PRINT May 2009


Musica Elettronica Viva

MUSICA ELETTRONICA VIVA are a collective that dates from that brave era the 1960s, when art was made unabashedly in the service of the revolution. As Frederic Rzewski, the pianist and composer who has served most often as the group’s spokesperson, explained in a 1969 interview:

We are making the first steps now toward an actively revolutionary music, a music which will not be an instrument of ruling-class “culture” . . . but rather a force in the hands of the people, a special language belonging to everybody. When this happens, the “concert” will come to resemble other liberated forms such as the party or the day off.

MEV’s two best-documented pieces from the period, SpaceCraft (1967–68) and Sound Pool (1969), are exercises in such ground clearing. The former work is a collective improvisation based on a plan conceived by Rzewski, in which each player imagines him- or herself “imprisoned”

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