Ramon Sender Morningstar Concert Program notes march 20 1981 1122w

Mills College Center for Contemporary Music


KORE (1962) for tape and projections Ramon Sender Morningstar

Visual Score by Anthony Martin

TROPICAL FISH OPERA (1962) in Mode Forty-Three* Ramon Sender Morningstar

performers: Bonnie Barnett, voice Ron Heglin, Euphonium Pauline Oliveros, accordion Ramon Sender Morningstar, accordion

DESERT AMBULANCE (1964) for accordion, tape and projections Ramon Sender Morningstar


FLASH a visual piece Anthony Martin

AUDITION for three small harps in Mode Twenty-Eight (First Performance) Ramon Sender Morningstar

performers: Delia Moon, modified autoharp Moses Moon, modified autoharp Ramon Sender Morningstar, modified dalruba

ZERO UPON A TIME AT CHARLENE'S a visual piece by Laird Sutton (First Performance) videotaped in the Bodega Doll Museum featuring Zero the Musical Clown (Ramon Sender Morningstar)

GREAT(10) GRANDPA LEMEUL'S DEATH-RATTLE REINCARNATION BLUES IN F# (First Performance) for tape, accordions, dixieland band and others Ramon Sender Morningstar

performers: William Maginnis, drums Jack Minger, trumpet Lloyd Rice, saxophone Alan Hall, trombone Ron Jaworsky, string bass Eric Van de Wyk, banjo

Zero's Guide to Everwhere and the author-composer's books are on sale in the lobby

*Thanks for MEI LAN, Flower and Gift Shop, 6625 Foothill Blvd., Oakland, for the generous loan of the goldfish and fishtank.

Friday, March 20, 1981 Concert Hall Admission Free

Program Notes Ramon Sender Morningstar

Kore An alternate name for Persephone, Kore was my first real piece for tape alone. It was realized at a small studio I put together at the S.F. Conservatory in 1961. I utilized women's voices and piano sounds which I hand-wound through an old Ampex 403 which had a left-hand capstan drive.

The Tropical Fish Opera was first performed on the Sonic 1962 series of concerts at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the performers being Loren Rush, Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick and myself. Certain areas on the sides of the tank were marked off and whenever a fish swam into that area he or she became a note or a dynamic indication. In this new version, I have prepared a musical staff grid and limited the performers to a mode derived from the I Ching. For enthusiasts of the hexagrams, I used the following correlations: yang=sharp, yin=flat and changing lines are 'naturals.' Thus each of the six lines of the hexagram represents a degree of the scale (excluding the tonic). Subsequent performances of the piece included one on the 1976 San Francisco Chamber Music Society concert series under the direction of Robert Hughes.

Desert Ambulance was composed for Pauline Oliveros and received performances at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, 321 Divisadero in the spring of 1964 before being taken on a nationwide tour that summer. Since then it has received performances on the East Coast and elsewhere. Alfred Frankenstein wrote about the piece: 'The work combines live performance on an accordion with tape, the tape sounds having been taken from something called the Chamberlin Organ' (an early version of the Melotron)... by Anthony Martin and includes a special metal aperture for the 16mm film projector shaped to the size of the performer's body.

Anthony Martin, painter and film-maker, was Visual Director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center and continued on at Mills during the 'sixties. He now teaches at Sheepshead Bay College in New York and continues his work in video and other art forms.

Audition reflects my continuing interest in drone string sounds and special tunings. The solo harp is a stripped-down dalruba, a North Indian instrument which is usually bowed and fretted. I am playing on its sympathetic strings and hopefully on yours as well.

Zero Upon a Time is Zero the Clown's debut on videotape. Laird Sutton, with over forty films to his credit, taped Zero in Charlene's Yesteryear Doll Museum, a magical collection of memorabilia open to the public in Bodega, California.

Great(10) Granpa Lemuel's Death-Rattle Reincarnation Blues I learned to play the blues at Wheeler's Ranch in 1969 where I took up the accordion again after a hiatus of twenty years. The tape background was prepared on an Ampex PR-10 tape duplicator by allowing a loop to record over itself innumerable times. By placing the loop on backwards and then playing the tape of the loop backwards, I was able to begin with white noise and have the theme gradually emerge.

In my recently published novel ZERO WEATHER, my hero Zero the Wunderweight expounds a cosmology in which Great(10) Grandpa Lemuel is the Unmanifest Creator of Everwhere, our universe, and the husband of Great(10) Grandma Hattie, the mother of the Milky Way. Here is Zero's own explanation of how this bluesiest of blues was composed:

Once upon a time, Old Great(10) Grandpa Lemuel, or Lem or U1 or even '!', - Ol' Kingfish heself - was snoozing down by the old fishin' hole, the Pool of All Possibilities. Suddenly the fishline tied to his big toe juggled and he sat up fast, pulled it in hand over hand - hm, nothing! He crouched there, leaning over the water, staring at his empty hood and wondering where his bait went, when he caught a man with a long white beard! Now this came as a big surprise to Great Grandpa Lem because he had always assumed, quite naturally since he was Endlessness Himself, that he was immortal.

"I'm getting old!" he shouted beside the Pool of All Possibilities upon the halcyon slopes of Paradise in the Total Perfection of the Absolute Sun. And he counted his wrinkles and the white hairs in his beard and cried sweet tears and, as he cried, he picked up his guitar or oud or psaltery or dalruba and sang 'The Death-Rattle Reincarnation Blues' from start to finish for the very first time, missing only three grand barre's and a high G sharp. Every note of that bluesiest of blues became a ripple on the pool and every ripple a whole universe and our universe is the third chord change in the second line of the first verse.

Great Granpa's song quantum'd out in all directions and became manifest as All-Time Everwhere in which a light century of ours is but a millisecond, a tachyon, a 'zt.' Old Ancient of Days Kingfish, crying and laughing and singing out across the waters, while coruscating galaxies coalesced and dissolved, while even in the coldest, deepest reaches of The Pool of All Possibilities something that was nothing stirred and resonated to his voice.

Ah, Halcyon the Kingfisher! The great fisherman who combs the water for his water brothers, preying on us as we pray. His tears are the soul-essence-spirit-spark of our reality, the nothingness-sperm-hydrogen Great Grandma Hattie spins into dustclouds of baby stars.

Typed by Cheryl Vega 8-17-95