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The Metaphysics of Notation

February 25, 2011
Ray Heigemeir
Detail, The Metaphysics of Notation, by Mark Applebaum

Mark Applebaum, Associate Professor of Composition and Theory in the Department of Music, composed The Metaphysics of Notation specifically for installation at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford. The complete work includes a full hand-drawn score (72’ in length, in twelve 6’ panels), two corresponding mobiles, and the print now hanging in the Music Library, which reproduces the entire drawn score. These physical elements provided visual information for musicians, ranging from Stanford students to seasoned professionals from around the world, to give 45 weekly public performances (Fridays at noon) from April 3, 2009 through February 26, 2010. Documents of the project include audio recordings and still photographs of every performance, and a short video and documentary DVD commissioned by the composer.

To herald the arrival at the Music Library of this beautiful work, violinist and Lecturer in Music Erik Ulman performed an excerpt from the score on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Both composer Applebaum and performer Ulman answered questions from an appreciative audience of students, faculty and staff.

For more about the work, see the video, The Metaphysics of Notation, MDVD 1289.

There are also several performances posted on YouTube, including one by Sam Adams, and one by the Quadrophonnes.

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