Composer of the Day!

Today's Composer of the Day is Conlon Nancarrow.


Nancarrow was an experimental composer. He trained with well-known composers Walter Piston and Roger Sessions, among others. After returning from the Spanish Civil War, he went to New York and was involved in the vibrant new music scene there.

He wrote difficult rhythmic music in an atonal, contrapuntal style.

In fact, his music was so rhythmically thorny that he became frustrated with performers' inability to play his complex textures.

Also, he was a dedicated socialist. In America in the 1930s, this was not so cool with the establishment. As a result, he moved to Mexico, becoming a citizen in 1955.

In Mexico, there were even fewer musicians to play his already hard-to-perform music. So he bought a player piano! Which is badass. He wrote many, if not most, of his later works for the player piano, punching holes in the piano rolls, which alleviated the problem of his complex rhythms.

His music is very cool. He was born in Arkansas. There is a relatively recent book about him.

You should listen to his music.


Empiricus said...

I think we should have a recurring post entitled: Socialist Composer of the Day!

Sator Arepo said...

I am quite down with that.