REVIEW: Scott E. Scholz | Polley Music Library Show

“Nakai visited the four major repositories of Tudor’s papers and instruments and strove to find the connections across the span of his career, presenting his findings in accordance with the way that Tudor would have approached his own work. That is to say, for a performer who became known in particular for his ability to interpret graphic scores during the earliest developments of graphic notation, there seemed to be a consistency of approach that allowed Tudor to excel at interpreting such works, and he seems to have applied that kind of philosophy throughout his life’s work. Nakai has distilled this approach down to a 2-step process:

“1. Observe the given material thoroughly in an unbiased way until it reveals its own ‘nature.’
2. Bias the subsequent approach to the material based on this nature.”

This seems abstract at first, but it turns out to be quite practical. Nakai used this approach on the collections and holdings of David Tudor to help focus his research, and we can discover both the hows and the whys of pieces throughout his career following this simple plan. Based on the research materials explored to create this book, it’s fair to say that this isn’t a biography. It really is a document of David Tudor’s music through and through, and to some extent David Tudor as a legendary or somewhat mysterious person will remain elusive as you read this book. But you will likely understand his work and his methods, and to the degree that he seemed so deeply invested in his work, perhaps this is enough.”

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