Lingua II: Maledetto
(Composition for 7 Virtuoso Speakers) 1967–8
Performed by NMCE III members: Alan Johnson, Elinor Barron, Bruce Leibig, Sherry Dorn, Bonnie Mara Barnett, Robert MacDougall, Bruce Rittenbach; directed by Kenneth Gaburo
Statistically, Maledetto was written during 1967–8. Rehearsals began in my garage in the summer of 1969 simultaneously with the formation of NMCE III (a group concerned with gesture, action, talk, and theater music). It was premiered at the San Diego Ballet Theater Studio, October 31, 1969. The last NMCE III public performance occurred at UC-Riverside, November 18, 1972. During that period some 250 hours were spent on Maledetto. It was performed about forty times in environments from Los Angeles to New York and Washington, and non-statistically: For, as part of its charge, NMCE III had not only a desire to probe deeply into each composition which it undertook, but to investigate the very process and nature of performing, i.e., to discover what it meant/means to be in, into, within, inside a composition as distinct from merely reproducing the signs of a composition. In short, (although this must be a subject for an extended discourse elsewhere), the process of probing Maledetto was the process of transforming an explicit, detached object (i.e., a “score” presented to NMCE III) into an implicit awareness of subject (i.e., for all purposes NMCE III was Maledetto). I shall never forget the group nor the para-linguistic components which enclosed that three-year drive, including: BR’s difficulty with rolled R’s, RMD’s concern with getting his reverberant voice soft enough, BB’s incessant glee each time she expressed “I affirm the right to singular bargaining with all of the collective governing organs,” BL’s machine-gun precision given his incredible list of fricative curses. SD’s fear that as an actress she could not also be a musician, EB’s efforts to get into a child-like state, AJ’s approach to “(7) stopper-screws, such as are described by Cipriano Piccolpasso for his pottery bottles,” (at a wpm rate of 300), my not-without-agony determination to not impose as composer, but to help the group reach its own Maledetto. And, thus, while I believe this recording to be impeccable, it is so only insofar as it is NMCE III, and therefore is not a model to be imitated, but simply “A Maledetto.”
—Kenneth Gaburo, December, 1973 La Jolla, California
This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available as a burn-on-demand CD (CD-R) or download in MP3/320, FLAC or WAV formats. CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included. Full liner notes are accessible via the link above.