27 July 2012

Face the Windmills, Turn Left

Once again, a belatedly acknowledged passing...

"My father (whom I have never known as I was barely one year old when he died) had wanted me to grow up with music. There was a phonograph in our house and a number of records. Those were my only toys. Records of opera arias, operetta tunes, classical pieces, among others. I was also hearing music that the environment was offering me, music that I regarded rather anodyne and I began to say to myself that there ought to be more to music than all that. Indeed there was."

^ ^ ^

"My interest in electronic music was reactivated when...a couple of discs arrived from France. They contained the initial compositions of what we termed musique concrète: works by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry. A new epoch in music history had begun, I thought, one that could even be regarded as the beginning of music history proper, all that preceded being only a sort of pre-history. We were in the early '50s and I was in Ankara, Turkey. Lacking proper tools, I couldn't do whatever I would have wanted to do in this new field. Later I learned that with improper tools, too, one could compose electronic music but, by then, I had only the proper tools."

^ ^ ^

"Applying to the INS some years ago, for a Re-Entry Permit. Form completed, I handed the man in charge a 20-dollar bill required as application fee. He gave me a suspicious look and said, 'On the application it says Profession: Composer. If you're a composer, how come you have 20 dollars in your pocket?'"

^ ^ ^

"My association with the Columbia Princeton Electronic Music Center ended in 1989... The reason for the termination: smoking was prohibited in all areas of the building. Some years later...the equipment of the 'classical' studio -- tape recorders and all -- was discarded, replaced by computers, which would have terminated my association anyway."

^ ^ ^

"Occasionally Ussachevsky would ask me at the last minute to take over the electronic music class. I would be totally unprepared, so I would start my address by asking, 'Any questions?' and proceed from there."

^ ^ ^

"During my earliest days of in the electronic music studio, I became aware of a parallel between the tools and the process of filmmaking and those of composing electronic music (on tape). Often I am asked how I composed this or that piece of electronic music, and as often my answer refers to a cartoon I saw somewhere, some years ago. The first expedition to Mars returns and journalists are eager to know all about it. Says the chief of the expedition: 'We were all so full of wonder that we forgot to take notes.'"

excerpts from an untitled autobiography, by İlhan Mimaroğlu.
Printed in Bananafish, issue 13, c. 1999

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