From Moog To Mac

Herbert Deutsch composer

Release Date: October 30, 2012
Catalog #: RR7846
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Avant-Garde
Electroacoustic
Electronic
Voice

While Bob Moog is regarded the inventor of the Moog synthesizer, musician and composer Herbert Deutsch was an invaluable partner in developing the instrument for musical use. Composing the first piece of music for the original synthesizer, suggesting the keyboard interface, and relaying to Moog the potential benefits and improvements for musicians and composers, Deutsch established himself as a solid collaborator and a pioneer in his own right.

FROM MOOG TO MAC is a collection of Deutsch’s compositions for and performances on the Moog synthesizer spanning the last 30 years, from works written using the original “portable electronic music studio” to those written on the modern variations. This historic release features developmental tracks tracking the genesis and improvements on the synthesizers, in which Deutsch frequently pushes the boundaries of both musical content and technological innovation.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 A Christmas Carol Herbert Deutsch Albert Tepper, Herbert Beattie, Brana Schwartz, narration; Brana Schwartz, vocals 6:24
02 The Abominatron Herbert Deutsch Robert Arthur Moog, narration, prototype synthesizer 6:32
03 Jazz Images, A Worksong and Blues Herbert Deutsch Herbert Deutsch, trumpet, piano 9:58
04 A Little Night Music, The Ithaca Journal, August 6, 1965 Herbert Deutsch Robert Arthur Moog, vocals; Herbert Deutsch, vocals 3:43
05 Prologue to King Richard III Herbert Deutsch Herbert Beattie, voice of Richard III 3:18
06 Sleight of Hand (Mr. Magic Man) Herbert Deutsch Karen Saunders, alto 6:03
07 Abyss Herbert Deutsch Patricia Spencer, piccolo; Grace Anderson. mezzo-soprano 7:13
08 Fantasy on "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" Herbert Deutsch John Marshall, alto and soprano saxophones 11:06
09 2 Songs Without Words: No. 1. Longing Herbert Deutsch Darryl Kubian, theremin; Nancy Deutsch, piano 3:40
10 2 Songs Without Words: No. 2. Circling (You Did Not Know) Herbert Deutsch Darryl Kubian, theremin; Nancy Deutsch, piano 3:52

A Little Night Music, The Ithaca Journal Aug. 6, 1965
feat: Participants in the 1965 Moog/Deutsch Workshop

Sleight of Hand (Mister Magic Man)
text: Herbert Deutsch and Karen Saunders (1989)
(Used with permission of 4Tay Records, from the album WOMAN IN DARKNESS)

Abyss
text: Sonia Usatch (1994)
(Used with permission of 4Tay Records, from the album WOMEN IN DARKNESS)

Original Editing and Mastering:
Darryl Kubian of Xtreme Medium
Video production: Michael Sterling

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Product Manager Jeff Leroy

Mastering Mark Fellows

Art & Production Director Brett Picknell

A&R Jon McCormack
PR Coordinator Rory Cooper

Artist Information

Herbert Deutsch

Composer

Herbert Deutsch is a composer, author, educator, and performer, and was Professor of Music at Hofstra University for 57 years. He is a composer of music in various media and his work has been widely performed, and commissioned works have been featured at national and regional conferences. In 1972, Deutsch co-founded the Long Island Composers Alliance. During his career at Hofstra, he founded Jazz Ensemble, Electronic Music Studios, New Music Ensemble, and created the B.S. Degree programs in Jazz, Composition/Theory and Music Business. He received the George Estabrook Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996 and the Hofstra Alumni Achievement Award in 2001. The Music Department has established the Herbert Deutsch Award for highest honors in Music Education.

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Notes

This piece was composed in October, 1963 as a message to then President John F. Kennedy. The reference to JFK is made using the words and music and of the popular French children’s song “Frère Jacques” (Brother John) which is heard several times throughout the piece. The focus of this composition is the Birmingham AL church bombings that had recently occurred. The story of this tragic bombing is told through the words of news radio broadcasts. The piece was completed only days before JFK’s assassination.

The composition is in a style generally called “musique concrete.” Musique concrète was the name given to French experimental tape recorder music during the 1950s. The primary source of sound material is developed using tape record-ing and tape manipulation through speed change, tape reversal, looping and editing. The sounds on this composition were originally piano, cymbals, drums, ratchet, and radio test-oscillators, along with voices, both spoken and sung.

This was the first example of electronic music that I played for Robert Moog in 1964 before we developed the first Moog Synthesizer.

– Herbert Deutsch

In what is a truly historic tape recording made in August, 1964, Bob Moog talks and plays as he describes the progress made on the prototype instrument that he and I had developed during June that summer. He plays little fragments of music on the instrument which he jokingly decides to call The Abominatron.

As he demonstrates some of the possibilities, which include pitch sliding, oscillator wave-shapes and frequency modulation, he comments freely and often humorously of their potential in this newly-developing era. Noting the possible “muddiness” of polyphonic voicing while using extremes of modulation, he expresses his concern about even making the instrument polyphonic. (NB: it was several years before polyphonic analog synthesizers were developed.)

Of greater interest is that Bob even expresses his concern about the potential of “a contraption like this.”

– Herbert Deutsch

On the preceding track, Bob asks me to “write a short bitty” for the prototype synthesizer. When he received shipment of that prototype, the piece that he chose to complete was Jazz Images. The piece was completed in September, 1964. It is the first piece of music ever composed using the sounds of a Moog Synthesizer.

In 1964, the sounds and the potential of sound modification had a startling effect upon me. It was as if each new sound produced would almost instantly free my mind and my fingers to move in a new direction. This experience fit perfectly into the way I was hearing, and wished to explore, the new jazz that I loved to hear and play.

The “worksong” grew from a traditional E minor blues scale, but I felt that the synthesizer offered an escape from that tradition and could move into soundscape composition and free-form improvisation.

While exploring that idea, I began to build on a multi-track tape portion which, when edited and completed, formed a nice 6/8 loop that allowed me to improvise over it playing both trumpet and piano. It seemed that this section would best fade away.

After listening to it many times, I felt that a traditional “Bb blues” might be given a similar approach, especially adding the white noise generator to produce rhythmic effects. (Of course this has been done thousands of times since then, and generally with better results.) The blues portion, however, was intended to open up the potential for completely free sections of free soundscapes and close with an intentionally light-hearted return to the old blues.

I have left the master recording that is used in this performance exactly as it was first recorded from the 1964 prototype. I intentionally retained the sound, often funky and often out-of-tune, specifically as it was when first played almost fifty years ago. It is an archival reference to the birth of the Moog and my feelings and reactions about it at that time.

– Herbert Deutsch

One of the most important developments in the historical archives of the Moog Synthesizer was the Summer 1965 Workshop and Seminar in Electronic Music Composition. More details about this workshop and seminar (including participants and photographs) are included in these recording materials. The workshop was conducted at the R.A. Moog Company in Trumansburg NY and the instructors were Robert Moog and myself. I composed this work as the final piece on the closing concert. The texts of the work were all taken from news stories, articles, sports features, and comic strips as they appeared in the Ithaca Journal on August 6, 1965.

Voices heard during the piece were the voices of several of the participating com-posers. The composition combines the elements of musique concrete, multi-track recording and several combined sounds (including Tibetan trumpet mixed with synthesizer). The title comes of course from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik which is also quoted several times in the piece.

In retrospect, August 6, 1965 was only one day in history. What was captured in this piece holds that day in time and its events become often frightening remind-ers of that day, its past and our futures.

– Herbert Deutsch

The annual Shakespeare Festival now over its 60th year at Hofstra University has often been performed on a multi-level set designed on a model of the original Globe Theatre in London. In 1971, the director of the festival chose to use a contemporary stage with a pathway built some six feet above the audience especially to be used in the famous prologue as Richard enters the stage at the opening of the play. I was commissioned to compose the score for this modern production and chose to employ our newly-installed Moog Elec-tronic Music Studio. Much of the score was composed of soundscapes moving throughout the theater using a rotating speaker system that I designed which was employed by the audio engineer in real time during the play.

For the prologue, however, I chose to create a completely free-standing composition. In this piece, the only electronic instrument used was the Mini-Moog. Of course, tape recording was the primary source of sound manipulation and there is a consistent use of multi-tracking. There are several tape loops employed and multi-edited sections using trumpet both as a sustained sound and as the “attack” portions of more complex tape-edited sounds. The melodic and harmonic structure of the composition is intended to recapture the modal quality of late renaissance music that would have been appropriate for the turn of the 1600s.

– Herbert Deutsch

During the summer of 1989, I wrote two songs with cabaret singer Karen Saunders. One of them, about a magi-cian whose act and actions, hypnotize a woman in his audience who sees him as ‘mister magic man’, who fills her dreams-capes with wonder and whose mysteries move from reality to what the rest of the audience sees as sleight of hand.

Karen and I co-wrote the text for this song. I performed my music on a Moog MemoryMoog and a Korg M-1 Music Workstation. At that time, of course, the recording was originally done on multi-track tape.

Lyrics

Text by Herbert Deutsch and Karen Saunders

Flash your fingers, magic man
Coins all disappear.
Step off stage, brush by my side, go to the table over on the aisle,
And there they are right behind that kid’s ear.
They’re right there behind that kid’s ear.
They’ve always been there haven’t they?

Three shining rings, mmmmm, are chained up in a row.
Then from your pocket, a sheet of silk,
A flaming red silk covers up the chain,

And with a flash of your wand and flowing red silk
The chain is gone.
Three separate rings there in your hand.
The chain’s just a dream flown away.

Mister Magic Man, fill my dreamscapes with wonder
Mister Magic Man, fill my dreamscapes with truth
Mister Magic Man, in my heart I believe you,
Though all the people whisper,
“SLEIGHT OF HAND.”

You wave your wrist, magic man, and fan out all the cards.
I reach my hand into the deck,
Select the Red Queen, hold her to my breast,
And then your lips gently move into a smile like I’ve never seen.
I feel myself drawn to your eyes . . . Reflected there is your Red Queen.

Now I’m the lady, mmmmmm, who floats so still in the air.
You smile your smile, step to one side And I’m like red silk flashing everywhere.
You pass a hoop round my body as I float high into the air.
From far away I hear the crowd.
Can I still be in my chair?

Mister Magic Man, fill my dreamscapes with wonder
Mister Magic Man, fill my dreamscapes with truth
Mister Magic Man, in my heart I believe you,
Though all the people whisper,
“SLEIGHT OF HAND.”

– Herbert Deutsch

Abyss was created to explore the desperate conflict between a mother and her schizophrenic son. It is based upon a poem by Sonia Usatch which she shared with me some years ago when we were both involved with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. I composed this as a performance-art composition for computer generated sound, piccolo and mezzo soprano voice. Against a drone-like C major electronic chant which quietly repeats itself in a slow 5/4 metric pattern, the soprano appeals, quietly, tonally, and melodically to her son who, represented by the piccolo playing through various modes and meters of a 12-tone row attempts but can neither understand her nor or be understood by her.

In performance, the piccolo player and singer enter the stage from opposite sides after the electronic drone begins. They never recognize each other during the performance and exit the stage when each has completed their final lines, leaving the drone to slowly fade. Although the music is in no way related, the dramatic concept of this work was influenced by my great love of the music of Charles Ives, and especially his darkly philosophic orchestral work The Unanswered Question.

Lyrics
Text by Sonia Usatch

Talk to me. Talk to me. Why won’t you?
Please . . . please may I kiss you?
You do know me, but your body betrays.
Concaves deeper into your chair.
Speaks to me from recoiled despair.

Your lips pressed shut deny me cheeks.
Sunken ebony spheres
Agony etched
The color of dusk devouring day.
And your eyes . . . your eyes . . . your eyes.

Talk to me. Talk to me. Why won’t you?
Your skin, as your stillness.
Ashen, almost as if you lose blood in the night.

Please take my hand
Bring your face to mine
And please talk to me.
Won’t you ever? Won’t you ever?
Won’t you ever smile?

– Herbert Deutsch

Fortunately, my mother loved many of the beautiful “Negro Spirituals” (as they were called in the early 20th century) and one of her favorites, which quickly became one of my favorites, was the lovely and sad “Sometimes I Feel Like a Mother-less Child.” To this day I can still imagine her singing it to me. More dramatically I remember first hearing it in all its power in a recording made by the great Paul Robeson.

An exceptional student in my electronic music class in the early 1990’s was a particularly gifted saxophonist, John Marshall. He studied electronic music throughout his junior year at Hofstra, and often explored the possibilities of recording his instrument, sometimes only its mouthpiece, and incorporating it into expanded audio and sound mixes. John was also the lead saxophonist and principle jazz soloist in our jazz program and one of our finest Music Education students. Upon his graduation in 1995 and in his honor, I composed my Fantasy on Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. It was first performed that summer as a piece for solo African-American Dancer with saxophone soloist (John) at a dance program in the Harry Chapin Theater at Huntington NY.

This composition is designed to be a showpiece for the soloist. It combines absolutely straight forward playing of the original theme with sudden and dramatic interchanges between electronically generated sounds and the soloist. There are complex moments of atonal conversation between electronic sound and serially organized saxophone, and long sections of jazz both notated and improvised. I had originally felt that the soloist would, at one point, play both soprano and alto saxophones simultaneously, and it has been performed in that manner by other players. Because of its complexity, however, John still performs this piece without simultaneity and I feel it is much more beautifully done in that manner! John still plays this piece many times. This recording was made for my 75th birth-day concert in 2007.

– Herbert Deutsch

I. Longing
II. Circling (You Did Not Know)

I originally composed these pieces as Two Evening Reflections, songs for soprano and piano based upon texts by the Long Island poet Virginia Terris. The songs had been performed frequently and the two, which must be sung back to back, form a sensitive statement of love. I dedicated this to my wife Nancy, as a birthday gift in May, 2001.

After attending MoogMusic’s Ethermusic Theremin Festival in Asheville NC in June, 2005, and having first heard of Bob’s illness at the same time that such beautiful theremin music was being played, I was moved to compose for that instrument. It is widely known that throughout his life, Bob Moog always loved the theremin. I would venture to say that it was always his favorite musical instrument. At the festival I met a wonderfully talented thereminist-violinist named Darryl Kubian and from this friendship I decided to re-write Two Evening Reflections as Two Songs Without Words for Theremin and Piano.

The concept of the “song without words” first appeared beautifully and quite romantically in piano music written by Felix Mendelsohn almost 200 years ago. His intention was, of course, quite clear: to bring the essence of poetry into the melody, harmony and timbre of music. I composed these theremin songs first for solo theremin with string quartet. This version was scored for piano and theremin and written specifically for my wife, Nancy and my dear friend, Darryl.

– Herbert Deutsch