Just Charles & Cello in the Romantic Chord
Just Charles & Cello in the Romantic Chord, composed by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela for cellist Charles Curtis in 2003, is a monumental essay in sustained sound and gradually shifting light projection, centered on the voice of Curtis’s cello-playing, improvising within the rigorous formal framework of Young’s composition. Composed in just intonation, which Young describes as “that system of tuning in which every frequency is related to every other frequency as the numerator or denominator of some whole number fraction,” Just Charles mobilizes Curtis’s capacity for exact tonal precision as he intones pitches and melodic figures over pre-recorded cello drones. Compositionally, the work expands on the “Romantic Chord” section of Young’s evolving improvisational magnum opus The Well-Tuned Piano, translating material written for Young’s specially-tuned Bösendorfer Imperial Grand into the realm of the sustaining cello. Curtis describes playing the piece as a “realtime acoustical investigation” during which the constant inflection of pitch becomes performative material, as he searches for the frequencies, intervals, and overtones that define the intonational structure. Just Charles can be seen as a bridge between The Well-Tuned Piano and Young’s works with sustained tones such as The Four Dreams of China and Trio for Strings.
Due to the unique and intimate nature of this event, this program will require a separate, add-on ticket to ensure the artistic integrity of the experience. Tickets for this event will be released along with the festival schedule and will be available only to passholders.