Martin Boykan's Sea Gardens

Two works by Martin Boykan are now being edited by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audi0.

What is On-shoring?

In short
Americans on-shored 2nd Viennese School things. Does it hold? Does it feel inauthentic -- wannabe post-Wagnerian? And nevertheless some of the Americans, certainly Boykan, developed and grew into areas where the 2nd Viennese School had not gone. That is ongoing, in the shadows.

I am terribly impressed with Martin Boykan's Sea Gardens and I must add that if one thinks that these remind us of Berg's "Schliesse Mir Die Augen Beide" (#2), I'd say, yes, but there's more weighting and dwelling on moments, slowing down of the motion, almost to a standstill. "Schliesse..." moves gently and steadily through its paces.

The musical ancestry is hard to deny, so I consider this on-shoring via Hart Crane. Hart Crane's poem shares much of that breathless Eros & Thanatos of the Theordor Storm poem, which is heightened in Berg's 2nd setting.

And to that criticism, I'd add that in Marty's "Diptych", for Cygnus, there is something else entirely. Boykan's work develops into something extrinsic to the 2nd Viennese School --

the whole tone, the chromatic, the diatonic are presented in "Diptych" discretely, artfully arranged.

Berg's "Schliesse mir.." is that row, pristinely.

Diptych "modulates", as it were. The whole tone statements tend to be openers and closers, the chromatic hexachord governs music that sets up a "modulation" to the diatonic. The diatonic moments stand out like bright lights and develop from the first "panel" in the diptych to the second.

Babbitt did such "modulations" in a wonderful and bizarre way -- his superarrays and time points are like a set of marionette strings. Kleist and Kleist fans would really appreciate that; Kleist felt a great truth in the action of the puppet's parts through the strings. Kleist felt the honesty of bodies in gravity. I have exactly that love of Babbitt's music. And that distinguishes him from the 2nd Viennese School. It's not romantic, although we could imagine Tristan and Isolde marionettes. Whatever he "examines", as it were, with his arrays, will be de-rmanticized.

In addition to that Kleist distinction, he switched poets. He started with the German expressionist August Stramm, and progressed to the Emersonian John Hollander.

Boykan gets those "keys" in a more seat of the pants fashion.

Ryan Streber is editing the studio recording of "Diptych" at this very moment.

I see this development to something beyond the 2nd Viennese School in Joel Suben's work from the late 80s.

The sad occasion of Joel Suben's memorial concert at the American Opera Center led me to revisit the music Joel wrote for me and Oren in the late 80s.

In his solo guitar piece, "Where All the Waters Meet", Joel shows mastery of the Boykan "modulations" that I'm talking about. Joel studied with Boykan, but he told me he loved Carter's work. Carter does not sound like 2nd Viennese School.

In Joel's "Suite of Dances" I feel he deliberately reverts to the simpler row dynamics of "Sea Gardens" and "Schliesse mir...

Suben's "Suite of Dances" is great for guitarists; it's an op. 25 for guitarists.

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