Arithmetic of Sound

This exquisitely curated program is like a conversation with modernism. What does ‘modern’ music sound like? What makes it sound ‘modern’? How widely did its influence reach across the planet? At the head of the table is Debussy, and 13 of his keyboard preludes. You can hear the world of music breaking free of Romantic tradition in these pieces, as Debussy evokes sensations (The Sounds and Fragrances Swirl Through the Evening Air) and objects (Dead Leaves) with a glowing sonority that acted like a beacon to composers who followed: this is music both hazy and precise, mysterious and explicit. 

Succeeding generations would take Debussy’s ability to evoke a vivid moment (or a remembrance of one) even further. In his very first piece, composed while Debussy was at work on his second book of Preludes, the 15-year-old Henry Cowell uses polytonality and clusters of chords to evoke the legendary Irish god of the sea in The Tides of Manaunaun. In Amores, by Cowell’s pupil John Cage, two percussion trios interact with prepared piano in a work exploring Cage’s conviction ‘that love is something that we can consider beautiful’. And with Debussy and Cage as two of his touchstones, the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu created many sublime pieces inspired by water, in which he explores the border between sound and silence in exquisitely fine timbres and textures.

Claude DEBUSSY Préludes 
Henry COWELL The Banshee 
Henry COWELL Aoelian Harp 
Henry COWELL The Tides of Manaunaun 
John CAGE Amores 
John CAGE 4’33” 
Torū TAKEMITSU Rain Tree 
John CAGE Living Room Music 

Paavali Jumppanen (ANAM Artistic Director) director/piano 
Timothy Young
(ANAM Head of Piano) director/piano 
ANAM Pianists and Percussionists

Timothy Young’s ANAM Faculty position is supported by an anonymous donor

The performance will last 2 hours and 10 minutes. 


For this event, tickets booked in advance are offered on a "pay what you wish" basis. In addition to a Standard price, we offer the option of paying A Little Extra for those who would like to contribute a little more, as well as the option of paying A Little LessRead more about the change here.

If you are booking over the phone, simply tell us your preferred ticket price. Tickets purchased at the door will be available at the Standard price and are subject to availability.

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