Redeeming Juvenilia

[Back from Serbia after a 24-hour door-to-door trip in which my plane made an unscheduled stop in Canada because a woman passenger had a seizure and needed medical attention. It was a classic “Is there a doctor on the plane?” situation out of a movie I don’t want to see again.]

One minor note about the video that accompanies Frank Oteri’s interview with me at New Music Box: The video is framed by passages (and even the score) of my first microtonal piece, Superparticular Woman, from 1992. This is one of those pieces I never play for anyone, won’t put on a CD, and whose cheesy MIDI version makes me wince. I don’t really believe in disowning works, or I’d disown this one. (I do think its sole virtue, though, is that its voice-leading within the tuning structure is rather elegant.) But Frank has, among other things, a genius for appreciating pieces most would scorn (years ago his favorite piece of mine was Ghost Town, which I also soft-pedal). And I have to admit, as intro/outro music, I think Superparticular Woman has finally found its niche. I wouldn’t play it on a concert, but I could hear it as an ironic, intrinsically humorous logo tune for some NPR bit like “All Things Considered.” You need more of an ear for media than I have to make a call like that.


  1. Juhani Nuorvala says

    Well, I’ve always found it entertaining, and the cheese in the sounds is kind of charming. And it has one of the funniest titles ever, so you can’t afford to dump it.
    Besides, it IS on a CD! Where do you think I know it from?
    KG replies: True. But I’m trying to bring all the pieces from that CD back out except this one. Maybe I’ll reconsider.

  2. says

    KG replies: True. But I’m trying to bring all the pieces from that CD back out except this one. Maybe I’ll reconsider.

    For the sake of history, as well as sheer aesthetic satisfaction (it IS a really cool piece IMHO), you must reconsider! Glad at least I got you thinking about it again. 😉

  3. Bob Gilmore says

    For what it’s worth, Ghost Town is my favourite of the pieces on that early CD… would love to hear (or play) a live version of it some day.

  4. mclaren says

    Guess I better not become a music critic. Superparticular Woman is one of your best pieces, along with Private Dances, Long Night, The Waiting, Tango da Chiesa, Unquiet Night, Snake Dances, I’itoi Variations, Custer and Sitting Bull, Cinderella’s Bad Magic, Aardvark’s Parade, Triskaidekaphonia, Desert Sonata: Wind, Desert Sonata: Night and The Planets.
    In fact, if you’d send me a score with the 1/1 clearly marked + the JI tuning, I bet you I could whip out a re-orchestrated version of Superparticular Woman that would convince you it’s a lot better piece of music than you think.
    KG replies: Holy shit, you’re on:
    (The drum part isn’t notated.) And by the way, thanks for appreciating The Waiting.