Label: New World Records
James Tenney (1934-2006) was one of the most versatile figures in contemporary American music. Apart from creating a large, wide-ranging, and fascinating body of compositions, more than a hundred of them, he was one of the key music theorists of the late twentieth century. This CD set offers complete recordings of one of the most important of Tenney's later sets of pieces-Spectrum Pieces 1-8, the first five of which were written in Toronto in 1995 and the last three in 2001, after he moved to Valencia, California, to teach at the California Institute of the Arts. They offer a summation of much of Tenney's compositional practice and at the same time break open new and fertile territory that he had regrettably little time to explore in subsequent compositions. The eight works were not intended to be listened to sequentially or as a whole set, nor need they be; Tenney thought of them as a "family" of pieces, with certain shared features, not as a cycle. Collectively they form a body of work in which many of Tenney's musical and theoretical preoccupations converge, interact, and yield music of deep fascination and strange beauty.