Re: Fw: James Tenney 1934-2006

From: Marilyn Brakhage (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Aug 27 2006 - 21:58:29 PDT

Yes, Jim and Stan both went to South High School in Denver, Colorado --
Jim one year later. The filmmaking began the year after Stan finished
high school, and Jim composed the music (his first composition) for
Stan's first film, "Interim." He also composed a score for another
early Brakhage film, "Unglassed Windows Cast A Terrible Reflection,"
however that was a composition for six instruments which they were
never technically able to perform and record. Jim told me last year
that he remembered improvised sound effects being recorded for
"Desistfilm," which Stan then edited to the picture. . . . Many
years later, of course, Stan used the Tenney pieces you mention for
"Christ Mass Sex Dance" (1991) and "Ellipsis #5" (1998).

He appears in quite a number of Brakhage films: "Desistfilm" (the
young man leaning in the doorway with the cigarette in his mouth),
"Loving" (with Carolee Schneemann), "Cat's Cradle" (with Carolee, Stan
and Jane Brakhage), "Matins" (with Lauren Pratt) . . . I know there's
a brief appearance somewhere else . . . as well as in Carolee's

He also created the sound collage for the Carolee Schneemann film,
"Viet Flakes."

I understand Jim completed his final composition just a couple of weeks
before he died.

Marilyn Brakhage
Victoria, BC

On Sunday, August 27, 2006, at 05:48 PM, Steve Polta wrote:

> It's very interesting to me that Tenney and Brakhage
> were--unless I'm mistaken--friends from high school (I
> think Larry Jordan also hung with them).
> Tenney's music is used in Brakhage's films DESISTFILM
> (made possibly during these high school days...?),
> CHRIST MASS SEX DANCE (uses Tenney's very famous piece
> known as "Blue Suede" (I think its actual title is
> Collage #1) and "…" REEL 5 (which uses Tenney's
> "Flocking"). There may have been others but these are
> the ones which come to mind.
> He was indeed a great composer...
> Steve Polta
> --- Andy Ditzler <email suppressed> wrote:
>> James Tenney was a great composer, and an early
>> pioneer of electronic
>> music. He was a friend of Stan Brakhage's since the
>> 1950s and appeared
>> in several early Brakhage films: Desistfilm, Loving,
>> Cat's Cradle. He
>> also appears with Carolee Schneemann in her film
>> Fuses.
>> -------------------
>> Andy Ditzler
>> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: David Rosenboom <email suppressed>
>> Date: 26 August 2006 1:59:13 PM PDT
>> To: email suppressed
>> Subject: James Tenney 1934-2006
>> Dear Friends and Colleagues,
>> I write both to communicate sad news about the
>> passing of our
>> esteemed and revered colleague, composer, James
>> Tenney, and to begin
>> an invocation to celebrate the boundlessly creative
>> spirit and
>> uniquely productive life of a great musical artist.
>> Jim died
>> peacefully late Thursday night, August 24th, 2006
>> after a difficult
>> battle with cancer. His tenacity in life and his
>> determined,
>> affirming energy never wavered. His keenly focused
>> composing and
>> theoretical work continued nearly to his last
>> moments. During recent
>> years at CalArts, Jim taught the works of composers
>> he referred to as
>> American musical mavericks. Clearly he was also one
>> of the greats
>> among them. History will remember him as a vitally
>> significant
>> American artist. Jim was a faculty member in the
>> School of Music in
>> the early 1970s when CalArts was finding footing as
>> a somewhat
>> maverick arts institution, and he returned later in
>> the 1990s to
>> assume the Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Musical
>> Composition. In the
>> interim, he taught at the University of California
>> at Santa Cruz and
>> York University, in Toronto. Jim’s mere presence on
>> campus was always
>> inspiring, touching countless lives over the years.
>> A master teacher,
>> treasured by so many, he was also a close personal
>> friend and often
>> collaborator over at least three decades. He will be
>> greatly missed,
>> and we will continue to celebrate the continuity,
>> the power, and the
>> encouraging, constructive quality of his influence,
>> along with his
>> devotion to the forward evolution of music as an
>> essential force in
>> the life of all human kind.
>> A brief memorial service will be held in Roy O.
>> Disney Recital Hall
>> at CalArts on Monday, August 28th, 2006 at 11:00 AM.
>> A concert
>> celebrating Tenney’s life and work will be planned
>> for later in the
>> fall.
>> A brief biography of Tenney can be found at:
>> David Rosenboom, Composer/Performer
>> Dean, School of Music
>> California Institute of the Arts
> __________________________________________________________________
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>> <email suppressed>.
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For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.