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Best of 2024

La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela

The Well-Tuned Piano In The Magenta Lights

Label: Just Dreams

Format: Dvd + Book

Genre: Compositional

In stock


2024 Stock, very last copies around. Deluxe DVD edition of The Well-Tuned Piano in The Magenta Lights, containing La Monte Young’s continuous 6 hour-24 minute performance of his masterpiece is now back in print for the first time since 2001. Comes with a 52-page booklet, which includes La Monte and Marian’s essays on their works. Edition of 500, one time pressing.
High Minimalism - one of the great, revolutionary musical movements of the 20th century, is marked by a canon of towering and iconic works -  Johnson’s November, Riley’s In C, Conrad’s Four Violins, Reich’s Drumming, Palestine’s Four Manifestations On Six Elements, Wada’s Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile, the list goes on. Even in the face of these marvels - the radicalism and wonder, little comes close to wild ambition of La Monte Young’s great, evolving masterpiece, The Well Tuned Piano  - among the most beloved works in the body of Minimalism’s output. Initially recorded in 1981, issued as a now impossibly rare X5 LP set in 1987 - 81 X 25 6:17:50 - 11:18:59 PM NYC, Young’s continuous 6 hour-24 minute performance of the work was recorded again in 1987 and released as a DVD in 2000, with the new subtitle, In The Magenta Lights, going quickly out of print and remaining so ever since. Now, in a momentous event, the composer’s own MELA Foundation and Just Dreams recordings have issued a new deluxe DVD edition of The Well-Tuned Piano in The Magenta Lights, making it available to the public for the first time in nearly 20 years. This is as big as it gets.

Begun in 1964 and premiered ten years later, The Well-Tuned Piano, despite it’s consuming and immersive duration, is regarded by Young to be an unfinished work, slowly evolving in his hand, mind, and ears over the decades. Utilizing his own just-intonated tuning system, divided into seven structural / thematic intervals of varying length, the work, being improvisation, is ever-changing with no specific form. Considered by many to be among the great achievements of 20th-century music, it is one those rare works which is known by almost every fan of avant-garde music, while having been heard and seen by comparatively very few - the Gramavision release being virtually unobtainable, the initial DVD having been only issued in an edition constrained to the low hundreds, and performances having been scarce at best.

This realization of The Well-Tuned Piano In Magenta Lights was recorded and filmed in concert May 10, 1987, at 155 Mercer Street, New York City, with the subtitled referring to its accompanying light-installation by Marian Zazeela, Young’s partner and collaborator since the early 1960’s. A work of shimmering sonority, challenging relationships, The Well-Tuned Piano deserves every bit of its legendary status - an entire rethinking of the way the piano is seen, understood, and heard, singing down the decades since its early versions began to appear.

This is a rare opportunity to own this almost never available work and piece of history. Issued by the composer himself in signed and unsigned editions, this new edition expanded the original accompany booklet, including La Monte and Marian’s essays on their works, to 52 pages with a new essay by their senior disciple Jung Hee Choi. For the first time, in these notes, Jung Hee illuminates the the tuning underlying this masterpiece of composition, for all to understand. This issue of The Well-Tuned Piano In Magenta Lights is as important and as essential as they come. 6 hour-24 minutes of pure bliss. It won’t sit around for long. We highly recommend that you grab it the second you can. Who knows if we'll see it again before another 20 years.

File under: Just Intonation
Cat. number: JD005
Year: 2018

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