Saturday, April 01, 2006

Women's History Month 2006

Women's History Month at HurdAudio has run its course this year. Over the course of this past month I have listened closely to several outstanding works:

Marilyn Crispell: Amaryllis
Eleanor Hovda: Lemniscates
Lois V. Vierk: Go Guitars
Linda Catlin Smith: Little Venice
Ruth Crawford Seeger: Quartet (1931)
Julia Wolfe: The Vermeer Room
Maggi Payne: Airwaves (realities)
Lois V. Vierk: Manhattan Cascade
Annie Gosfield: The Manufacture of Tangled Ivory
Wendy Prezament: Trilling
Pauline Oliveros: Portrait of Malcolm
Tina Davidson: Cassandra Sings
Allison Cameron: Two Bits
Lois V. Vierk: Red Shift
Mary Ellen Childs: Oa Poa Polka

The thing that strikes me from this particular collection is how far these works travel inside the physical qualities of the instrument(s) involved. From the intense quiet of Hovda's "Lemniscates" that focuses the ears on the properties of vibrating strings to the aggressiveness of Gosfield's exploration of piano samples in "The Manufacture of Tangled Ivory" this month has been an indulgence in some intensely timbre focused works.

This year's celebration is tinged with some sadness at the recent passing of Octavia Butler. The few novels I've read of hers were so thoughtful and unusual. It may be time to seek out more of her words.

It is also sadly ironic that during this past month the would-be Taliban of South Dakota has aggressively attempted to move backward in regard to women's rights. (There are few elected officials ripe for more ridicule than Senator Bill Napoli.) When these guys aren't busy fantasizing about the "good old days" of shotgun weddings they draft legislation tailor made to cash in their chips at the newly-stacked supreme court. Go ahead and over-reach, boys. There's plenty of "political capital" with a noose on the end to hang that one on.

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