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Album Review

Higgins, Dick – “Thousand Symphonies, The” – [Plana-h]

Cousin Mary   8/20/2014   A Library, CD

Dick Higgins decided in 1968 that police should have something better to do than arresting people for possession of small amounts of marijuana. He came up with the idea of having them compose music by setting up a firing range with musical score paper targets and having police shoot at them with machine guns. The resulting “scores” are interpreted as notes with allowances of repeats of phrases by the musicians with the conductor’s guidance. Tears in the papers also give musical direction that depends on how the paper is torn. In 2003 Phillip Corner performed these symphonies in conjunction with an exhibit at Douglas College – the first track has lots of crowd noise, presumably from attendees of this exhibit. “Music” which includes many instruments and voice varies a lot – very minimal, loud and boisterous, almost pretty, somber, funny, and in the case of track 4 rather jazzy. Way outside, but give it a chance!

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