Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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P. Walls: ‘A Musician of Real Brilliance: Anthony Jennings’, Early Music and Recorders Journal, xviii/2 (1995), 12–14

D. Nalden: ‘Anthony Jennings 1945–1995’, Music in New Zealand, no.31 (1995–6), 8 only


Jennings, Terry

(b Eagle Rock, CA, 19 July 1940; d San Pablo, CA, 11 Dec 1981). American composer and performer. He had a background in jazz, playing the piano, the clarinet, and the alto and soprano saxophones. In 1953 he met La Monte Young in Los Angeles, where they played jazz together. Jennings first came to musical prominence in the late 1950s when he began to compose in the style of Young’s influential early works involving sustained tones and expanded time concepts. He was introduced to the New York avant garde in 1960, when Young opened his series of concerts at Yoko Ono’s loft with two programmes of Jennings’s music. Jennings participated in many concerts of new music in the 1960s, both as composer and performer, giving the first performance of, among other works, Richard Maxfield’s Wind for tape and saxophone, which was composed as a musical portrait of him. He worked with the James Waring Dance Company (1962) and performed and recorded with Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music. Jennings’s Piano Piece (June 1960) and String Quartet (1960) were published in An Anthology (edited by Young, 1963), which led to their performance in England by Cornelius Cardew and others. Two concerts of Jennings’s music were presented at Steinway Hall, New York, in Ben Patterson’s series of avant-garde music, ‘January to June’. With Young and Terry Riley, Jennings was involved in the earliest developments of drone-inspired, modal, repetitive music. He is best known for two piano works of 1965, Winter Trees and Winter Sun, both of which exemplify the repetitive, non-virtuoso keyboard style he was among the first to employ; sets of phrases are played quietly in a specified order but repeated at will, in relatively free rhythm, and with liberal use of the sustaining pedal, creating a meditative mood and an understated lyricism. Jennings had a decisive influence on such composers as Harold Budd, Peter Garland and Howard Skempton, who in the early 1970s created a body of so-called ‘minimalist’ keyboard music and were among the few musicians to perform his works. In later years Jennings composed works in a neo-romantic style, including the song cycle The Seasons (1975).

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