Ingram Marshall: Today’s Music Tomorrow

Working with Other Musicians

FRANK J. OTERI: Now to take this now into to performers and performance, I know that when the Evensongs disc came out with Entrada, which I adore, and In My Beginning Is My End for piano quartet. All of a sudden there’s this essentially acoustic music, music for other players and it came out and everyone thought it was a real departure for you. But in your notes you say that you’ve written music like this all your life. This music is certainly notation-based, and score-based and performance-based in the old pre-20th century European sense. So with these pieces, are the scores the texts?

INGRAM MARSHALL: Well, certainly much more so than other pieces of mine. But again I feel very comfortable when I can work with a group that’s playing it rather than just having them learn it from the score. Because there are still things I do that are kind of eccentric, you know, that are different that you can’t really notate. A certain sound or a certain feeling. And there’s just so much you can write down. Some composers write lots of expression marks. You know, Crumb‘s always writing lugubrious and dark, mysterious and foggy, but I don’t know. I’d rather just tell them how I think it should go. So I’m not a firm, a great believer in simply notation as the real carrier of the text.

FRANK J. OTERI: So I guess, what do you do? What happens if, say, there’s a performance in Albuquerque tomorrow and…

INGRAM MARSHALL: Well, they. There’s the recordings to go by. They can hear what’s been done and get some ideas. They ask me questions too. I wrote two pieces for a wonderful oboe player here in New Haven, Libby van Cleve, one for English horn and one for oboe d’amore and they’re both electronic, have tape parts or there’s electronic processing. You know, she and I collaborated, I mean, you know, she played stuff, I recorded it, she would try different things out. So she learned the piece literally as I was composing it. Now other performers of that won’t know from George what’s going on if they haven’t heard the recording. ‘Cuz the notated text, so to speak, is very spare. You know, if you just look at it you can’t really know what’s going on in here. So I have to be part of the process. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.

FRANK J. OTERI: But you won’t always be able to be part of the process.

INGRAM MARSHALL: Well, maybe it’ll keep me going longer that way!

FRANK J. OTERI: To look at the pieces that Libby did for that new New Albion disc that just came out about a month ago. I was thinking about those pieces because you know those pieces are so all about her. Could someone else play them?

INGRAM MARSHALL: Oh, absolutely, yeah. In fact, someone is going to play Dark Waters next year in Philadelphia. The group Rel‚che. I can’t remember his name…he’s a very fine oboe player. But you know he and I will work on it somewhat together. So those pieces are meant to be performed by other people. It’s not just for Libby. But they are very much her works…