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CÉSAR BOLAÑOS — Peruvian Electroacoustic And Experimental Work (1964 — 1970)

CÉSAR BOLAÑOS — Peruvian Electroacoustic And Experimental Work (1964 — 1970)

Peru CÉSAR BOLAÑOS — Peruvian Electroacoustic And Experimental Work (1964 — 1970)
▪▪  A first definitive collection: A stunning cross-section of an underrated composer.
Born: Lima, Peru, 1931
Died: Lima, Peru, 2012
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina years at Latin American Center of High Musical Studies (CLAEM)
Similar artists: George Crumb and John Cage
Album release: 2009
Record Label: Pogus
Duration:     100:07
Tracks:
01 Intensidad y Altura (César Bolaños)     5:15
02 Interpolaciones (Julio Martin Viera, electric guitar)      9:25
03 Flexum (Eduardo Kusnir)     13:50
04 Divertimento I (Antonio Tauriello)     6:10
05 Divertimento III (Armando Krieger)     9:32
06 I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1 (Antonio Tauriello, Ethel Gandini, Francisco Cortese, Oscar Bazan & Roberto Villanuela)     9:48
CD 2:
01 Sialoecibi, ESEPCO I (Gerardo Gandini, piano & Norberto Campos, recitator)     9:56
02 Canción sin Palabras, ESEPCO II (César Bolaños, piano & Edgar Valcarcel, piano)     15:32
03 Ñacahuasu (César Bolaños)     20:47
2009 Pogus Productions
CD 1: Intensidad y Altu¬ra (1964); Interpolaciones (1966) for electric guitar and tape; Flexum (1969) for woodwind instruments, strings, percussion and tape; Divertimento I (1966) for clarinet, flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, clave, piano, double bass and percussion; Divertimento III (1967) for clarinet, flute, bass clarinet, piano, and percussion instruments; I 10 AIFG/Rbt-1 (1968) for 3 performers, horn, trombone, electric guitar, 2 percussionists, 2 projectionists and 9 projectors of slides synchronized by automatic system, and tape
CD 2: Sialoecibi, ESEPCO I (1970) for piano and a recitator-mime-actor; Canción sin Palabras, ESEPCO II (1970) for piano (2 performers) and tape; Ñacahuasu (1970) for a small orchestra of 21 instrumentalists and a recitator
▪▪  César Bolaños is one of the leading artists of the Latin American avant-garde of the mid 20th century. Born in Lima, Peru in 1931, he was part of an astonishing generation of Peruvian composers: Edgar Valcárcel, Olga Pozzi-Escot, Alejandro Núñez Allauca, Leopoldo La Rosa, Enrique Pinilla and Celso Garrido-Lecca, among others. After studying piano at the National Conservatory in Lima, and following classes with the Belgian composer Andrés Sas (who after leaving Europe settles in Peru), he would join the group "Renovación" (together with Valcárcel, Pozzi-Escot, Pulgar Vidal and Sas); with them Bolaños began a series of presentations and edited a music magazine. He had already composed brief pieces for piano and music for a chamber orchestra. At that time Bolaños is interested in the work of Stravinsky, Bartók and Schoenberg. But he's still far from the sound radicalism that he would reach in the future. In 1957 he traveled to New York City to study composition at the Manhattan School of Music and electronics at RCA. He met the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera, who offered him a scholarship to study at the Latin-American Center of High Musical Studies (CLAEM) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On his arrival in 1963, Bolaños became involved in the design and development of the electronic music laboratory of the CLAEM. There he composed his first electronic piece and the first work generated in the above laboratory: "Intensity and Height" (1964), inspired by a poem of César Vallejo. Bolaños also composed "Interpolations" (1966) for electric guitar and magnetic tape, "Spaces I" (1966), "II" (1967), "III" (1968) for magnetic tape, the experimental audio-visual cantata "Alpha-Omega" (1967), instrumental and mixed pieces like "Flexum" (1969), "I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1" (1968), and, with a commission from Radio Bremen (Germany), "Nacahuasu" (1970), inspired by the Che Guevara diaries. Bolaños also experimented with computers, and composed two pieces with the mathematician Mauricio Milchberg. ▪▪  "Sialoecibi" (1970): ESEPCO I (computer sound-expressive structure)* for piano and a recitator-mime-actor (a work that satirizes the organization language initials from the 1950's) and "Song without words", ESEPCO II (1970) "Homage to the unpronounced words" for piano (2 performers) and tape. For the composition of these pieces Bolaños and Milchberg introduce into the computer parameters to have the machine generate a composition from the information obtained by the composer's production.
▪▪  These recordings bring together for the first time a definitive edition of his work on CD.
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REVIEWS:
▪▪  Monsieur Delire — http://blog.monsieurdelire.com/search?q=pogus
In french:
▪▪  On peut compter sur l’étiquette Pogus pour déterrer des trésors électroacoustiques de la sorte. Cet album double réunit l’essentiel de la production électroacoustique pure et mixte de César Bolaños, compositeur péruvien et l’un des développeurs du studio CLAEM (premier grand studio électronique du Pérou). Ses pièces électroacoustiques sont très intéressantes et plus vivantes, règle générale, que celles qui sortaient du GRM à la même époque. Ses pièces pour instruments et bandes sont parfois moins réussies, quoiqu’il y ait beaucoup de viande autour de l’os. Les deux “Divertimento” sont à signaler, ainsi que “Canción sin Palabras” pour deux pianistes et bande. C’est dans ses œuvres à grand déploiement (“I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1” pour performers, instrumentistes, projectionnistes, etc.; “Ñacahuasa” pour orchestre et récitant) que Bolaños perd le fil de l’expression pour s’enliser dans le concept et la mécanique. Tout de même, une belle production et une page d’histoire d’une musique méconnue: l’électroacoustique sud-américaine. (Cf. aussi le beau disque Pogus consacrée à Jorge Antuñes).
In english:
▪▪  You can count on the Pogus label to unearth electroacoustic treasures like this one. This 2CD set culls the better part of the pure and mixed electroacoustic oeuvre of César Bolaños, Peruvian composer and one of the men behind the CLAEM studio (Peru’s first electronic studio in the early ‘60s). His electroacoustic pieces are quite interesting and more lively, in general, than what was coming out of the GRM at the time. His works for instrument(s) and tape are occasionally less stellar, although there’s a lot of meat around the bone. The two “Divertimento” pieces are particularly fine, along with “Canción sin Palabras” for two pianists and tape. If Bolaños looses sight of expression to get entangled in concepts and mechanics, it is in his large-scape works (“I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1” for performers, instrumentalists, projectionists, etc.; “Ńacahuasa” for orchestra and recitator). Still, this is a great production and a page of history about a little known repertoire: South-American electroacoustic music.
By Adam Strohm, Dusted Magazine:
▪▪  "As noted in Luis Alarado’s liner notes to this compilation, the music of César Bolaños and his avant-garde Peruvian peers lacks the indigenous flavor one might expect. Rather than rely on traditional sounds in new contexts, Bolaños and others aimed for a new sound, one distinctly Peruvian not because of a looking back, but due to a new movement forward. This two-disc set of Bolaños’ compositions contains work completed wholly during Bolaños’ time in Argentina at the Latin-American Center of High Musical Studies (CLAEM). Bolaños would return to Peru in 1973, but his career as a composer never quite regained steam in his homeland, his focus turning more toward ethnomusicology, where it remains to this day. These two discs, then, are more a snapshot than a career-spanning set. But even if the album covers a scant six-year period, its scope, in terms of tone and technique, is quite broad.
▪▪  While at the CLAEM, Bolaños played a role in the birth of the center’s electronic laboratory. “Intensidad y Altura,” however, is the only track on either disc created solely via electronic sound. Magnetic tape is an oft-utilized (and highly variant) voice in the music, augmented and accompanied by pianos, small sets of woodwinds and percussion, and even a small orchestra on “Ńacahuasu.” The tape is sometimes used to interject alien electro-acoustic presence to a piece, such as the screaming synthesizer that floats above the prepared pianos in “Canción sin Palabras, ESEPCO II,” though it’s more often also a provider of the human voice. Given the political bent of Bolaños’ work, this is vital. Ironically, CLAEM was funded through the Alliance for Progress, which aimed to stem the influence of communism in Latin American arts and culture, and Bolaños was attuned to the views of the same guerillas and revolutionaries the program was inaugurated to combat. “Ńacahuasu.” uses quote from Che Guevara’s Bolivian diaries as the source of its text, an indication of where Bolaños’ ideological interests lied.
▪▪  Bolaños made use of computer-generated composition on a few of the included tracks, but they don’t stick out from the rest, as Bolaños worked in an abstract, unpredictable grammar anyway. “Flexum,” for woodwinds, strings, percussion and tape, pits the instruments against each other in a game of staccato ping-pong before introducing voices into the mix, stopping for an unexpected call-and-response, and continuing on a trajectory hits on garbage-disposal thick, and creepy emptiness; scanning through the piece’s 13 minutes uncovers fragments seemingly unrelated to those that precede and follow. “I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1” featured slide projectors, black lights, radios, and a computer-controlled system of conducting based on illuminated signs.   It’s one of the pieces on the album that most obvious loses something in this single-media reproduction; other compositions contain performative aspects lost in translation to an audio-only artifact, from the theatrical vocal ejaculations of “Flexum” to the inclusion of a mime(!) in “Sialoecibi (ESEPCOI).”
▪▪  Whatever he was up to, Bolaños was an ever-adventurous composer. Despite similarities to some of the iconoclasts who spoke and taught at CLAEM (Xenakis, for one), Bolaños was a hard composer to pin down. His work could be grand (the aforementioned “Ńacahuasu,” “I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1”) or intimate (“Interpolaciones,” a spare duet for electric guitar and tape), his instrumentation alien or organic, the tone serious and academic or spontaneous and energetic. It’s no swipe at his talent to say that this issuance of Bolaños’ work likely won’t be a revelation to fans of the avant-garde, though it also must be said that this music is worth hearing not just for curiosity or novelty alone. César Bolaños’ time as a composer was short, and the legacy of his music has been, until now, localized. This album is a window, then, into a marginalized corner of the history of experimental music. That Bolaños is Peruvian is of interest to some listeners. That his music is diverse and compelling should be of interest to many more.
Also:
▪▪  Hannis Brown, http://www.tokafi.com/
▪▪  Massimo Ricci, https://touchingextremes.wordpress.com/
:: http://www.pogus.com/bolanosreview.html
MySpace: https://myspace.com/cesarbolanosperu
Interview, 2004: http://www.fondation-langlois.org/html/e/page.php?NumPage=1598
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Biography:
▪▪  César Bolaños (b. Lima, Peru, 1931 — d. Lima, Peru, 2012) studied music in Lima at the National Conservatory of Music before travelling to the United States. There he initially studied at the Manhattan School of Music in 1959 and then went on to the RCA (Radio Corporation of America) Institute of Electronic Technology to study electronics between 1960 and 1963. In 1963 he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, having received a fellowship to study at CLAEM - Instituto Torcuato Di Tella with Ginastera, Nono, Messiaen, Copland, Maderna and Asuar, among others.
▪▪  While at CLAEM, Bolaños composed his first tape piece, Intensidad y Altura (1964), which was the first electroacoustic music composition produced at the Centre, while its lab was still in the earliest stages of development. Intensidad y Altura is based on the poem of the same name by César Vallejo. At the time, CLAEM had three tape recorders of varying quality (one Ampex stereo, one Grundig stereo and one Philips mono), a white noise generator, a band-pass filter and a speed variation device. As sound sources, Bolaños used three voices, white noise and diverse metal plates.
▪▪  Over the next several years, Bolaños worked extensively with electroacoustic and later computer techniques in his music, composing tape and mixed pieces and also using live electronics and multimedia.
▪▪  His works include Lutero, electroacoustic collage on tape for theatre (1965); Yavi, electroacoustic collage for a short film (1965); Dos en el Mundo, electroacoustic collage for a full-length movie, Las Paredes, electroacoustic collage on tape for theatre, and Interpolaciones for electric guitar and tape (all three works composed in 1966); Espacios I, Espacios II and Espacios III, electroacoustic pieces for dance (1966, 1967 and 1968 respectively); Alfa-Omega, based on biblical texts, for two reciters, theatrical mixed choir, electric guitar, double bass, two percussionists, two dancers, magnetic tape, projections and lights (1967); I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1 for three reciters, French horn, trombone, electric guitar, two percussionists, two technical operators (lighting panel, lighting keyboard and six radios), nine synchronized slide projectors, magnetic tape, and microphonic instrumental amplification (black lights for the individual scores are also required, and the general coordination is based on a programmed automatic light signal system controlled by perforated paper) (1968); and Flexum for magnetic tape and wind, string and percussion instruments (1969).
▪▪  During his years at CLAEM, Bolaños taught composition from 1964 to 1970, in addition to teaching a workshop on composition using electronic media from 1964 to 1967. He was also in charge of the design and building of CLAEM's first electronic music lab.
▪▪  An active researcher, Bolaños studied electroacoustics and music between 1964 and 1970, sound and image between 1965 and 1968, and computers and music between 1969 and 1970. During the latter period, he collaborated with mathematician Mauricio Michberg and received support from Honeywell Bull and later from Olivetti Argentina.
▪▪  Bolaños used computers both as sound generation sources and to build compositional structures. ESEPCO is the generic name he used in the works he composed using computers and stands for "estructura sonoro-expresiva por computación" (computer sound-expressive structure). Sialoecibi (ESEPCO I) for piano and one reciter-mime-actor and Canción sin palabras (ESEPCO II), subtitled Homenaje a las palabras no pronunciadas, for piano with two performers and tape, both from 1970, are works representative of this stage.
▪▪  After 1970, Bolaños devoted himself mainly to musicology research. However, between 1986 and 1993, he also taught a course on sound ("Sonorización") at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University of Lima.
▪▪  Bolaños wrote several books, including Técnicas del montaje audiovisual, published by the National University of Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina in 1969.
▪▪  (Last update by RDF: January, 2005)
En español :
▪▪  César Bolaños (Lima, Perú, 1931; Lima, Perú, 2012) estudió música en el Conservatorio Nacional de Música de Lima. Más tarde viajó a los Estados Unidos para estudiar primero en la Escuela de Música de Manhattan en 1959, y luego en el RCA (Radio Corporation of America) Institute of Electronic Technology, donde estudió electrónica entre los años 1960 y 1963.
▪▪  Durante 1963 año se trasladó a Buenos Aires, Argentina, con una beca para estudiar en el Centro Latinoamericano de Altos Estudios Musicales (CLAEM) del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, el cual estaba dirigido por Alberto Ginastera y contaba como profesores visitantes a compositores de la talla de Nono, Messiaen, Copland y Maderna, entre otros.
▪▪  En el CLAEM Bolaños compuso en 1964 su primer obra para cinta, Intensidad y Altura, basada en el poema homónimo de César Vallejo. Esta fue también la primer composición de música electroacústica creada en el Centro, mientras su laboratorio se encontraba aún en una temprana etapa de desarrollo. En aquella época el CLAEM contaba con tres grabadores de carrete abierto de diversa calidad (un Ampex estéreo, un Grunding estéreo y un Philips mono), un generador de ruido blanco, un filtro pasa-banda y un algunos moduladores sencillos. Bolaños utilizó como fuentes sonoras para su obra: tres voces, ruido blanco y diferentes placas de metal.
▪▪  Durante los siguientes años Bolaños utilizó medios electroacústicos, e incluso más tarde computadoras, en sus obras musicales. Creó obras para cinta sola y piezas mixtas, incluyendo electrónica en vivo y recursos multimedia en algunas de ellas.
▪▪  Entre otras obras, Bolaños compuso: Lutero, un collage electroacústico en cinta, para teatro, en 1965; Yavi, collage electroacústico para un cortometraje, en el mismo año; Dos en el Mundo, collage electroacústico para un largometraje, en 1966; Las Paredes, collage electroacústico en cinta, para una obra de teatro, e Interpolaciones, para guitarra eléctrica y cinta, también durante 1966; Espacios I, Espacios II y Espacios III, obras electroacústicas para danza, en 1966, 1967 y 1968 respectivamente; Alfa-Omega, una pieza basada en textos bíblicos para dos recitantes, coro teatral mixto, guitarra eléctrica, contrabajo, dos percusionistas, dos bailarines, cinta magnética, proyecciones y luces, en 1967; I-10-AIFG/Rbt-1 para tres recitantes, corno, trombón, guitarra eléctrica, dos percusionistas, dos operadores de cabina (para controlar el sistema de iluminación y seis radios), nueve proyectores de diapositivas sincronizados por un sistema automático, cinta magnetofónica, amplificación microfónica para los instrumentos y luz negra para la iluminación de las particelas, en 1968 (cabe mencionar también que la dirección de los intérpretes del grupo instrumental se realiza en esta obra por señales luminosas previamente programadas y sincronizadas por un sistema automático); y Flexum, para cinta magnética e instrumentos de viento, cuerda y percussion, en 1969.
▪▪  Bolaños estuvo a cargo del diseño y proceso de construcción del primer Laboratorio de Música Electrónica del CLAEM. Entre los años 1964 y 1970 enseñó allí mismo composición, y entre 1964 y 1967 dictó cursos de composición con medios electroacústicos.
▪▪  Siendo además un activo investigador, Bolaños trabajó en música y medios electroacústicos entre 1964 y 1970, en temas de sonido e imagen entre 1965 y 1968, y también con computadoras en procesos de composición musical entre 1969 y 1970. En esta última investigación Bolaños trabajó junto al matemático Mauricio Milchberg y con el apoyo de la empresa Honeywell Bull y luego de Olivetti Argentina.
▪▪  Bolaños y Milchberg emplearon las computadoras para construir estructuras composicionales. ESEPCO ("estructura sonoro-expresiva por computación") es el nombre genérico que utilizó Bolaños en sus obras creadas con la ayuda de computadoras. Las dos obras representativas de esta etapa son: Sialoecibi (ESEPCO I) para piano y un recitante-mimo-actor y Canción sin palabras (ESEPCO II) para piano con dos ejecutantes y cinta, subtitulada Homenaje a las palabras no pronunciadas, ambas compuestas en 1970.
▪▪  De regreso en el Perú, luego de 1970 Bolaños se dedicó principalmente a la investigación musicológica, aunque dictó un curso sobre Sonorización en la Facultad de Ciencias de la Comunicación de la Universidad de Lima entre 1986 y 1993.
▪▪  Bolaños escribió varios libros, entre ellos: Técnicas del montaje audiovisual, que fuera publicado por la Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina, en 1969.
(Última actualización: RDF, enero de 2005)
Ricardo Dal Farra © 2005 FDL
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Pictures:


:: Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentine. (Laboratorio de Música Electrónica del Centro Latinoamericano de Altos Estudios Musicales — CLAEM).
:: Bolaños is shown teaching composition with electroacoustic media in the old laboratory, 1965.
From left to right: Rafael Aponte Ledée (Puerto Rico), César Bolaños (Peru), Gabriel Brncic (Chile), Blas Emilio Atehortúa (Colombia).
Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Laboratorio de Música Electrónica del Centro Latinoamericano de Altos Estudios Musicales — CLAEM).
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CÉSAR BOLAÑOS — Peruvian Electroacoustic And Experimental Work (1964 — 1970)

 

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