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Time's Encomium: For Synthesized & Processed Synthesized Sound - Charles Wuorinen

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    Time's Encomium (Jan. 1968-Jan. 1969, 31'43") is an electronic, four channel, musical composition by Charles Wuorinen for synthesized and processed synthesized sound. Commissioned by Teresa Sterne for Nonesuch Records, it was awarded the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Music, and was realized on the RCA Mark II Synthesizer at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, NYC. At the time Wuorinen was the youngest composer ever to win the Pulitzer. The piece is also the first electronic piece to win the prize.

    "Time's Encomium is the title because in this work everything depends on the absolute, not the seeming, length of events and sections. Being electronic, Time's Encomium has no inflective dimension. Its rhythm is always quantitative, never qualitative. Because I need time, I praise it; hence the title. Because it doesn't need me, I approach it respectively; hence the word 'encomium'."
    — Wuorinen

    According to the composer, the primary concern of the piece appears to be rhythmic, since only pure quantitative duration, as opposed to qualitative performance variable inflection, is available to one in the electronic medium, though, "the basic materials are the twelve tempered pitch classes, and pitch-derived time relations," (due to the constraints of the synthesizer). As such, he composed, "with a view to the proportions among absolute lengths of events -- be they small (note-to-note distances) or large (overall form) -- rather than to their relative 'weights,'....conforming to the basic nature of a medium in which sound is always reproduced, never performed."

    However, Wuorinen rescored the piece for standard orchestra, titled Contrafactum published by C.F. Peters. The original piece was remastered and rereleased on Tzadik Records.
    Track Listings:
    Side A
    1 Part I 14:53

    Side B
    1 Part II 16:47
    Total Time: 31:40
    Artist Name(s):
    Charles Wuorinen - RCA Mark II Synthesizer
    William S. Harvey
    Release Year: 1969
    Classical, Minimal
    Album Type:
    LP 33 1/3
    Cover & Packge Design:
    Illustration: Wilcox, Design: Hess And/Or Antupit
    Studio Name:
    Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, January 1968 - January 1969
    Mastering: Pete Helffrich
    Label / Publishing
    Label Name:
    Catalog Number(s):
    New York City, NY USA
    Synthesizers Used
    Album Locator
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