06 marzo 2014

Avrebbe compiuto ottantaquattro anni tra pochi giorni, se n'è andato invece lunedì scorso il compositore americano Robert Ashley, autore di opere originali e innovative quali Perfect LivesAtalanta (Acts of God)Now Eleanor’s Idea e Celestial Excursions, basate su un esteso uso della voce narrante in contesto drammatico-musicale e caratterizzate dall'impiego di diversi medium espressivi e tecnologici. Tra i suoi ultimi lavori compiuti ci sono Mixed Blesssings, Indiana e l'opera Crash, di cui stava personalmente seguendo le prove in vista del debutto il mese prossimo alla Biennale del Whitney Museum of American Art a New York.
Lo ricorda Kyle Gann, autore di una sua recente biografia: "Having published a book on him fairly recently, I don’t know how much else I can say. But the reason for writing the book wasn’t because I thought I’d get much from it academically or monetarily, just for the opportunity to spend 28 hours interviewing the most scintillating personality I’ve ever known. He was so incredibly brilliant and original and alert and non-repetitive. His enthusiasm was unremitting and contagious. My every visit with him left me in a joyous, hyped-up mood, buoyed by his devil-may-care Aries courage. I’d ask a question about his music (I say this in the book), and he’d close his eyes and start telling a seemingly unrelated story, and I’d think maybe he was getting senile, but half an hour later he’d get around to answering my question, which needed a nested set of stories to be intelligible. I’d ask about a piece he wrote thirty years ago, and he’d sit down and play the chord progression it was based on on the piano. Once, out of the blue, I needed the chord structure for eL/Aficionado, and he reached over, picked up a piece of paper, and said, “Here it is.” For a wild creative type, he was the most organized person, inside and out, I’ve ever seen. He seemed to have total recall of his entire life and his entire output. He was bitter that he hadn’t gotten more attention for his astonishing creative achievements, but the bitterness only burst out in moments, and his sunny enthusiasm for everything in life would quickly crowd it out again. He was a fabulous role model. And let it be set down, Bob was one of the most amazing composers of the 20th century, and the greatest genius of 20th-century opera. I don’t know how long it’s going to take the world to recognize that. And it hardly matters. He knew it. That the world was too stupid to keep up was not his problem."