Friday, October 09, 2009

The People United Will Never Be Defeated!


Was Das Kapital the reading of choice on this cruise boat spotted when I was cycle touring on the Burgundy Canal in France? No prizes for guessing the nationality of the party that had booked the $50,000 a week hotel barge.


Continuing the theme of music and place, my listening in Burgundy included The People United Will Never Be Defeated! This is an epic set of thirty-six variations for solo piano by the American composer Frederic Rzewski (yes, I know they don't spend all their lives in hot tubs). Rzewski's time at Harvard brought him into contact with Christian Wolff, John Cage, David Tudor and others. He studied in Italy from 1960 to 1962 with Luigi Dallapiccola and formed a performance group for electronic music with Richard Teitelbaum and Alvin Curran, whose Inner Cities I webcast in 2007.


The music of Frederic Rzewski (b.1938), who is seen in the photo above, is noted for its political agendas. The People United Will Never Be Defeated! is based on the song ¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido! by the Chilean composer Sergio Ortega who was aligned with Salvadore Allende's Marxist socialist coalition. This governed Chile from 1970 until Augusto Pinochet's notorious military coup in 1973, which was yet another example of hot tub diplomacy. While In France I listened to Marc-André Hamelin's recording for Hyperion of The People United Will Never Be Defeated! If you like Glenn Gould's humming and Keith Jarrett's groaning you will love Hamelin's whistling on this disc.


I also had some fun with The People United Will Never Be Defeated! back in April 2006.
Header photo was taken when both my camera and the cruise boat were in public areas at the Vandenesse en Auxois lock on the Burgundy Canal, and I used a non-telephoto Casio EX-Z120 pocket camera. My copy of The People United Will Never Be Defeated! was bought from Prelude Records at retail price in December 2005. I paid my own way to Burgundy, but must confess that my trusty Trek 990 mountain bike on which I was touring was supplied at a discount back in 1990 by the wonderful Trek Bicycle Corporation, whose factory in Madison, Wisconsin I have had the pleasure of visiting. Header photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2009. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk