utterly striking dimension to the work, not only further elaborating and transforming the setting itself, but its process as well. Indeed, it is this unique treatment of sonic materials together with the rather bold exploration of formal structures that make Mr. DeLio’s music so fresh and exciting.

Comprised of highly original text-based electroacoustic pieces, MUSIC/TEXT II offers yet another compilation of exciting works exhibiting a wide array of innovative approaches to text setting in the contemporary domain. Hopefully, this series of stimulating and challenging music will continue to be released.



Performance Review, amounts. to. (sound installation)
 
CK Barlow
 

 John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium/University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 30 March–2 April, 2003

Reviewed by CK Barlow
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Across all manner of interactions, people tend to notice a particular quality in others when they themselves possess that same quality. In a review of Roger Reynolds’ work as recorded by the Arditti String Quartet (Computer Music Journal 26/2, Summer 2002: 103-107), Thomas DeLio asserts that Mr. Reynolds seeks to refocus the listener’s attention on the process of perception and, in the end, “helps us to understand that we each impose a unique sense of coherence on the world as we perceive it” (p. 104). Whether seen as a scholar’s natural preoccupation with a favorite concept or as a meta-statement about that concept’s basis in human nature, Mr. DeLio’s comments go a long way toward helping us understand his own compositional philosophy.
Currently a Professor in the Department of Music of the University of Maryland at College Park, Mr. DeLio is an active composer and an articulate theorist. His articles have appeared in numerous journals; he has contributed to, edited, and co-edited numerous books; and he is at work on a third book of his own dealing with topics in contemporary music. As a composer, Mr. DeLio has focused much of his recent effort on computer-aided composition and electronic sound installations. His compositions have been included on 10 CDs as of this writing; a stereo CD version of amounts. to. is forthcoming on the Centaur label. Mr. DeLio’s installations have appeared in such institutions as The Baltimore Museum of Art, and The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. His pieces m,nce and plinh,h were reviewed by Thomas Licata in Computer Music Journal 25/1 (Spring 2001).

For two decades, Mr. DeLio has explored the effects and possibilities of isolating sounds within a work, primarily by using long silences between events. In the first of these, Against the silence... (1984-85), for percussion and computer-generated tape, he used related, but evolving, sounds to contribute to a sense of coherence despite the long silences. Later works such as between (1991), for flute and percussion ensemble, also employed long silences but began a move away from clear relationships between sound events, adding a second dimension of isolation.

This move was completed by the next year with the pieces as again and so on, both for computer-generated tape, in which just a few potent sound events populate relatively short pieces—as again is slightly more than six minutes in duration, so on just shy of two minutes and mostly silent—in an effort to make the pieces themselves stand as isolated moments. Comparable pieces from slightly later include so again, on again, and of again, all composed in 1994 as recordings of computer-generated sounds.

As stated by the composer in numerous writings and in conversation, his intent in isolating sounds is for “everything to be segmented, halted, separated. I have no interest in memory, which seems to me an illusion. Only the direct perception of the moment seems important to me.” This intent could hardly be better served than by Mr. DeLio’s collaborations over the past six years with poet Peter Inman. Mr. Inman is part of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E movement, which recognizes the inherent problems of language as imprecise and inevitably different in meaning to each new reader. Rather than fight these problems, Mr. Inman and like-minded poets relish them, accepting imprecision and connotation as virtues.

“ The interesting thing about these poets and what really resonated with my music,” Mr. DeLio noted in conversation, “is that traditionally we use language to project a world view, but we don’t recognize that the way we say things colors everything we understand. These poets’ whole take on language is to write a piece that allows multiple views to come through each time.” Like Mr. DeLio’s compositions, Mr. Inman’s poems consist of variably sparse or dense events separated by silence: specifically, variably-sized clusters of words, non-words, and phrases delimited by periods and vertical space, some suggesting sense or meaning, and others not at all. In both men’s work, the perceiver is guided away from the artist’s own symbols and meanings and toward something more fundamental and personal.

Mr. DeLio has set several of Mr. Inman’s texts as tape pieces in which recordings of the poet reading are processed in a consistent way with the composer’s approach in past pieces and ably reflecting the spirit and structure of the texts. Mr. DeLio saw an installation piece as the logical next step, a way of creating “a room of language” with the listener at its center. As he envisions it, amounts. to. comprises a swirling of words and sounds that must be organized by the listener and that will be constantly reorganized as the listener moves through the space, ultimately making clear that “there is no one perceptual stance, no one linguistic stance.”

Toward this goal, Mr. DeLio assembled the piece as three CDs containing one stereo track each, each with different content and length, played simultaneously and looping continually. The tracks’ lengths are sufficient, and sufficiently different, to guarantee that they will not return to their original phase within a reasonably long visit to the installation. As a result, the visitor experience is unique per person, per visit. Even within a visit, the experience changes as the visitor moves through the space because of the distribution of content to loudspeakers and of the loudspeakers in the space, as will be described shortly. Far more than technical detail, this decision demonstrates careful consideration of the medium.

All of the audio is based on recordings of the poet reading amounts. to., each track being a different page of the poem. The first track is unprocessed, but is edited to produce a mixture of time-isolated single words and phrases; the single words tend to be louder and have a closer presence than the phrases. The second and third tracks are highly processed, yielding metallic scrapes, murky orchestral whirls, twisting snakelike shimmers and hisses, shoreline ebbs of white noise, percussive snaps, cymbals, filter-drawn cries, rattles, bells, and thuds.

The three CDs are routed to separate loudspeaker systems: the unprocessed voice to a pair of floor speakers, and each of the processed tracks to its own overhead stereo dome. The specific dome-enclosure product chosen by Mr. DeLio finds use primarily in sound-isolation applications, for example workstations requiring audio but situated within shared spaces. As used by Mr. DeLio, however, the volume sent to each dome is sufficient that a visitor need not stand directly beneath it to hear its content. This contributes to the effect of a swirl of words and sounds in the room and, fortunately, circumvents any hint of a “find the hidden sounds” game in the installation. Again, this detail is critical: were there a game or a trick involved, it would necessarily be played on the visitor by the composer, a dynamic contrary to Mr. DeLio’s goals. Movement instead is a source of control for the visitor.

The installation setting was a small, doorless room encompassed by a larger room of the University of New Mexico Art Museum. The installation might have benefited from a slightly bigger room with sound-absorbing materials, though not so large as to risk loss of interaction between sounds. The floor loudspeakers were in the corners to the left and right of the entrance, and the overhead domes were spaced evenly across the center of the ceiling, also from left to right. Movement around the room had the intended effect, adjusting the mix of the three tracks according to the visitor’s changing distance from each loudspeaker assembly.

More critical than room size was the balance of the three tracks, particularly as it affected the first, unprocessed track’s ability to commingle with the others. On this track, the single-word content was quite similar from word to word in delivery and presence, and the floor loudspeakers that carried the track had far stronger bass response than the overhead dome speakers. Combined with an overall loud volume given the room’s size, the result was that one could not help but hear the single words as separate from, rather than interacting with, the other sounds.

Fortunately, the levels were much better balanced during my second visit to the installation and achieved true equality between the sounds, creating a darkly beautiful mesh of ever-evolving sonic and spatial textures that would easily endure repeated, lengthy visits and contemplation.

Among Mr. DeLio’s compositions, the density of sound in amounts. to. sets this piece apart. Here, the breakdown of association between sounds comes not from silences but instead from the mixture of sound types and the constant reorganization of sounds in relation to the others in the room. In fact, the more dense the texture, the more effectively the piece obscures any relationship between sounds; even the first, relatively intelligible, track can become immersed in the whole.

Still, I would be curious to hear the results of swapping the loudspeaker assignments so that the processed sounds are routed to the floor set and the unprocessed voice to one or both of the domes. I also wonder if Mr. DeLio has considered using an assortment of voices, rather than just a single voice, to remove another layer of relationship between consecutive sounds.

I was confused by the decision not to provide information about the piece that might make it more accessible to the typical museum-goer. “All sounds based on the voice of the poet” would suffice, or “computer-processed human voice.” This would be in keeping not only with the museum convention of labeling artworks to indicate media, but also with Mr. DeLio’s intent to let the visitor control, rather than be controlled by, the experience. I tested my theory on one visitor whom I had already seen approach the room, peek in from the threshold, and then retreat. I told her that everything she heard was based on recordings of a human voice. Her countenance brightened with surprise and interest, and she went back to the room and this time entered.

In Mr. DeLio’s own words, again from his Roger Reynolds review, “the framework of our perceptions determines the extent and limits of our ability to fashion any sense of order out of all that we perceive” (p. 104). Is the installation, then, a test of each visitor’s ability to find form in a room spinning with deliberately dissociated sounds? Given a test on which the author intends no single right answer, providing basic information about the materials of construction in no way diminishes the challenge or the visitor’s capacity for unique interpretation—assuming one does not consider misidentification of sounds a worthwhile interpretation. Granted, the notion of the individual’s world view holds up here: in my own work and community, I find myself increasingly concerned with spurring audience interest in new music; that is, with getting people over the threshold and into the room. Small point though it might be, I cannot help but see Mr. DeLio’s decision through my own filter.

Ultimately, I am most intrigued by the relationship between two fundamental ideas put forth by the composer: that memory is an illusion, and that people perceive things according to their own world views. What is a person’s world view if not an assimilation of experience and memory into guidelines for explaining one’s surroundings? Comparison and analogy are two of the most powerful learning tools possessed by humans; we develop these tools early in life and rely heavily on them.

Mr. DeLio has taken on the tremendous challenge of wresting those tools away, compelling listeners to hear a sound event as just itself rather than in terms of surrounding events. The ability to perceive a moment out of context, however, runs counter to much of Western thinking, such that just to demonstrate the possibility is a noble effort. How different things might be were we all able to hear, and see, and feel, each moment anew.

 

Recordings

 

 

All recordings are available through their respective labels as well as Amazon, CDUniverse and Albany Music Distributors.  In addition, all recordings marked by asterisk are available through Neuma (www.neuma-music.com).
 
*Thomas DeLio: Selected Composition II (1972-2015): inents (versions 1 and 2, 2015; tape), anti-paysage (1990; flute, percussion, piano), anti-paysage II (2013; tape), -en / l'espace de (2007; soprano, orchestra), x, e (1999; tape); Text (1983; piano solo), inc,e (1999; tape), Transparent Wave II (1993; piano), m,nce (1999; tape), not (1992, piano, percussion) Serenade (1974; piano), n,c (1998; tape), A Draft of Shadows (1972; soprano, percussion ensemble.

*Thomas DeLio: space / image / word / sound II: après Belle-Isle (2014; tape), Hörreste (2014; tape), inents (versions 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 2015; tape), In Prag (2014; tape), Saketeiki (2014; tape), Schaufäden (2014; tape), Sichtbar (2014, tape), Vorflut (2014; tape), Weissgrau (2014; tape).

* Thomas DeLio:Selected Compositions 1991-2013:Belle-Isle I-IV (2003; tape), transients / images (2006; percussion, piano), …transients (2011; tape), Though (1993; piano solo), XXXIII - XXVII (2007; tape), as though (1994; percussion solo), as though / of (1999; tape ), between (1991; flute, piano, 3 percussionists) , z,rb (2000; tape), Center (1999; solo voice), Center / s (2000; tape), Than (1991; orchestra), ,c,el,f (2001; tape), that light (1989/2009; solo soprano) , Song: “aengus”(2013, tape), Zilahn (2004; tape) (Neuma 450-108, 2013).
 

 * Thomas DeLio: space / image / word / sound: Song: Foxrock near Dublin…   et avant /  image,  …zwischen den Worten (Schwimmhäute, Redewände),   - qu’un espace / sépare, amounts. to.,  “sam”, “aengus” (Neuma 450-201, DVD; 2013).

 
Transparent Wave VI, vibraphone solo (Soundset Recordings SR1051; 2013).
 

 en / l’espace de… orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; part of the Masterworks of the New Era series; (Mt. Prospect, Illinois: ERMMedia, ERM-5999, 2009).

*Song: “Foxrock, near Dublin…” (Capstone, CPS-8811, DVD; 2008).

*…zwischen den Worten (Schwimmhäute, Redewände)  (Capstone, CPS-  8811, DVD; 2008).

*Center/s, tape (Neuma, 450-105, 2006).

 *Belle-Isle I-IV, tape (Neuma, 450-105, 2006).  See also Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma 450-201).

 *qu,m, tape (Neuma, 450-105, 2006).

wave / s, percussion solo (Centaur, CRC-2742, 2006).

 *Though, piano solo (Capstone, CPS-8745, 2005).  See also Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma 450-201).  Also see Neuma (450-90, 1995).

*Transparent Wave II, piano solo (Capstone, CPS-8745, 2005).

*Text, piano solo (Capstone, CPS-8745, 2005).

Than, orchestra (ERMMedia, ERM-6692, 2003);  part of the Masterworks of the New Era series.  See also Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma 450-201; quad version, ca. 17').

 *amounts. to. electronic opera (Centaur, CRC-2633, 2003; stereo version, ca 30').  See also Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma 450-201).

 *Center, soprano and chamber ensemble (Neuma,  450-102, 2002). See also ThomasDeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma 450-201, version for solo soprano).

 *as though, percussion solo (Neuma  450-102, 2002; part of chamber version of Center).  See also Capstone (CPS 8645, 1997), and Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma 450-201).

 *as though, again,  chamber ensemble (Neuma  450-102, 2002; part of chamber version of Center).

 *think on parch, tape (Capstone, CPS-8693, 2001).

 *“decker”, tape (Capstone, CPS-8669, 1999).

 *plinh,h, tape (Neuma, 450-99, 1999).

*m,nce, tape (Cambridge, MA: Neuma,450-99,1999).

*though, on, tape (Capstone, CPS 8645, 1997).

 *as though, percussion solo (Capstone, CPS 8645, 1997).  See also Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma450-201 ).  Also see Neuma  (450-102, 2002; part of chamber version of Center).

*so again, tape (Capstone, CPS 8645, 1997).

 *not, piano and percussion (Capstone, CPS 8645, 1997).

 *...a different liquid, tape (Capstone, CPS 8645, 1997).

 *to make / -as / in-, tape (Capstone, CPS 8645, 1997).

 * Against the silence..., percussion ensemble and four-channel tape, (Paris: 3D Classics, 3D-8014, 1996).  See also Wergo (Mainz: Wergo, WER 2029-2, 1992).

 *"because the..., tape (Neuma, 450-92, 1996).

 *Pine, Bamboo, Plum, tape (Neuma,  450-92, 1996).

 *so on, computer generated tape (Paris: 3D Classics, 3D-8014, 1996).

*as again, computer generated tape (Paris: 3D Classics, 3D-8014, 1996).

*between, flute, percussion ensemble (Paris: 3D Classics, 3D-8014, 1996). See also ThomasDeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013  (Neuma).

 *anti-paysage, flute, piano, percussion, tape (Neuma 450-90, 1995).

 *Of, tape (Neuma 450-90, 1995).

 *Though, piano (Neuma 450-90, 1995).  See also Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 1991-2013 (Neuma 450-201).

 *so again, tape (Neuma 450-90, 1995).

*on again, tape (Neuma 450-90, 1995).

*of again, tape (Neuma 450-90, 1995).

 *contrecoup..., chamber ensemble (Neuma 450-81, 1993).

 Against the silence..., percussion ensemble and four-channel tape, (Mainz: Wergo, WER 2029-2, 1992); part of the ComputerMusic Currents series.  See also 3D Classics, (3D-8014, 1996).

 

 

LPs

 

*Partial Manifolds, wind ensemble (Spectrum, SR-302, 1985).

*Gestures, saxophone and piano (Spectrum, SR-l63, l982).

*Marginal Developments, piano solo (Spectrum, SR-l44, l982).

*Serenade, piano solo (Spectrum, SR-l28, l980).

 

 

 

 

Compositions (and Publishers)

 

Unless specified otherwise all compositions are available through Neuma  (www.neuma-music.com)

Smith  =  Smith Publications/Sonic Art Editions ( www.smith-publications.com )

Semar =  Semar Editore (www.semarweb.com)

 

 

1969       Sonata for Piano (piano solo); ca. 7’.  (withdrawn)

 
              Water, text - Robert Lowell ( soprano, violin, piano); ca.  4’.  (withdr
 
 

1970        Media Luna (soprano, 3 Bb cl., vln. vla. vcl.), texts- Federico Garcia Lorca; ca. 6'.      (withdrawn)

 
Opus 7 (four instrumentalists and live electronics); indeterminate duration.     (withdrawn)             
               
                Opus 8 (live electronic installation); indeterminate duration.  (withdrawn)
 
               Tracings (piano and live electronics); ca. 12-18’.  (withdrawn)

 

 
1971       Sonata for piano (on one note); ca. 5'.
                The River Merchant’s Wife (2 vln., vla., vcl.);  ca. 5'.
 
String Quartet; ca. 4’
 
Dance Space (dancer and live electronics); indeterminate duration.  (withdrawn)
 
Threshold Spaces (live electronics); indeterminate duration.  (withdrawn)
 
 

1972         A Draft of Shadows, texts - Octavio Paz (soprano, piano, 3 perc); ca. 9'.

 
Cassandra (chorus SATB, vcl., perc.) text-Robinson Jeffers; ca. 13'.
 
Chamber Symphony No. 1  (ob., Bb cl. Bb bass cl., 2 Bb tpts., 6 vln, 2 vl., 2 vcl.); ca. 2 ½’.
 
Chamber Symphony No. 2  (fl., Bb cl., Sop, Sax., hn., C tpt., 4 vln., 4 vla., 4 vcl.); ca. 1 ½’.
 
 
1973         Gestures  (soprano sax., piano); ca. 8'  Semar.
 
Traces (fl., Bb cl., alto sax., vln, vla  vcl., piano); ca. 9'.
 
Marginal Developments  (piano solo); ca. 9'  Semar.
 
 

1974         Serenade (piano solo); ca. 9'  Semar.

 
 

1977         I-VI (ob., Bb cl., alto sax., Bb tpt., 2 Bass cl., 2 bsn.); two sets; ca. 3' per set.

 
4 Series/I,II,III,IV  (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vcl.); ca. 3' per series.
 
 

1978         (untitled) installation; Brown University, Providence, RI.

 

1979         (untitled) installation; Brown University, Providence, RI.

 
Four (8-79) (3 Bb cl., soprano sax., alto sax., tenor sax., 4 vln., 2 vla.); three sets,  ca. 3’, per set.
 
 

1980        Five (6-80) (2 Bb cl., Bb Bass cl., soprano sax., alto sax., tenor sax., 6 vln); ca. 4'.

 
Five (8-80) (10 vln., 4 vla., 4 vcl.); 5 sets, ca. 4' per set.

 

1981       Six (1-81) (Bb cl./Bb ball cl., Bb tpt. 6 vln.); two sets, ca. 4' per set.

            
    Six Variants I (2 fl., alto fl., 3 Bb cl., 12 vln., 2 vla.); eight sets, ca. 3' per set.

1982        Four Variants (4 vls., 4 vla., 4 vcl.); three sets, ca. 2' per set. 1982 Four Variants (4 vls., 4 vla., 4 vcl.); three sets, ca. 2' per set. 
                Five Variants I (2 fl., alto fl., 3 Bb cl., 6 vln.); three sets, ca. 3' per set.
 
               Six (4-82) (6 vln., 4 vla., 2 vcl.); three sets, ca. 4' per set.
   
               Four (9-82) (3 Bb cl., 4 vln., 2 vla.); ca. 2'.
 
 
1983      Sequence (piano solo); ca. 8'  Smith.

         Text (piano solo); ca. 8'  Smith.

         (untitled) installation; Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC.

         (untitled) installation; Kornblatt Gallery, Washington, DC.

         (untitled) installation; UMBC Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD.

         Six (1-83) (3 Bb cl., 4 vln., 2 vla.); ca. 4'.

 

1984      4 (6 vln.); ca. 2'.

         3 (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 1'.

        Six Variants II (2 fl., alto fl., 3 Bb cl, 4 vln., 4 vla., 4 vcl.); six sets, ca. 3' per set.

         (untitled) installation; Baltimore Museum of Art Baltimore, MD.

         (untitled) installation, proposal; Boston University, Boston, MA.

         (untitled) installation, proposal; UMCP Art Gallery, College Park, MD.

 

1985       (untitled) installation; Strathmore Hall, Rockville, MD.

          Three (5-85) (2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 1'.

          Five (7-85) (Bb cl., 6 vln.); ca. 2'.

          Five Variants II (2 fl., alto fl., 3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); three sets, ca. 3' per set.

          Five Variants III (6 vln., 6 vla. 6 vcl.); three sets, ca. 3' per set.

 

1986      Against the silence... (perc. ensemble, piano, 4-channel tape);  ca. 20'.

        (untitled) installation, proposal; Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC.

         Four (5-86) (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 3'.

              Four (6-86)  (3 Bb cl., soprano sax., alto sax., tenor sax., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); three sets, ca. 3' per set.

         Six (7-86)  (Bb cl., Bb tpt., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); three sets, ca. 4' per set.

         Four (9-86)  (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 2'.

         Five (11-86) (3Bb cl., 4 vln., 2 vla.);ca. 3'

         Five (12-86)  (3 Bb cl., 2 vla.); ca. 2'.

 

1987    Five (1-87)  (3 Bb cl., oboe, 2 vla.); ca. 2'.

       Five (2-87)  (3 Bb cl., 2 vla.); ca. 5'.

       contrecoup... (soprano, fl., piano, perc.), text- Stéphane Mallarmé; ca. 9 1/2'  Smith.

       Transparent Wave (snare drum solo); ca. 2’  Smith.

       Five (6-87)  (fl., ob., 3 Bb cl.); ca. 2'.

       Five (7-87)  (fl., 3 Bb cl., 2 vln.); ca. 2'.

       Four (8-87)  (2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 2'.

       Five (8-87) (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 3'.

       Five (11-87) (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 3'.

       Five (12-87)  (3 Bb cl., Bb tpt., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 3'.

 

1988     Five (1-88)  (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 2'.

       Five (2-88)  (3 Bb cl., 4 vln.); ca. 3'.

       Five (3-88)  (Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 2'.

       Five (5-88)  (3 Bb cl., 2 Bb tpt., tbn.); ca. 4'.

       Six (5-88)  (3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 4'.

       Five (6-88)  (ob., 3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 3'.

       At Briggflatts meetinghouse  (soprano, piano), text - Basil Bunting; ca. 7'  Smith.

       the root, the sap (soprano, piano), text – Basil Bunting; ca. 13’.

 

1989    (6-89)  (ob., 3 Bb cl., Bb tpt., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 2'.

 

1990    Bright seaweed reaping (soprano, 3 Bb cl., piano, 2 perc.), text- Cid Corman; ca. 4'.

      Two Songs (soprano, 3 Bb cl., 2 perc., piano, harp), texts- Cid Corman; ca. 10'  Smith.

      anti-paysage  (fl., piano, perc., tape; ca. 10'.

 

1991   Of  (tape); ca. 3'.

      for  (fl., ob., Bb cl., vln., piano, perc.); ca. 2 ¾’.

          between  (fl., 3 perc.); ca. 3'.

          Than (orchestra: fl., ob., 2 Bb cl., bsn., 2 C tpt., tenor tbn., bass tbn.,  4 perc., harp, piano, 4 vln., 4 vla., 4 vcl., 4 cb.; ca. 4'.

 

1992   Equinox  (6 voices, 2 dancers, 4 perc.) text – William Bronk; ca. 4'.

           as again  (tape); ca. 6'.

     as so  (tape); ca. 6'.

     so on  (tape); ca. 2'.

     not  (piano, perc.); ca. 6'   Smith.

 

1993   Though  (piano solo); ca. 5'   Smith.

          Five (1-93)  (fl., ob., 3 Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla., 2 vcl.); ca. 3'.

      Transparent Wave II  (piano solo); ca. 1'.

 

1994    so again  (tape); ca. 2'.  

      on again   (tape); ca. 3'.  

      of again    (tape); ca. 4'. 

      Pine, Bamboo, Plum   (tape); ca. 2'.

      as though  (percussion solo);  ca. 2'   Smith.

 

1995    “because the... (tape); ca. 2'.                            

       as though, again  (fl., Bb cl., vln., perc., (one player)); ca. 2'  Smith.

       as though, so again  (fl., Bb cl., C tpt., vln., vcl., piano, perc.); ca. 2'   Smith.

             as though / after  (chamber orchestra: fl., ob., Bb cl., bsn., perc., vln. I (6), vln. II (6), vla. (4), vcl. (4), cb. (2); ca. 5'.

 

1996     to make / -as / in-  (tape) text – Leslie Scalapino; ca. 5'.

             que cela se puisse (speaker, fl., Bb cl., vln., cb., piano) text- Stéphane Mallarmé; ca. 1'.

        or (ob., 2 Bb cl., C tpt., vln., vcl., 1 perc.); ca. 2'.

 

1997      think on parch  (tape) text – P. Inman; ca. 19'.

        though, on  (tape); ca.2'.

              plin,h  (tape); ca. 1 3/4'.

        plin,x  (tape); ca . 1'.

        m,nce  (tape); ca. 2'.

        as in  (string orchestra); ca 2 ½’.

 

1998      n,mcr  (tape); ca. 1'.

              nna,c  (tape); ca. 1'.

            “decker”  (tape) text – P. Inman; ca. 9'.

        n,c  (tape); ca. 1'.

 

1999      x,e  (tape);  ca. 2'.
 
              inc,e  (tape); ca. 1'.
 
              Transparent Wave III (soprano solo) text- A. R. Ammons; ca. 2'.
 
              Center (soprano solo) texts- A. R. Ammons; ca. 8'.
 
              as though / of (tape); ca. 5'.

 

2000       qu,m  (tape); ca. 2'.

               qu,r  (tape); ca. 2'.

          z,rb  (tape); ca. 2'.

          Center / s  (tape); ca. 4'.

          Transparent Wave IV  (marimba solo); ca. 2'  Smith.

          Transparent Wave V  (cello solo); ca. 4'.

 

2001        et ainsi  (soprano, fl., ob., Bb cl., C tpt., tenor tbn., vln., vcl., piano, 2 perc.), texts – Stéphane Mallarmé; ca. 9'.
                ce,lf   (tape); ca. 1'.

           cel,f, (tape); ca. 1'.

          ,c,el,f  (tape); ca. 1'.

 

2002       amounts. to.   opera/installation for tape (six tracks), text – P. Inman; plays continuously over several days.

               so, between (fl., Bb cl., vcl., piano, perc.); ca. 2'.

 
2003       Belle-Isle I-IV  (tape); ca. 7'.

         wave / s  (percussion solo), based on Transparent Wave IV; ca. 4'.

         Transparent Wave VI  (vibraphone solo); ca. 2'.

 

2004        e/ede  (3 Bb cl., ob., bsn., C tpt., piano, vln., vla., vcl.); ca. 3'.

           e,nm  (fl., cl., vln., vcl., perc.); ca. 2'.

           Iol  (piccolo, Bb cl. Eng. Hn., Bb tpt., 2 vln., 2 vla.); ca. 2'.

           Ilil  (4 vln., 4 vcl.,); ca. 2'.

          alomn  (Bb cl., 2 vln., 2 vla.); ca. 2'.

          Zilahn  (tape); ca. 3'.

 

2005       IV-VIII (Bb clarinet and string quartet); 2 ½’.

               qu’un espace / sépare (percussion ensemble, soprano); ca. 5 ½’.

                mn, s  (fl., cello); 1 ¾’.

                Song: Foxrock near Dublin (tape, 5.1 surround), text – P. Inman; 8’.

 

2006         onnh I (fl., Bb cl. doubling bass cl., vln., cllo, piano, perc.); 2’.

                 onnh II (fl., ob., Bb cl. doubling bass cl., vln., vla., cello, piano, perc.); 2’.

                 transients / waves (percussion solo), based on Transparent Wave VI; 4’.

                 transients / images (percussion, piano), based on Transparent Wave VI ; 5 ½’.

                 transients / resonances (fl., Bb cl., vln., cello, perc., piano), based on Transparent

                 Wave VI; 5 ½’.

                XV-XXI  (3 Bb cl. vln., vcl., perc.); ca. 3 ½’.

                XI-XV  (Bb bass cl., bb tpt., vln, vla., vcl.); ca. 2 ½’.

                XIII-XVII (ob., Bb cl., Bb bass cl., C tpt., vln., vla., perc.); ca. 2 ¼’

 

2007       Transpaent Wave VII (saxophone solo); ca.  1 ¾’.

               Transparent Wave VIII (percussion solo); ca. 1 ¼’.

              …zwischen den Worten  (tape), texts – Paul Celan; ca. 8 ½’.

              - en / l’espace de… (XXVI-XXX) (soprano and chamber orchestra); ca. 2 ¼’.              

               XXIII-XXVII (tape); ca. 3’17”.

 

2008       ylm, n (XX-XXV) (ob., 3 Bb cl./1 doubling bass cl., soprano sax., alto sax.,  vln., vla.); ca. 3’.

               cs, s (XIV-XVII) (ob., Bb cl., vln., vla.); ca. 1 ¾’.

               sc, s (X-XIII) (ob., Bb. Cl., soprano sax., vln., vla.); ca. 1 ¾’.

               lymn (XXX- XXXIV) (fl., ob., Bb cl., bsn., 2 vin., vla., vcl.); ca. 1 ½’.

               XXXII- XXXVI (fl., ob., Bb cl., bsn., 2 vln., vla., vcl.); ca. 1 ½’.

               Sakuteiki (XXII-XXIV) (tape); ca. 6’

 

2009       Five Pieces for Piano (piano solo): ca. 4’.

                for string orchestra (10 vln., vla., vcl.): ca. 1 ¾’.

               folium (Bb cl., ob., soprano sax., 10 vln., vla., vcl.); ca. 5’.

               that light (soprano solo); ca. 6’.

 

2010     "sam",  opera/installation for tape (4 channels) and video (3 screens), text by P. Inman; plays continuously over several days.

             "sam", version for single widescreen hdtv, stereo; ca. 17'.

              jeu de timbres (percussion solo); ca. 6'.

              transients / interferences (fl. doubling picc. and bass fl., gtr., vln., perc. 1 player); ca. 5'.

 

2011      Quatre Petites Mélodies (1920), Erik Satie (orchestrated by Thomas DeLio); 3'.

            transients / refractions (orchestra); 5 1/2'.

             et avant / image (fl., 9 perc.); ca. 7'.

             et avant / image / aussi (fl., ob., Bb cl., alto sax., C tpt., tenor tbne., 9 perc.); ca. 7'.

             et avant / image/ l'autre (fl., ob., Bb cl., alto sax., C tpt., tenor tbne., 4 vln., 4 vla., 4 vcl., 9 perc.); ca. 7'.
 
2012     ...that light... (soprano, fl., Bb cl., C tpt., 1 per. harp, vln., vcl.), texts: Cid Corman; ca. 6'.
       
              …à l’autre, ainsi (fl., ob., Bb cl., alto sax., bsn., C tpt., tenor tbne., piano, harp, 4 vln., 4 vla., 4 vcl., 3 percussion); ca. 6 3/4'.
 
 2013     "aengus",    opera/installation for tape (6 channels), text by P. Inman; plays continuously over several days. 
 
                Song: “aengus”  (tape); ca. 5 1/4'.
 
                ...sound / shivering / silence (percussion solo); ca. 9'.
  

2014       ...sound /  shivering / silence II (percussion quartet); ca. 12'.

                 après Belle-Isle (tape, stereo); ca. 2'.

                Hörreste (Soundscrapes) (tape, surround); ca. 6 3/4'.

                In Prag (In Prague) (tape, surround); ca. 4 1/2'.

                Sakuteiki (tape, surround) version; ca. 6'.

                Schaufäden (Sight Threads) (tape, surround); ca. 3'.

                Sichtbar (Visible)  (tape, surround); ca. 5'.

               Vorflut (Outfall)  (tape, surround);  ca. 5'.

               Weissgrau (Whitegray) (tape, surround);  ca. 4'.


2015      ...sound /  shivering / silence III (percussion sextet); ca. 15'.

               Three Songs,(soprano and orchestra); ca. 6'.

               Spüren (Traces) (tape, surround); ca. 3'.

               inents (tape: Version 1, stereo, ca. 8 1/2'; Version 2, stereo, ca. 8 1/2'; Version 3, surround, ca. 10';
                                    Version 4, surround, ca. 5 1/2'; Version 5, surround with video, ca. 16 1/2';
                                    Version 6, surround, ca. 3'; Version 7. surround. ca. 5 1/2 minutes).

2016      et absence (violin and percussion ensemble); ca.  7'. 

              Spüren (Traces) (tape, surround); ca. 3'.

             inents (tape: sound installations, four versions); duration variable. 
 
 
 Books (author)
 

   The Collected Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Volume I (1980-2000) (The Edwin Mellen Press, forthcoming).

       

    The Amores of John Cage, as part of the College Music Society series Sourcebooks in American Music, with accompanying CD of historic   

    performance of Amores by John Cage (Pendragon Press: 2010).

 

    Circumscribing the Open Universe (Lanham, MD: The University Press of America, l983).

 

     L’Universo Aperto, Italian translation of Circumscribing the Open Universe (Rome: Semar Editore,  2001).

 

 

Books (editor and contributor)

 

         The Music of Morton Feldman, (London: Greenwood Press, 1996);  contributions - Introduction; “Last Pieces”; Bibliography;  Discography.  

    

           Contiguous Lines; Issues and Ideas in the Music of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s (Lanham, MD.: The University Press of America, l985);

           contributions - Introduction; “The Dialectics of  Structure and Materials: Iannis Xenakis’ Nomos Alpha”; “Sound, Gesture and Symbol.”

 

 

Books (co-editor with Stuart Smith)

 

       Twentieth Century Music Scores (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.; 1989).

 

            Words and Spaces (Lanham, MD: The University Press of America, 1989); contributions - Introduction; “Sound Installation: The

            Strathmore Hall Art Center.”

 

 Essays

             

              “Roger Reynolds,” (forthcoming).

 

             “A Web of Words: Elliott Carter’s End of a Chapter,” (College Music Symposium, Volume 56, 2016).

 

             “(ex)Congruities,” co-authored with P. Inman (The Contemporary Music Review, Vol. 34, Nos. 5-6, 2016), pp.478-492.


              “Introduction: Music/Text,” (The Contemporary Music Review, Vol. 34, Nos. 5-6, 2016), pp. 367-372.

 
             "The Marvelous Illusion: Morton Feldman’s The Viola in My Life (1)," (London: The Contemporary Music Review, Volume 32:6, 2014).
 
              "Dis-moi, Daphénéo…: Erik Satie’s Path to Modernism," (College Music Symposium, Vol. 51/52, 2013).
              
             “The Sonic Landscape: Bewegt by Anton Webern,” Thomas DeLio: Composer and Scholar (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007).
                           
             “su una nota sol: Giacinto Scelsi’s Quattro Pezzi, No. 3”, Thomas DeLio: Composer and Scholar (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007).
  
             “The Open Universe, Revisited,” Thomas DeLio: Composer and Scholar (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007).
 
             “Introduction,” Mind Models (second edition), Roger Reynolds. (New York: Routledge, 2005), pp. vii-xiv.
 
             “Iannis Xenakis’ Diamorphoses,” Electroacoustic Music: Analytical Perspectives, Thomas Licata, ed. (NY: Greenwood Press, 2002), pp. 41-57.
 
              “A Question of Order: Cage, Wolpe, and Pluralism,” The New York Schools of Music and Visual Arts, Steven Johnson, ed. (London: Routledge, 2002),
              pp. 135-157.
 
              “Xenakis,” Perspective of New Music (Vol. 39, No. 1; Winter, 2001), pp. 243.
 
              “On Christian Wolff” (English, French and German translations), Christian Wolff (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Etcetera Recordings, KTC 1227, 2000).
 
              “Robert Ashley,” Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Dr. Ludwig Finscher, ed. (Kassel: Barenreiter-Verlag, 1999).
 
               “Last Pieces, #3,” The Music of Morton Feldman, Thomas DeLio, ed. (London: Greenwood Press, 1996), pp. 39-68.
 
               “Language and Form in an Early Atonal Composition: Schoenberg’s Op. 19, No. 2,” The Indiana Theory Review (Vol. 15, No. 2; Fall, 1994), 
                pp. 17-20.
 
                “Time Transfigured: Erik Satie’s Parade,” The Contemporary Music Review (London: Vol. 7, No. 2, 1993), pp. 141-162.
 
                “The Complexity of Experience,” Perspectives of New Music (Vol. 31, No. 1, 1993; pp. 64-77).
 
         “contrecoup...: Nonlinearity and Computer Aided Composition,” Interface (Brussels: Vol. 20, 1991, pp. 153-163.
 
         “An Exercise: Dismantling the Silence,” Interface (Brussels: Vol. 18, No. 3, 1989), pp. 195-217.
  
                 “Sound Installation:  The Strathmore Hall Art Center,” Words and Spaces, Thomas DeLio and Stuart Smith, editors (Lanham, MD.: The
                  University Press of America, 1989), pp197-207.
 
                  “Structure and Strategy: Iannis Xenakis’ Linaia-Agon”, Interface (Brussels: Vol. 16, No. 3, 1987), pp. 143-164.
 
                   “A Proliferation of Canons II: Luigi Dallapiccola’s Goethe Lieder, No. 6,” Interface (Brussels: Vol. 16, Nos. 1-2, 1987), pp. 38-47.
 
                   “A Proliferation of Canons: Luigi Dallapiccola's Goethe Lieder No. 2,” Perspectives of New Music (Vol. 23, No. 2, l985), pp. l86-l95.
 
                   “Spectra,” Brass Bulletin (Bülle, Switzerland: No. 49, l985), pp. l02-l03. 
 
                    “Lecture: Return and Recall,” Percussive Notes (Research Edition; Vol. 22,  No. 6, l984), pp. 76-81.
 
                    “Structure as Behavior: Christian Wolff's For l, 2 or 3 People,” Percussive Notes (Research Edition; Vol. 22, No.6, l984), pp. 46-53.
 
                    _____________, Circumscribing the Open Universe (Lanham, MD: The University Press of America, l983), pp. 49-67.
 
                    “The Shape of Sound: Alvin Lucier’s Music for Pure Waves, Bass Drums and Acoustic Pendulums,” Percussive Notes (Research Edition;
                    Vol. 21, No. 6, l983), pp. l5-22.
 
                    _____________, Circumscribing the Open Universe (Lanham, MD: The University Press of  America, l983), pp. 89-105.
 
                           , MusikTexte (Cologne: 1986), pp. 36-39.
 
 “Toward an Art of Imminence: Morton Feldman’s Durations III, #3Interface (Brussels: Vol. 12, No. 3, l98l), pp. 465-480.
 
 _____________, Circumscribing the Open Universe (Lanham, MD: The University Press of America, l983), pp. 29-47.
 
 “Circumscribing the Open Universe,” Perspectives of New Music (Vol. 20, No. 1, l98l), pp. 357-362.
 
                  _____________, Circumscribing the Open Universe (Lanham, MD.: The University Press of America, l983), pp. 1-7.
 
                  “Sound, Gesture and Symbol,” Interface (Brussels: Vol. 10, No. 3-4, l98l), pp. l99-2l9.
 
  _____________, Contiguous Lines; Issues and Ideas in the Music of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s (Lanham, MD: The University Press of America, l985), 
  pp. 111-141.
 
          “The Music of Alvin Lucier,” Interface (Brussels: Vol. 10, No. 2, l98l), pp. l37-l46.
 
  “Structural Pluralism: Some Observations on the Nature of Open Structures in the Music and Visual Arts of the Twentieth Century,” The
   Musical Quarterly (Vol. 67, No. 2, l98l), pp. 527-543.
 
   _____________, Circumscribing the Open Universe (Lanham, MD: The University Press of America, l983), pp. 69-88.
 
                   “Structure as Context,” Sonus (Spring, l98l), pp. l4-27.
 
   _____________, (revised and expanded), Interface (Brussels: Vol. 17, No. 2), pp. 65-77.
 
                   _____________, Writings About John Cage, edited by Richard Kostelanetz (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1993), pp. 163-175.
 
                   “Philip Glass” and “Steve Reich,” in No Title (Catalogue of the Sol LeWitt Collection), John Paoletti, ed., (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan
                    University, l98l), pp. 55-57, 85-87.
 
                    “John Cage’s Variations II: The Morphology of a Global Structure,” Perspectives of New Music (Vol. 19, No. 1, l980), pp. 35l-37l.
 
    _____________, Circumscribing the Open Universe (Lanham, MD: The University Press of  America, l983), pp. 9-27.

    _____________, Revue d'Esthetique (Paris: Nos. 13-14-15, 1987-88), pp. 169-176.
 
                    “Spatial Design in Elliott Carter's Canon for 3,” Indiana Theory Review (Fall, l980), pp. l-l2.
 
                            , Winds Quarterly (Fall, 1980), pp. 9-l5.
 
    “Iannis Xenakis’ Nomos Alpha: The Dialectics of Structure and Materials,” The Journal of Music Theory (Vol. 24, No. 1, l980), pp. 63-95.
 
            _____________, Contiguous Lines; Issues and Ideas in the Music of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s (Lanham, MD: The University Press
            of America, l985), pp. 3-30.
 
   “Music Today: Issues of the Avant-Garde in the ‘70’s” (published under the title: “Avant-Garde Issues in ‘70’s Music”), Artforum (Vol.
   18, No. 1, l979), pp.6l-67.
 

    _____________, Breaking the Sound Barrier, edited by Gregory Battcock, (New York: E.P. Dutton, l98l), pp. 254-27l.