Pre-Redivision Period Music

lentz121Here’s an interview with Daniel Lentz, one of my favorite composers. I love that the critic quotes John Schaefer as saying, “His works look back to an earlier time when music was not so divided between serious and popular. This is music that will appeal to a broad range of listeners.” Yeah, that was back during my lifetime. Good to have it validated that that period’s officially over, I guess.



  1. Bob Gilmore says

    I like Daniel Lentz’s music a lot. He’s another composer who’s really gone his own way, regardless of fashion, making music that is true to his experience. Ought to be much better known. I’m working on commissioning an article on him for TEMPO to (in some cases) introduce him to a UK-based readership. Love Missa Umbrarum, Is It Love, Talk Radio, etc etc. Great interview by that guy.

  2. wr says

    Takes me back, way back – I had a connection to one of the CTM people.

    The intense atmosphere at a performance of HYDRO-GENEVA sticks in my mind.

    Also, I was at a performance of his “Love and Conception”, and I guess I am the only one who remembers the effect of having the pianist getting up to make out with the page turner, while the piano seemed to keep playing as if by a ghost. Back in those days, it seemed pretty cool. I think I may have seen it as part of the “Oklahoma Package”. Another bit that may have been part of that “package” was the taping down of a key on an electric organ while the audience was arriving, and having that note sound throughout the performance of everything else, and then releasing it at the end of the concert. Oh, those were the days…
    He doesn’t talk about the other two related pieces in the interview – I think the names were “Birth” and “Death”. I saw the one I think was “Birth”. In it, a person in a doctor outfit “delivered” a toy piano from inside a grand piano. It was very silly stuff, but was more amusing than this description of it sounds.

    And “Death” – well, Lentz wrote a dense and somewhat tricky piece for piano in which all the notes but one were used. The mechanism in the piano for that one note that didn’t appear in the score was supposed to be connected to electrical circuitry so that, if the pianist hit the note by mistake, it would kill the performer by electrocution. Yes, really. And the audience was supposed to try to get the pianist to make that mistake by any means other than physical contact My recollection of that era is somewhat hazy (isn’t it supposed to be?), but I seem to remember that Lentz either placed, or was thinking of placing, newspaper ads for suicidal pianists to perform the piece. I read through the score myself (not while plugged into a wall socket (and not as a potential public suicide, either)), and thought it was a kind of pseudo-Beethoven effort. Not terribly memorable music, but it did seem as if he had put more thought into it than I would have expected, considering its purpose.