A la Memoire d’ un Ami
realized on an IBM 3081 at Princeton University, and at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University
Death is the title piece's subject, and the sense of space and loneliness is astounding. Mowitz's rich, booming, unidentifiable tones weep in some vast acoustic of the imagination.
A la Memoire d'un Ami is about memory and, in particular, memories of my close friend and first composition teacher, Norman Dinerstein, who died suddenly at age 45, while I was in the middle of making this piece. The entire piece is synthetic -- the sounds were all made on a large, very UNmusical mainframe computer. That the sounds, gestures and general cast of the work bear such a close resemblance to sounds we know in the natural world was willful on my part - for me, computers are not machines programmed to yield unimaginable precision, but rather just a means of searching for imagined sounds and musics. That the results of sound generation instructions I give to computers are often quite unexpected, I take as a wonderful irony, and it's precisely this quality of unexpectedness that I find most stimulating and instructive in fashioning a work of art.
--Ira J. Mowitz
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