Thomas DeLio

 

contact:   THOMASDELIO@comcast.net

 
 
 

Table of Contents

Biography
Archive
Citations
About Thomas DeLio
Inerview with Thomas DeLio
Book, Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio
Book, Analytical Studies of the Music of Ashley, Cage, Carter, Dallapiccola, Feldman, Lucier, Reich, Satie, Schoenberg Wolff and Xenakis: Essays in Contemporary Music, Collected Essays, 1980-2000
Reviews of Books and Music
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 of his collected essays from 1980-2000, entitled Analytical Studies of the Music of Ashley, Cage, Carter, Dallapiccola, Feldman, Lucier, Reich, Satie, Schoenberg Wolff and Xenakis: Essays in Contemporary Music, was published by the Mellen Press in 2018.  A second volume will be published in 2020.

 

Interview with Thomas DeLio (selection)

selections from

Interview with Thomas DeLio

Jerry Tabor and Scott McCoy[1]

 

Tabor: This is an interview with Thomas DeLio in Washington D.C. on April 18th, 2015.  Thank you for being here with us.  The first question, please tell about your studies with theorists Robert Cogan and Ernst Oster.  What are the highlights of that time that inform your thinking today? 

 DeLio: Well, that would have been when I was an undergraduate in the late 60s/early 70s at New England Conservatory in Boston.  As you know, I was an undergraduate composition major there with Robert Cogan who was also head of the graduate theory program.  Oster travelled from New York one day a week to teach at NEC.  Both men were brilliant theorists and extraordinary teachers.  When I think of the way they taught it seems quite different from the way many theorists teach.  Both were very flexible, conveying a sense that you really analyzed your experience of a piece.  So, for example, your notation may change, even for the same passage, from time to time.  Oster was very critical of some American Schenkerian theorists who tended to want to formalize everything,  That was not his way.  He taught us to be very flexible, to really try to notate what we heard, and then understand what was going on in the passage. I think that was the heart of Cogan’s approach to music theory also, you can tell from his books.  I think what I learned from both of them is that it’s the specific piece that counts.  When I was a grad student I studied with a very great mathematician, Robert MacPherson, who’s now at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, and I remember him saying to me, the specific case is always more interesting than the general theory.  I think that’s true.  I mean, I think that’s certainly true in music. 

McCoy: There’s a presence of anxiety which is never found in your analysis at all, or in anything that Cogan’s ever done.  The need to formalize results through a very, very constrained viewpoint.

DeLio: That’s right.  Too many theorists have decided that there is one way to talk about a piece, or a concept, and it’s really absurd to take that approach.  You should take the exact opposite approach.  What is your experience of a piece, then formulate some way to talk about it.  You’ve probably both heard me for years say this, that the way you talk about something completely colors the way you think about it, so you have to be very, very flexible in the way you talk about things and be willing to change the way you talk about them, because if you always talk about something exactly the same way you’ll be stuck listening to it one way, never hearing any other possibilities.  When my Morton Feldman book came out, one British musicologist wrote that one of the things that bothered him about the book was that every author who contributed a paper used different terminology to discuss structure.  In other words, I used the word region instead of section, and I explained why, and someone else used area, someone else used section…different terminologies…and he said that, as an editor, I should have just said there’s only one way to speak about things and we all should have used the same terminology.  Of course, I’ve said many times exactly why I didn’t do this, because there should never (could never) be one just one way to talk about one’s experience of music, because everybody’s experience is different.  Moreover, with respect to music like Feldman’s… who possibly could know if there even could be a single right way to talk about it, who could possibly know yet what that is?  And I don’t believe there ever will be a single right way. 

 Tabor: Do you think that influenced the way you look at all the music you analyze, and your compositional approach?  That openness, that flexibility?

 DeLio: It gave me the sense of freedom to try to analyze music that no one was analyzing.  I mean, no one had been analyzing Feldman before I wrote my first analytical papers on him.  So, I didn’t have to worry if there was an orthodox way of analyzing Feldman.  That was simply not an issue.  Many people at the time that I wrote my paper on Cage’s Variations II, the early 80’s, thought that this music was also un-analyzable.

Tabor: Yes, impossible.

DeLio: Right, but it’s not.  You can think it through.  There’s no system to think from, which is a very good thing.  Even if there was such a system, which I don’t believe there is…

McCoy: It’s also a very scary thing too.

DeLio: Well, depending on your mentality, it’s either scary or it’s exciting.  To me it wasn’t scary it was just…this is an adventure, let’s do it.

Tabor: I think that one way that you’ve influenced a lot of young theorists is how you ask the question: why study theory?  Or, why analyze music?  Can you address your feelings on that?DeLio: I think you’re a musician because you think through sounds and you try to understand your experience of these organized sounds we call compositions, to borrow from Varese.  Theory is one way of thinking about music and it can help you think about music in ways that performing doesn’t.  I mean, performance is an experience of a piece of music in real time: you’re playing it through, you’re experiencing it that way.  Theory, it’s out of time.  You’re analyzing it, you’re hearing a passage over and over before you go to the next one, you’re trying to relate forward and backward and things like this, something you can’t do from a performance.  So, there’s different ways to experience music.  And musicologists teach us to experience it in yet another way, through an historical context.  So, I think that it’s very important to recognize that these are different activities which give us different perspectives.   

 Tabor:  You mention these different types of experiences of music: composing, analyzing, performing, thinking about it, etc., is there, in your view, a hierarchical or preferred experience of music?  I understand that you’ve chosen to be an analyst and a composer, but in terms of the experience of music is there any hierarchical element there, and does it on any way touch the structure of the music? 

 DeLio: I’m not sure how to answer that…I mean…I tend to be non-hierarchical in many ways.  You’ve probably read that in comments I’ve made about my own music.  I’m not convinced experience is itself hierarchical. 

McCoy:  Your answers intrigue me because I can remember, from my first class with you twenty years ago, the first thing that you said in the room: why study music theory?   And you said, it’s just another way of experiencing music. I think if there’s any sort of hierarchical structure imposed on that it has to do with the amount of time and intention that you decide to spend with it. 

DeLio: One of the things that’s always been great to me about Cogan’s work is, when you read an analysis he’s done, no matter how detailed it is, you always have the sense that… I think you were alluding to this before Scott…that this came from a direct experience of the music.  He is mapping what he experienced, and it becomes convincing because he spends so much attention to every detail that the evidence simply builds. Finally, he crystallizes his experience in words.  Of course, that’s what theory should do and it just doesn’t very often. It’s funny, not to get off on a tangent but, one of the trends in theory today…you hear it discussed at conferences more now...is the study of perception.  We want to study how music’s perceived etc., but the discussions are really rarely about perception.  They’re really talking about generalizations…you cannot talk about the perception of music (or anything for that matter) without studying individual cases, specific cases, in great detail.  And I just find so much writing about theory lacking in this respect. 

McCoy: I don’t think it’s a tangent at all Tom.  Those conferences are about learning how to file correctly.  Which filed folder does this go in…

DeLio: That’s right, but what I find disturbing is that there is now a new file folder called perception, and it really has nothing to do with study of perception.

Tabor:  Is there such a thing as a generalized theory of music.

DeLio: A general theory of music…it doesn’t interest me, and I don’t believe it even…I can’t prove this…but I don’t believe it even exists, for any music, no matter what the period or language. Otto Laske, of course, may be an exception, as you would well know Jerry having written the book on him, but he’s really dealing with what he himself terms composition theory, which is a theory of compositional processes, and that’s quite different from theory as most people think about it.  He tried to generalize the process of composition, and that’s different from the examination of finished products. I don’t really know how far you can generalize that or not.  Otto could obviously address that better than I could.  But, certainly no one’s gone further in that area than he has.  I mean, he’s really thought about that his whole lifetime.

Tabor: I’ve always been fascinated with your perspective on set theory.  I remember you telling me one time that you were not convinced of its validity.

DeLio: That’s a mild way to put it!  Actually, on occasion, when I’ve had an essay published, I’ve had editors say, can you recast this discussion of pitch in terms of set theory?  And I’ve always refused…and my answer has always been the same.  I’ve spent my whole life saying that this is nonsense, and this is a very bad way to talk about pitch structures, so I’m not going to be hypocritical and rewrite my essay using that language.  They’ve always gone ahead and published it.  I have never read an analysis using pitch class sets that’s convinced me that even the author hears music that way.

McCoy: It’s basically just…okay you have these pitches together, and this is the notation label we’re going to use for them as a set. It’s abstract.  It has no context whatsoever, and there’s no relationship between the two (the set and its context).  The set would have to articulate itself through application, but it doesn’t. 

Tabor: …and that’s the whole point…I mean, you’re interested in context. 

DeLio: And cognition. I think in every Feldman paper I’ve written I’ve used different terminology, so I can try to convey an experience of the music which can’t possibly be the same from piece to piece.  As I said before the way you talk about something determines the way you think about it.  And if you always talk about different things the same way, you’re never going to hear their differences, because you’re always limiting your ability to think about them from different perspectives. Okay, that’ll be my final word on that! 

Tabor: From my point of view, and many people feel the same way, you’re one of the most significant theorists of recent decades, because you’re actually able to approach these, so called ‘impossible to analyze works of art’.  I think that this actually takes us directly into something else that is fascinating about you, and that is the definition of art that you often cite: making art is simply a way of thinking about things. 

DeLio: It was the great visual artist Robert Irwin who said that, and I never forgot it.  I mean I think it’s just…it is just true.  Musicians think about the world through sound.  And making art out of sound is a way of thinking…it is their way of thinking.  And going back to what we’ve been discussing, it’s all based on perception.  You’re thinking through the medium through which you connect with the world.  We’re all musicians in this room and we think about the world through our musical experience.  I’m not saying exclusively, but it is our strongest connection.  I have always thought Irwin a very important visual artist because his work is all about non-objectivity; trying to create an artwork which is the experience of the moment rather than an objectification of an experience.

Tabor:  I think what you have just described is…maybe why you yourself compose? 

DeLio: That’s interesting because I don’t want to give the impression…switching to my composition…that these views evolved consciously.  I mean, I don’t think any of us…we’re all composers here…any of us could say, if we are honest, this is why I compose.  It is subconscious.  We all develop in different ways, and certainly, from the very beginning of my life as a composer, I was interested in the same things that I’m interested in now.  I wasn’t as good at it then as I am now, but I was interested in them, and I think over time I’ve come to realize that that Irwin definition applies to me.  But, I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I consciously started out trying to emulate Irwin’s views, working consciously that direction.  It’s something internal.  It comes from the way you’ve developed your whole relationship with the world, through your perceptions, and that becomes part of your music.  Yes, you’ll ask different questions along the way because you’ll want to approach the same issues in new ways, in fresh ways, but I think the same issues are still going to be there.  For instance, when I started doing electronic music, after doing purely instrumental music for some time, obviously I started asking a lot of different questions, (the medium is so different), but it’s remarkable to me, and I think other people have noticed it too, how similar my instrumental music is to my electronic music, because there’s just this certain way that I relate to sound, that transcends those differences.  So even though there are differences along the way, there is a fundamental attitude that I don’t think ever changes.

Tabor: This actually is a fascinating topic for me, because, your history as a composer, and theorist, seems different than that of a lot of musicians.  For example, a lot of composers I’ve talked to, when they first heard the Rite of Spring, it just was totally unacceptable to them because it was just too far out.  A few years later they may love it, after they start asking totally different questions. But for you, it seems that your way of experiencing music, and the questions that you’re dealing with, has been fairly consistent over time.

DeLio:  I would say that the first time… I think I do actually remember this… the first time I heard the Rite of Spring my first thought was, is there something even more wild than this?  It was not that this is too wild.  It was that this is great, but maybe this is tame compared to other musics.  So, this was opening the door, and I didn’t want to stop there, and you may have had the same feeling, because I know you’re a very adventurous composer too.  There are some people who experience new things and it creates a desire have more new experiences, and I don’t mean that as a fad, I mean that they want to enrich their experiences more and more.  But then there are other people who hear the new thing and just want to shut the door, they don’t want to know what’s coming next, and that’s…I don’t know… maybe you’re born that way, or maybe this is a limitation of education.

Tabor: I‘m curious how the different domains of theory and composition interact or inform one another for you.

DeLio: Actually, I wrote something about this once for the online journal NewMusicBox [reprinted in this volume].  They asked exactly the same question of several composers.  Doing analyses of specific, challenging pieces is my way of thinking about music. You know, I think some composers, even good composers, want to try things out, so they write a piece.  Usually, if I want to try something out my response is to analyze a piece.  I don’t want to imitate, say, Xenakis.  Or, if I have an idea for something and I realize, you know Xenakis did something like this, my instinct is, well, let me explore what he did rather than do something that would not be fully my own.  I think now that, through my analysis of different kinds of music, I avoided following certain paths that may not have been fruitful for me as a composer.

Tabor: And this part of you that does not want to imitate, this push toward originality…is this essential for making great art?

DeLio: Well, I don’t want to suggest that I sit around thinking, I want to be original, but I do believe that any art of significance will be original. As I said earlier, If I have an experience of sound that I think I might develop into a piece, but I feel that perhaps I have experienced something like that before, I’ll deal with it by looking at somebody else’s music, trying to really understand that that avenue has been explored and I then no longer have a desire to do so as well.  I think, in this way, one discovers that the original impulse was not really personal. One of things I’ve never understood about some composers is that they’ll hear some music and they’ll say, wow that was great I want to do something like that, I just simply don’t understand the point of that.  Why do something like that?  Find out what’s in you that’s different.  Find out what you really want to express.  No two people are alike.  No two people are going to write the same kind of music if they’re really in touch with themselves.

McCoy: In this regard I can’t help thinking about Harold Bloom and the anxiety of influence.  But for you it’s just coming from, is this interesting to me.

DeLio: That’s right.  It’s not fear or anxiety. Anxiety, it seems, arises when someone has never really gotten in touch with what it is that they need to experience through sound as a composer.  If you really are in touch with that…and whether you’re going to be a great composer, an average one, or a not a very good one…if you’re in touch with what you need to experience through sound, something about your music will be an expression of what’s really inside of you, and will be very personal, and therefore will be original.  I think that that whole notion of  anxiety simply comes from people who are working from images of art that…oh this was what was done, this is what we’re supposed to be doing, but we’re supposed to be doing it better than it was…that’s all nonsense  It comes from inside, and if you’re really in touch with what’s inside of you, again, whether you’re a great composer or not, there’s going to be something original there.  I mean I’ve had students who are really very good and have given us something original. But I’ve also had students who, really just aren’t going to be good composers. But, if you can get them in touch with something, there are those moments in their pieces when you say, well this is worth it, this is real, this is something I’ve never experienced before.

Tabor: And this is something that I understand as a composer, and that I act on all the time. I’m not concerned about originality, and that sort of thing.  Although I realize that what I create becomes original because it’s from inside me.  But I’d like to dig a little bit deeper.  As a teacher, or maybe as just a fellow musician, how do you get somebody down to that level where they can actually understand, their own experience of things?  How can they implement that whole way of thinking and creating? 

DeLio: I think a big part of it is just counteracting all the conventions that are constraining people.  I had a student once, whose turned into a very, very good composer. But when he first came to me was writing instrumental pieces of a very conventional nature…very uninteresting, and he was very unhappy with them.  And after weeks and weeks of looking over these scores, I finally just closed them and said, there’s nothing in this that tells me your heart’s in this, what do you really want to write?  And he had a very hard time working through this. It took many weeks for him to articulate that he’d really always wanted to try a concept of improvisation, notated graphically.  Not graphically notating sounds, but graphically notating ways of behaving. I said, well why haven’t you done that? And he said, well I was just told that you can’t do that. And not just by teachers, but I think he meant by everything he had experienced…and you know it was kind of funny…with this one student all I had to do was say, do it, it’s okay, it’s right.  And he never looked back.  He became more and more creative.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of giving someone permission (as I think Feldman once said of Cage), and then your job is to critique…just provide feedback.  I think there are a lot of social constraints forced upon you by teachers, by society, and through the quantity of uninteresting music that you hear.

McCoy: Well it’s worked in my case…giving permission. Just this small anecdote… when I first started working with you, you told me about a concert where I could hear Feldman’s Triadic Memories…I’ll never forget it.  So I go to this concert and I’m listening to this piece and it goes on and on and on, and I’m thinking when is this piece going to end, I’ve got to catch a bus.  Then all of a sudden it actually felt…the sounds, because of the length of the piece, they were becoming very visceral.  It got to a point where sound was tactile, which really kind of scared me, because I said, I have never experienced this before at all

DeLio: This will make you laugh, not too long ago I read an analysis of that same piece using PC sets…

McCoy: Oh no…oh no…

DeLio: Which is like…is like…anyway, that’s absurd, so let’s go on.

Tabor: So, as an analyst/composer, how do you describe the role of structure in your own music?    

DeLio: My approach to composition evolved gradually over time…not consciously…but as I worked with materials. I’m very interested in letting form emerge from the juxtaposition of things that are really different to one another…not having one sonic event evolve into the next, but presenting a succession of events that are so different from one another that they create polarities, oppositions.   I present a succession of events that continually contradict one another sonically, creating a succession of oppositional relationships.  Eventually, these disparities achieve some sort of balance.  The funny thing is that sometimes people say to me, how do you know when the piece is over, when are you finished?  And, to me, it’s when all of these oppositions finally achieve some state of equilibrium.  Now, I’ve found that the best way to create such an experience of form is to project each sonic event in isolation.  So, I try to avoid establishing connections among them.  No sonic event is ever more important than any other…it’s very non-hierarchical.  I never want everything to evolve to one point.  To me, that’s not what I want to experience, ever, in my own music.  It’s okay if I experience it in someone else’s music, and it’s done in an interesting way, but that’s not me.  This is a fundamental principle of my music that has evolved gradually over many years. 

     Recently, I did a piece based on a text by the poet P. Inman entitled aengus.  My piece is called inents.  For it I developed a new idea of form…at least for me…also inspired by the often variable formal (often visual) designs of Inman’s poems.  First, I created about forty sound events: some containing straightforward, complete readings of the text; others containing words and phrases that I transformed sonically in different ways (filtering, reverberation, cross synthesis…).  The events ranged from complete readings, through partial readings, to transformations wherein speech was still partially recognizable, finally to events where the source of the sound material was only barely recognizable at all…as speech.  I also created a series of what I call time-frames, each of different duration.  Each sonic event sits somewhere within one of these time-frames…rarely starting at the beginning of a time-frame, so there is really no way to perceive when one frame ends and another begins.  This seems to convey a strangely open quality to the final composition; a feeling of moments and surfaces floating freely in time and space.  I then arranged these events in different ways to create multiple versions of the composition – the shortest around five minutes, the longest around sixteen.  No version contains all of the sound events, and all versions present the events in different orders.  My goal in determining the order in each version was to create a succession of disconnected events, a succession of events in which similarity and connection would become meaningless in the formation of hierarchical relationships.  I actually hope that different listeners will become familiar with different, but not all versions, so that each listener will have a different sense of what the piece is.  And, you know this is not as unusual a concept as you might think.  It seems clear to me that no two people ever experience the same piece of music the same way.  All I have done, as have some others in different ways, is to bring this dimension of our experience…its absolute uniqueness…to the forefront…into the design of the music, acknowledging and enacting it as a fact through the work. I think my work is very Cagean in this sense. Not that my music’s a lot like Cage, but it seems to me his whole life was finding strategies to make music more open, to reflect the nature of our experience more accurately.

     The sound material of inents consists entirely of computer generated transformation of readings of the poem.  Electronics are very important to me to because they generate sounds that are just really there, really visceral…they’re physical, they’re concrete, and they’re rich.  More and more over time, I find it harder to write instrumental music.  Percussion music is perhaps an exception because the instruments generate rich, noise based sonorities that I find exciting.  I find the composition of pitch based music very, very difficult because I want to treat pitch as sound and not just as an element in a musical language, which is not interesting to me.  It’s very hard to create a context in which you can divorce pitch from all linguistic implications (tonal, serial, melodic…) and recapture it as a pure instance of sound.  That’s interesting to try to do, and I do try from time to time.

Tabor: So when, for example, you combine percussion and piano, and the piano does various pitches it seems as though you try to blend them in such a way that they don’t function as language but are simply components of these larger, sonic environments that you create.

DeLio: Yes, well I’ll give you an example: there’s a duo out in Ohio, as we speak, recording one of my older pieces, not, for piano and percussion, There are many passages where the piano will sustain pitches and then lift the pedal very suddenly and cut them off, and that’s actually what’s important in the piece, the fact that the resonance that you get from a piano can be really cut, and that moment where sound and silence meet becomes the most important thing in the piece.  It’s not the pitches, except with respect to which best articulate that break from sound to silence.  Now, that piece is over twenty-five years old, but at the time I remember that this seemed to be a possible strategy to allow me to use pitch as sound, to get into the properties of pitch as sounded by a piano.  There’s another piece of mine, for solo percussion called, as though, at the end of which I sound one pitch, the only pitch sounded in the piece.  Up to that point we’ve heard only non-pitched sounds… bongos, snare drum, cymbals, and other things…and then right at the end there’s one moment when percussionist plays an E5.  He plays a chime softly on that note, and then on a vibraphone repeats the same note rapidly, and that’s it.  That’s the only pitch in the whole piece.  But it comes after a framing of non-pitched sounds. So to me,…I don’t know if it affects other people this way…that moment makes pitch seem like something very new.  So it seemed right to do at that moment… I was able to make pitch just be a sound.  It’s like that old quote about Gertrude Stein… that she scrubbed words clean so they no longer had all those clichéd associations that had built up over so many centuries.

McCoy: There’s baggage involved…

DeLio:  There’s baggage, that’s right, and pitch has a lot of baggage.  But then, you know, there’s just this whole other world of sound that’s out there, so why am I worrying about pitch?  Why don’t I just use all of that? 

Tabor: In some earlier works, say between for flute, piano and percussion ensemble, it doesn’t seem to me the pitch sounds are treated as pitches.  They seem to be more of a recognition of a spectral wash of some sort, or maybe components of a spectrum, because every sound has pitch in it…it’s just a matter of how it stacks up… how it’s synthesized by the ear. In those cases, are you thinking of pitch as a component of a larger spectrum, of a timbre?

DeLio: Absolutely.  There’s a passage in that piece [between] where the flute starts off, and it’s playing with very articulated sounds, very sharp attacks.  To me the attack, of a flute, or whatever instrument, is as important, or more important, than the particular pitch being played.  The non-pitched percussion then pick up the attack noise and amplify it, so to speak.  Finally, all of that cuts off and we are left with all this ringing of piano, glockenspiel, vibraphone, chime…all these different colors on a group of pitches.  There’s a little passage at the very end of that piece where a quasi-melodic shape comes out, almost as like a remnant of something… of another way of organizing pitch… which is not really what the piece is about, but it has a kind of freshness for me at that moment.  Right at the end the flute does this little lick… 

     It’s very hard to strip pitch of all its baggage.  I think Feldman did it.   You know, Feldman used to say that he picked each pitch because of the sound it had in a particular octave in a particular instrument.  He didn’t pick it because of the pitches that came before, or the pitches coming after, the interval connections, anything like that. I think that that’s part of something that’s special about his music 

Tabor: Are these things that you hear, and then construct?  Or are they things that you learn to hear while you’re construct them? 

DeLio: A really great question. Well, I think it’s both. I certainly think over time… I’ve written so many pieces that do these things in different ways…that I have developed a sixth sense about it. I think many composers develop that over time.  But, at the same time, you’re also always exploring, trying to see…is there a new way to do this?  Is there a fresh way to do that?   You try things and see…ok …this kind of noise-based sound juxtaposed against that kind…what will that produce?  Well, sometimes it just falls flat.  The opposition between the sounds just doesn’t create a spark, but sometimes it does.  

Tabor: So, would you consider yourself an experimental composer? 

DeLio: Ah!  That word… (laughter)  I don’t mind that word…but, really, you can call me whatever you want!  

McCoy: No labels! 

DeLio: No labels!  

McCoy:  I’m thinking about how long the compositional process might be for you.  If you are trying to avoid connections, and, excuse the hyperbole, but you’re one of the best I’ve ever known at making connections. How long does it take to do this?  I mean, how much do you have to struggle?  

DeLio: Well, this would go back to something I said earlier, and I think Jerry asked me, what’s the connection between doing analysis and theory, and composing?  Not all the pieces I’ve analyzed involve connection, but many do, and, in a certain way, having analyzed so many pieces like that gives me the a context to bounce off my own way of not composing that way.  I suppose the one way a composer might develop his/her own unique direction would be to compose pieces in a variety of styles and techniques, but I never really did that. Instead, I’ve analyzed and written about a variety of musics, many quite different from my own.  So, when I write music in a certain way, my way, I do have experience of the opposite, and I do have a way then of measuring, in my ear…this is still is too much connection, this is not enough opposition and the like. For example, with repsect to the piece I mentioned earlier, inents, I had to develop sound events of of different densities, different timbres, different durations.  With respect to durations I tried many different kinds of duration series: logarithmic, exponential…  Certain ones really projected the result that I wanted, and certain ones didn’t.  It took many days of experimenting with those to really get it right.  Then there’s the sound events themselves.  What kind of timbres are in this event?  What kind of timbres are in the event that follows?  What density of sound here?  What density there?  How many of the words are perceived here?  How many of the words are perceived there?  All of these things have to be calculated, consciously sometimes, subconsciously other times, in terms of what you hear. You have to measure everything you plan with everything you hear.  

Tabor: One thing that impressed me about your writing about the concept of open structure, is the necessity to understand all the possibilities in order to know what could happen, in order to make a structure. 

DeLio: Well, I think indeterminacy is about finding boundaries.  For instance, my analysis of Cage’s Variations II, is not an analysis of what could happen in a given performance, it’s an analysis of what the score is actually defining.  It’s about determining the boundaries established by the piece, finding the limits within which things can happen, and outside of which things can’t happen.  One of my students was telling me about a recent analysis of this piece…an old piece by Terry Riley called In C, you probably both know it…it’s not a very good piece, but the analysis simply took a couple of possible versions, and simply looked at them.  But that doesn’t really tell you anything about the piece.  You have to find out, what is it that this piece is defining, in terms of its boundaries, in terms of its limits. Then, that’ll tell you something about the piece.  

Tabor: I know that silence plays a major role in your music. How does it help foster this notion of balance and openness in your work?  

DeLio: It’s funny, people do often refer to the silences in my pieces, but I think that they often forget that my work is really about sound…creating a context in which sound can exist in a pristine state, free of linguistic constraints. For me, silence provides that context. My silences are not Cagean silences, in the sense that he established in 4:33, where sounds are allowed in.  My silences are really ways of framing sounds so that they have their own individual space.  A reviewer, recently commenting on one of my recent recordings… because I always refer to my music as non-gestural… he said that, all music is gestural.  And, of course, that’s wrong.  That’s a misunderstanding of gesture.  Every sound-event has a shape, right?  You have an attack, maybe on a cymbal, and there’s a decay, and the frequencies decay at different speeds.  That’s all a shape.  If you use that shape over and over, if you develop it, if you expand it, contract it…then you’ve turned it into a musical gesture, which has meaning with respect to the formal evolution of a piece.  But, if it’s just a shape, and you follow that after a silence with a different shape, and you follow that after a silence with a different sound with another different shape and so forth and so on…that’s not a gesture.  I mean, in fact, that’s antithetical to gesture because gesture is something that becomes fundamental to form in some types of music.  Silence is one way that I use to make sure that these sound events don’t become gestures.

 

McCoy:  In Pine, Bamboo, Plum (electroacoustic work), which I love, what strikes me about the first sound is the way it stops.  So, when I hear it again, I’m not anticipating the sound, I’m anticipating a juncture where that sound sort of lives for me.  

DeLio: That’s very good.  You know there’s a funny story about that.  When I took that piece to the engineer who mastered it for the recording, our friend Antinino d’Urzo…a wonderful recording engineer…he said to me, you know, the cut-off at the end of that first event is really ragged, I could smooth that out.  And I said, no, no, no; it’s got to be ragged, because then it projects exactly the experience you’re describing.  And then he understood…I mean, that’s a very good point.  I’m glad you heard it that way.  That’s the way I hear it.  We may be the only two people in the world who hear it that way, but we do. 

Tabor: In your teaching you take students to a level of abstraction first, and then you let them identify their own voice within it… you help them find their fingerprint that they put on their music.  

DeLio: Yes, that’s right.  I really try, at first, to get students to…you know, to open up…to be open to things.  And, it’s funny, you would think that some students will open up but most will not.  However, I’m often surprised at the number of students who really are open to new experiences.  They just have been pressured by society not to feel that way.  Doesn’t mean they’re all going to turn into great composers.  Some will, some will just try, but at least they’ll have more interesting lives. I think there are a lot of people out there who have just been under such constraints to not be open to new experiences. 

McCoy: One question about pedagogy… here’s another anecdote.  I remember, we were working together at the time.  And one of the hallmarks of your teaching is that, we would meet every week, and I’d bring something in and show you, and you’d look at it, we would talk and then you’d go, oh okay…all right… now go and think about it, think about changing it…and the first time I heard that I thought, what does he mean?  What’s wrong with it?  And so, I’d be all ready to be combative. But you were always very gracious…just think about it, just think about it…and I’d go out of the room, and fume.  But damn if I didn’t think about it for that whole week.  There’s a graciousness in the kind of teaching that lets things simmer, allowing people space to think.  

Tabor: Yes, something that I’ve talked about with other students of yours is that, anyone who has studied composition with you, and even analysis, feels there’s something different about the way you approach teaching, and I think a lot of it is that openness…trying to…not maneuver, but to expand people’s perspectives so that they can become more open about various things that maybe they hadn’t thought of previously. 

McCoy:  And yet as your students, we’ve experienced the point, where you’re looking at a work of ours and it takes you about five seconds to narrow down what the focus of the piece is. 

Tabor: I’m really curious about how you create linkages between the dimensions of sound and text. You have spoken and written that, in your music with text, the music creates a design that parallels the text, and that you’re particularly interested in finding out how far those two things [music and text] can be separated while still maintaining a connection.  Can you talk about that? 

DeLio: Well one of the poets I’ve been most involved with for a number of years is Peter Inman, who publishes under P. Inman. He is one of the leading experimental poets in the country.  In fact, his collected work was just published to great acclaim in Great Britain.  When I first encountered his poetry many years ago, I just knew…I had a sense that he was trying to do very similar things to what I was doing.  So, it seemed like a perfect match.  Not that one always has to set poetry that matches, but this just was really…to me…it was just something I knew was right.  And we’ve done many pieces together since including sound installations. We can talk about those in a bit.  Pete’s poetry, just like my music, is really essentially about the notion of decentering.  His poetry doesn’t exist to convey ideas, images, or information, it exists to re-contextualize language.  To redefine the whole role of language in our lives, and that appealed to me greatly.  This paralleled my own notion of how to treat sound… how to recapture sound as sound, not as part of language…musical language that is.  So, I gravitated toward Pete’s work and we’ve become very good friends over the years.  My settings of his poetry really are not linear in any sense, as his poetry is not linear in any sense.  In his poetry words lead to one another in many dimensions.  I try to convey this experience of multiplicity in my settings.  Sometimes I break the words up into just phonemes, and sometimes he does that as well.  Other times I take an entire group of lines or…I hate to use the word stanzas because they don’t really apply to his work…a whole unit of words.  And then I present the text in all of these different ways: atomized into smaller components, then re-contextualized into different designs. 

     I once had a very interesting experience with one of my settings of his poem “sam”, where I took the ending of one word which was…it ended with a ‘ct’, and I kept using it and kept combining it with other words, and one of the words that kept coming up was connectAnd I got so used to hearing this word in the piece, that I was often surprised when I would go back and re-read the poem and realize that word isn’t in the poem.  But by disassembling words, and then putting them back together again, new words come out.  And, of course, this delighted Pete.  This was exactly what his poems are supposed to do, help you re-contextualize words in new ways.  In the more recent piece, inents, I have these…as we’ve discussed before…these smaller sound events, which, in my view, capture the poem in different ways.  In some of them you can’t make out the words at all.  You just make out sounds and sonorities from vowels and consonants combined in different ways.  In the opposite extreme, you hear different voices speaking different lines of text, combining them in different ways, and you can actually make out what’s being said.  And then there’s all layers in-between those opposite poles: in one state the words are simply opaque, in another they are transparent.  And I think his poetry goes back and forth between those two extremes…where you’re reading a line and it actually could mean something, but it’s in the context of lines where there’s no connection.  So, you’re drawn in and then you’re pushed away.  And you’re constantly trying to find a viewpoint…a vantage point from which to understand, but there is none.  There are instead so many vantage points… and that’s what I try to do in the music.  I find his poems extreme in that regard, and as you know, I like extremes.  Pete has said to me that over the years my pieces have affected his poetry and influenced what he’s doing with language.  And I think we’ve gone back and forth that way, because, new developments in his poetry have affected me as well.  We must have done at least seven or eight pieces together.  And sometimes I’ve even set texts of his two or three different times, in different pieces, in different ways. I’ve found that to be very important and interesting to me because I really just don’t believe in this whole notion that there is only one right way to do something.  To me, it’s much more interesting to find different ways to set the same thing. 

Tabor: Are these ideas related to your installations? 

DeLio: Well, the installations are a logical extension, because the way an installation typically works…at least mine…is that the multiple channels of sound coming from different speakers are laid out, let’s say, in a pattern around a space (museum or art gallery). The installation amounts. to. is based on a poem of Pete Inman’s of the same name.  The poem consists of three pages, each with a different shape on it.  For this installation the words on each page were projected through three different spatial configurations within a room in a museum.  One page of text was heard through two standard speakers sitting in two corners of the room.  The text on each of the other two pages, was projected through one of two localizers hanging from the ceiling.  You’ve probably experienced these devices in museums…you walk up to a display case and you hear someone speaking, describing the display case.  But if you walk away you can’t hear anything, and that’s because the localizer (usually an array of speakers) focuses the sound onto one specific location in the room.  So, I had a room and I had two localizers hanging from the ceiling, each projecting material drawn one of the pages of the text.  And then there were the two speakers in corners of the room that were projecting the third page of the text.  The material of this third page could be heard anywhere in the room.  So, when you walked under one localizer you would hear what that localizer was projecting mixed with the sounds from two corner speakers.  And then, when you walked away from that localizer and stood under the other one, you heard a different text mixing with the sounds coming from the pair of corner speakers.  It was a decentering experience…you could never experience the whole thing at once.  You had to be moving, and the way the sound was dispersed through the room…it was sort of pulling you to move around.  It created this very open situation.  Your vantage point was always different.  The localizers, by the way, were stereo, so even when you were under one of them you could hear sound moving around. 

     Now the second installation we did was called “sam”, based upon a poem of that name.  That was the first one with video, and it was with four speakers.  I arranged the four speakers in a column, each speaker facing north, south, east, or west.  You could never hear all four speakers at once, but, as you walked around this column, you would always get the sense of the sound moving either with you or against you.  Again, the work provided a decentering experience.  These were paired with four different sized TV screens hanging in different positions and heights.  One of them actually was outside of the gallery room so that you could never see what was on all four screens at once.  At most you could see one screen and a bit of another screen.  So, there was this constant need to move and try to experience the sound in different ways, and the visuals in different ways.  This is typical of all my installations, they deny the listener the deceptive comfort of the existence of a single vantage point. 

     The real technical challenge to me, in creating these installations, is, how do you write a piece where a listener happens to walk by a room in a museum, steps inside, maybe spends five minutes, maybe spends fifteen minutes listening, and then leaves.  And, you never know when they’re going to come in to the room, because the piece is running all day long.  How do you make a piece that has no beginning? No end?  And, you can’t know when they’re going to walk in and walk out.  Yet you want them to experience the piece.  I mean, it’s not just random sounds, it’s a piece.  The trick is to try to ensure that no matter when somebody walks in, and no matter how long they stay, they get the piece, they grasp what’s happening. So, that’s been very interesting, and I’ve used different strategies each time I make a new installation to try to do that. 

     It’s funny, a lot of people do what they call sound installations today, but what they’re really doing are simply performances that aren’t taking place in a concert hall.  So, you go into a museum, you go into the lobby, and you have a bunch of performers, and for thirty or forty minutes they play a piece.  It may be a very interesting piece, but it’s not a sound installation.  It’s just a concert that’s not taking place in a concert hall.  Other people do sound installations which are interactive. You know, there’s buttons on the wall you press them, and sounds happen.  And that can sometimes be interesting, sometimes not.  But again, to me it’s not a sound installation, it’s a different kind of performance.  Mine, they just run all the time.  There’s a lot of silence in them too, so they’re not just constantly bombarding you.    

Tabor:  This brings us back to an earlier part of the conversation, when we were discussing the notion of openness, and the fact that there is a certain amount of rigor that goes into creating an effective…field of openness.  So, how does Inman view these installations, where you construct and reconstruct that experience of his language in sound. 

DeLio: That’s an interesting question, because I’m not trying to…how do I put this…I’m not trying to set his poems, and I’m not trying to present a traditional song where you set the words and you go through the words in the sequence of the poem.  First of all, it would make no sense, given the nature of his poetry.  What I’m trying to do is, using the sounds of the words, create a musical equivalent, a sonic equivalent to the experience you have reading the poem.  In some of my settings of his work you would never make out a single word.  All you would hear are phonemes transformed, filtered, spatialized, projected, but you’d never make out the words.  In others, I allow the words to come through from time to time.  So, you get more layered experience of the poem. Either way I try to make an equivalent sonic experience of the poem, using the poem.  

Tabor: I’m really curious, with your kind of approach, about the actual compositional process…the creative process.  If we were to map, or maybe just video tape you going through the entire process of making a piece, I’m curious about how linear that creative process is when the result is not linear at all.  Do you create in the same way that we experience it, or is there, in your mind, a beginning?  Is there a starting point?  

DeLio:  The notion of non-linearity has to be in the process from the start.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not organized.  What I usually do when I begin is create a catalog of possibilities.  If it’s a text piece, the ways I could project the text: totally atomized, totally transparent, the text is right there, it’s all audible…all these different possibilities and all the gradations in between.  So, I have a whole catalogue of possibilities.  Then, I try to put those in some sort of time frame…juxtaposing this possibility with that one…then what would come next.  And then, even when that’s done, I will go back and reshape the sound events a little bit.  I don’t know how to describe it, except to say that it’s not a linear process, but it’s very organized. 

McCoy: Your installations are asking people to go deeper than the surface. 

DeLio: I think that’s right, and I think it’s asking them to really totally reorient their whole way of thinking about musical experience. Some people are just not going to be willing to do that, and I can’t worry about that.  I mean, that’s really a choice people make.  Funny, I had a student in my undergraduate contemporary music class this semester.  I started talking about electronic music a few weeks ago and I’m always amazed, when I’m done with that section, how many of the students really love it.  But, one of the students who really got into it sent me an email and he said, how can you tell a good electronic piece from a bad one?  And I just wrote back and said, how can you tell a good instrumental piece from a bad one?  And he came in the next day into my office and said, I thought about that, and he said, well I’ve just heard a lot of instrumental pieces and I can sort of tell, and I told him to go listen to a lot of electronic pieces.  And then he got it.  He figured that out.  It’s all experience.  If it’s the only electronic piece you ever hear in your whole life, you have no way of knowing whether it’s good or bad.  I don’t care how great it is.  You have no context.  And if it’s the only sound installation that you’ve ever heard in your life, or ever will hear, you have no context either. 

Tabor: So, when you’re talking about the adventurous new music of any kind, you’re saying that in order to determine when something is good that you have to build a context through experience. 

DeLio: Right! 

Tabor: But that’s totally counter-intuitive to the academic process, because, if I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is that in order to understand what’s good, you have to experience all of the work, or as much work as you can… that has been created…that’s a history. 

DeLio: Yes, I think that with student composers it often shows immediately if they have not absorbed a broad range of musics, especially new musics in their minds and ears.  It’s really just a question of understanding what’s been done.  I mean, really devoting a lot of time to hearing what’s been done.  And far too frequently student composers are unwilling to do that.  And I just don’t understand it…if you’re a composer, why you’re not digging out everything from the library by Xenakis, Scelsi, Feldman, whoever…and listening to it and getting to know it.  The more you do that, the less you’re going to reinvent the wheel, and the more you will find yourself through your work. 

Tabor: But this is true not just with composition students, but the evaluation of artwork in general. The evaluation that many people feel is necessary in order for something to be valid. 

DeLio: Yes, you know this limitation shows up a great deal, in the U.S. anyway, with regard to criticism.  I mean, you meet music critics…the only new music they hear is what they happen to hear on a concert they’re reviewing.  You’d think, if you were a serious music critic and you were going go to a concert to hear a new piece, you would have tried to develop a real knowledge of what’s been done in new music.  You’d know Boulez, Xenakis, Ligeti…you’d know all of that work inside out, so when you heard some new piece you wouldn’t think, wow this is really original!, when it’s actually derivative of a dozen other composers who are much greater. That happens all the time.  And these are the people who are supposedly evaluating for the general public.  It’s a very bad state of affairs.  It’s very different in Europe I find.  Critics there tend to be people who are actually scholars, of new music for instance, who really know a great deal.  Who’ve heard a great deal.  Here?  No.  There’s also just a very naïve sense, on the part of many critics that I’ve met who think, well, if I go to a concert, I’m just going to see how I react to this new piece I’ve never heard before.  Well, I mean, how you react if you don’t know anything about contemporary music is very different from how you would react if you’ve spent hundreds of hours over many years absorbing what’s been done in the contemporary music world.  This is what American music criticism becomes…just sort of these gut reactions to specific moments that are totally out of any context. 

Tabor: So, what is the most encouraging thing to you, as a composer/theorist, in the field of music today.  What do you see that’s positive, potentially taking us in the right direction? 

DeLio: I think there are still a number of people out there doing really original and creative work, and they’ll always be there.  These are the people who bring new ideas and experiences to music, and enlighten us all as they do so.  This should give us all cause for optimism. 

Thank you both. 

Tabor, McCoy: Thank you 

    

 

 

 

 

      

 



[1] Jerry Tabor is Professor of Music, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD; Scott McCoy, faculty, Hill Regional Career High School, New Haven, CT.  The interview was videotaped by David Burns, Associate Professor, Communication Arts, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD.



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

 

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** 

Book, Collected Essays, 1980-2000


The Edwin Mellen Press

 

announces the publication of

 

Thomas DeLio

 

Analytical Studies of the Music of Ashley, Cage, Carter, Dallapiccola, Feldman, Lucier, Reich, Satie, Schoenberg, Wolff, and Xenakis

 

Essays in Contemporary Music


Patricia Burt, ed.

 a companion volume to

 

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

 

Thomas Licata, Editor

 

     Thomas DeLio is a composer and theorist, internationally renowned in both fields. He has published over thirty essays in such journals as The Journal of Music Theory, Perspectives of New Music, Interface, Artforum, College Music Symposium, 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. 

     As a composer he has created 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.  The majority of his compositions are published in the US by Neuma Publications.   Selected compositions are also published in the US by Sonic Art Editions and in Italy by Semar Editore. 

    

      This collection consists of DeLio’s major analytical essays drawn from 1980-2000, the first two decades of his career as a scholar.  These essays first appeared in such journals as Interface, Perspectives of New Music, The Journal of Music Theory, The Musical Quarterly, and The Contemporary Music Review, among others.  Included in this collection are his path-breaking studies of the music of such important 20th century composers as Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Arnold Schoenberg, Elliott Carter, Christian Wolff, Erik Satie, Luigi Dallapiccola, Robert Ashley and Alvin Lucier.

  

Preface, Christopher Shultis

Introduction, Michael Boyd

 

 

The Morphology of a Global Structure: John Cage’s Variations II (1980)

Spatial Design in Elliott Carter’s Canon for 3 (1980)

The Dialectics of Structure and Materials: Iannis Xenakis’ Nomos Alpha (1980)

Structural Pluralism: Robert Ashley’s in memoriam…Esteban Gomez (1981)

Structure as Context (1981)

Steve Reich (1981)

Toward an Art of Imminence: Morton Feldman’s Durations III, #3 (1983)

The Shape of Sound: Alvin Lucier’s Music for Pure Waves, Bass Drums and Acoustic Pendulums (1983)

Structure As Behavior: Christian Wolff’s For One, Two or Three People (1984)

A Proliferation of Canons: Luigi Dallapiccola’s Goethe Lieder Nos. 2 and 6 (1985/87)

Structure and Strategy: Iannis Xenakis’ Linaia-Agon (1987)

Time Transfigured: Erik Satie’s Parade (1993)

Language and Form in an Early Atonal Composition: Schoenberg’s Op.19 #2 (1994)

Morton Feldman’s Last Pieces #3 (1996)

On Christian Wolff (2000)

 

Bibliography

Discography

 

********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

See essays in Contemporary Music Review Volume 34, Parts 5-6, 2015, Thomas DeLio, guest editor:

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

     "(ex)Congruities"  by Thomas DeLio and P. Inman
 
     “Introduction: Music/Text,”  by Thomas DeLio

********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
 

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 the Music and Theoretical Writings 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.

 

 
Preface to Analytical Studies of the Music of Ashley, Cage, Carter, Dallapiccola, Feldman, Lucier, Reich, Satie, Schoenberg Wolff and Xenakis: Essays in Contemporary Music
by Christopher Shultis

      My first contact with Thomas DeLio was in 1986, in Washington D.C. where I was giving a presentation on early percussion music at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. We met through a mutual friend, the composer Stuart Saunders Smith, at a Chinese restaurant near the Washington Convention Center – probably because DeLio’s music was at that time published by Smith Publications and he had recently composed a piece for percussion ensemble, Against the silence…, that Stuart thought I would be interested in performing. Little did I know then how important that composition would become; nor how highly I would come to regard DeLio's entire compositional body of work. He is, as I've written elsewhere, "among the most significant experimental composers of his generation." I mention this mainly to place my connection to DeLio's work first in relation to his importance as a composer.

            In the 1980s, I reserved my summers for full-time reading, score study, and practicing. So, in the summer of 1987, I looked at Against the silence… and wrote the composer

immediately after realizing that this was an extraordinary and uniquely new contribution to the repertoire. In his letter back, he mentioned having written a book I might like to see and let me know he'd send me a copy if I was interested. As a result, I received his Circumscribing the Open Universe (1984) which, along with Marjorie Perloff's classic The Poetics of Indeterminacy (1981), are the two books that convinced me that writing about the arts could be as interesting as the artworks themselves. Or at least that it was possible when the writers were as gifted as Perloff and DeLio!

            My reading of Perloff in 1988 presented me – at that time still primarily a performer and conductor – with my first real introduction to the world of literary criticism and its long history of engagement with the written word in poetry and literature. There's a tremendous amount of intellectual excitement involved when following someone’s reading of a poem or book in which they are deeply invested. For those of us who enjoy such criticism, it really adds to the enjoyment of literary works of art. And while this would have seemed obvious in the 1980s to someone involved with the humanities, in music a comparable kind of criticism was not so well established. As musicologist Joseph Kerman wrote in the introduction to his Contemplating Music (1985): "What I would call serious music criticism – academic music criticism if you prefer – does not exist as a discipline on a par with musicology and music theory on the one hand, or literary and art criticism on the other."[i] Two years after Kerman wrote that, I was reading a fine example of "serious music criticism," published one year before Kerman's book was published, the aforemen

tioned Circumscribing the Open Universe. Truth be told, I devoured it like a starving man.

      Here was a practicing musician like myself but, unlike me at the time, one with a background in art and literary criticism, citing, among many others, important poets like Robert Duncan and Charles Olson, who themselves were critics. Someone whose expertise in music theory enabled him to provide a strong grounding in analysis focused on the individual work being addressed but also capable, because of his deep reading in philosophy (Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger are especially important in Circumscribing), of then showing how such particulars could have applications that referred outward into a world that was not as isolated as what one found in much musical analysis at the time. I can still remember now, twenty-six years later, how excited I was when I first read the criticism of Thomas DeLio. And I still find myself in that frame of mind as I revisited this important early work while preparing to write this preface.

            I've followed his scholarly writings ever since. And it is easier now to distinguish his work from that of Perloff, widely regarded as one of the most important scholars of contemporary poetry but not herself a poet. Thomas DeLio's scholarship is the work of an "artist-intellectual," where creative and scholarly work can be seen as feeding each other and where you can find resonances between, in DeLio's case, the music he composes and his scholarly interests, comparable to how the conducting repertoire of Pierre Boulez can be seen as representative of who he regards as his artistic predecessors and contemporaries. That said, it would be incorrect to compare DeLio's scholarly work with composers who also write about music, especially the kind of writing that Boulez and others like him have published. DeLio is the kind of artist-intellectual one occasionally finds in the United States for whom scholarship, while it may indeed point to influences on the creative side of things, must embrace accepted scholarly processes, such as peer-review, a musicologist like Joseph Kerman or a literary scholar like Marjorie Perloff would approve. In other words, Thomas DeLio's books and essays stand on their own, written by someone who is both an important composer and a highly regarded scholar. This significant body of work, written over the course of two decades and now finally available within a single book, informs us both about the subjects under consideration and the person writing about those subjects in a way that I find characteristic of the best scholarship written by artist-intellectuals. The creative and scholarly "need each other to keep on going," but they can be separated too, and that's an important distinction between it and other prose written by composers.
            Informed first and foremost: That's how I feel every time I read essays by Thomas DeLio. I think his writing comes closest to what literary critics bring to the study of poems and novels: an informed authority employed in the careful study of author and work, bringing a broad range of contexts (aesthetic, social, historical) to bear on the examination of whatever specifically is being addressed. In the end, however, as I now consider DeLio's written work as a whole, and imagine how readers who are either discovering it for the first time or revisiting it, what really stands out for me is how inspiring it is. It inspired me to become a scholar myself, that's for sure; and it has also greatly influenced my own journey as a fellow artist-intellectual. May it inspire you too!

        NOTES

  1. Kerman, Joseph. Contemplating Music. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985. p.17.



 

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."  ... 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 Reviews


Amazon.com review of Selected Compositions II


 

Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions II (1972-2015) is another fascinating Neuma audio document chronicling 43 years of some of the most radical experimental music ever composed. This album displays DeLio’s intense focus on sonic materials by placing acoustic works next to electroacoustic works, which the composer calls “deconstructions”, in which the he reframes the acoustic materials into a more exacting perspective. Listening to the acoustic piece followed by the deconstruction is like experiencing a new sonic universe and then going inside DeLio’s head to explore how he, himself, hears that universe. As the album progresses, it is easy to get the sense that every timbre; every pitch, rhythm, and duration; every texture; and every silence have a specific purpose in his conception of the sonic world he constructs—they are the result of a deeply analytical understanding of his own experience of sound. Perhaps this is the most important reason to listen to this music. It is rare to find such original and distinctive compositions on one album, especially considering how clearly they articulate the self. DeLio is keenly aware of his position in the world of sonic art—whether music or poetry. His unusual titles are often based in literary references; particularly unique are those involving texts by P. Inman. The fact that this composer refers to his electroacoustic works as “tape” music articulates his aesthetic and historical position in music literature. While he composes these strictly on his computer, the manner in which he does it is more akin to the way composers made tape music before computers were readily available. At the same time, he also clearly utilizes computer synthesis capabilities which have only recently become possible. Selected Compositions II is certainly a unique and intense artistic experience, but it is also an historic look at one of the most important musical minds of our time.


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 (neumarecordsandpublications.com).

*Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions III (1986-2017): Trois Visages; limn, by parch reading, wave / s, Spuren, Sherds, decker, Against the silence... (forthcoming, Neuma 2019)

*Thomas DeLio: Selected Compositions 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  (neumarecordsandpublications.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., stereo 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  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 6'.

     as so  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 6'.

     so on  (electroacoustic,stereo); 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  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 2'.  

      on again   (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 3'.  

      of again    (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 4'. 

      Pine, Bamboo, Plum   (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 2'.

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

 

1995    “because the... (electrioacoustic, stereo); 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-  (electroacoustic, stereo)) 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  (electroacoustic, stereo) text – P. Inman; ca. 19'.

        though, on  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca.2'.

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

        plin,x  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca . 1'.

        m,nce  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 2'.

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

 

1998      n,mcr  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 1'.

              nna,c  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 1'.

            “decker”  (electroacoustic, stereo) text – P. Inman; ca. 9'.

        n,c  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 1'.

 

1999      x,e  (electroacoustic, stereo);  ca. 2'.
 
              inc,e  (electroacoustic, stereo); 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 (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 5'.

 

2000       qu,m  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 2'.

               qu,r  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 2'.

          z,rb  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 2'.

          Center / s  (electroacoustic, stereo); 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  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 1'.

           cel,f, (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 1'.

          ,c,el,f  (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 1'.

 

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

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

 
2003       Belle-Isle I-IV  (electroacoustic, stereo); 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  (electroacoustic, stereo); 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 (electroacoustic, 5.0 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  (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround), texts – Paul Celan; ca. 8 ½’.

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

               XXIII-XXVII (electroacoustic, stereo); 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) (electroacoustic, stereo); 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 (Electroacoustic, 4 channels with video, 3 widescreen hdtvs with different size screens), text by P. Inman; plays continuously over several days.

             "sam", (electroacoustic, stereo; video for single widescreen hdtv); 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”  (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround); ca. 5 1/4'.
 
                ...sound / shivering / silence (percussion solo); ca. 9'.
  

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

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

                Hörreste (Soundscrapes) (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround); ca. 6 3/4'.

                In Prag (In Prague) (electroacoustic, s5.0 urround); ca. 4 1/2'.

                Sakuteiki (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround) version; ca. 6'.

                Schaufäden (Sight Threads) (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround); ca. 3'.

                Sichtbar (Visible)  (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround); ca. 5'.

               Vorflut (Outfall)  (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround);  ca. 5'.

               Weissgrau (Whitegray) (electroacoustic, 5.0 surround);  ca. 4'.


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

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

               Spüren (Traces) (electroacoustic, stereo); ca. 3'.

               inents (electroacoustic: Version 1, stereo, ca. 8 1/2'; Version 2, stereo, ca. 8 1/2'; Version 3, 5.0 surround, ca. 10';
                                                     Version 4, 5.0 surround, ca. 5 1/2'; Version 5, 5.0 surround with video, ca. 16 1/2';
                                                     Version 6, 5.0 surround, ca. 3'; Version 7, 5.0 surround. ca. 5 1/2 minutes).

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

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

              Trois visages (flute, violin, soprano, percussion ensemble) 

2017     ...klingend (piano solo); ca. 10 1/2'.
          
             ...klingend II (piano and percussion); ca. 10 1/2'.
         
              limn 1-6 (electroacoustic, stereo) six compositions of various lengths.

              by parch reading (electroacoustic, stereo; text, P. Inman); 6' 49".

              Sherds (for Wes Fuller) (electroacoustic, stereo); 2' 12".
 
 
 Books (author)
 

   Analytical Studies of the Music of Ashley, Cage, Carter, Dallapiccola, Feldman, Lucier, Reich, Satie, Schoenberg, Wolff and Xenakis, 

           The Collected Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Volume I (1980-2000) (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2017).

       

    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).
 
            " Composing a sound: Giacino Scelsi's L’âme ailée  /  L’âme ouverte for violin solo (College Music Symposium, Vol. 57, 2017).
            

             “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.