George Crumb (b.1929)
My first experience of George Crumb’s extraordinary music was listening to a live performance of his Black Angels (1970) for electric string quartet, given by the Brodsky. I had never heard sounds like this before. When I went through a recording of the piece following the score, I was stunned by the beauty, clarity and imagination in his frameable notation.
There is something deeply symbolic in the dark magic of George Crumb’s music. He weaves-in ‘spells’ using numerology, and his titles: ‘Night of the Electric Insects’, ‘Sound of Bones & Flutes’, ‘Apparition’ and ‘Ancient Voices of Children’ are evocative. Hear his Macrocosmos III (1974).
From Crumb I learned a refined care for timbre, the way it changes and the way it is recognised. Music can be magic.