Friday, October 7, 2011

Earlier Recording of "That Morning Thing"

I was surprised to find this archive (supposedly of a performance from 1969 at Mills) of a complete performance of "That Morning Thing" floating around out there.

My initial skepticism was undone when I heard the now familiar sounds of frogs (someone out there thinks they're ducks) and the Smithsonian Folkways narrator Charles M Bogert ( Which is our cue to begin the process of Act 1 detailed near the beginning of this blog.

The "Other Minds" Archive which hosts this recording has this to say:
"A live recording of the complete experimental opera, “That Morning Thing” by Robert Ashley, possibly from the Dec. 8, 1969 performance at Mills College. Composed in 1967 this was Ashley’s second foray into the realm of avant-garde musical theater, and is a work for five principal voices, eight dancers, women's chorus and tape. The mainstream media’s reaction, as well as that of some in the audience, was notably mixed, however rather than being a commentary on the ultimate quality of the work it seems to be more an indication of the audience’s unfamiliarity with Ashley’s trademark mix of electronic and prerecorded sounds with the more traditional elements of opera. Certainly for anybody interested in avant-garde theater in general or Robert Ashley specifically, this historic recording of one of his earliest and perhaps lesser known works should be of immense interest and value."

Interested in where they got the information about the "mainstream media's" reaction to the piece, I found this site from the same archive which contains a review by Charles Shere, who defends the piece against "critical consternation."

He ends his review, which is quite a positive one, with "'That Morning Thing' will find its time and its audience or it will prove its own fears well-founded, and none of us will know the final result of our rejection of the life that has been put in our hands."

"That Morning Thing" has found its time and perhaps its audience as well, I am honored to be part of time, audience, and performance!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting that Brian - all very pertinent and useful information for the blog surfing scholar.