La Monte Young - The Well-Tuned Piano
Here at Classical Connection I hope to provide a broad sense of "classical" music, ancient and modern. (All downloads are hosted by Rapidshare.) I'll focus on lesser-known or poorly available works, and those which provide a greater understanding of the breadth and passion of classical music beyond Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. I'll kick things off with La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano.
Seminal minimalist La Monte Young (b. 1935) is poorly represented on recordings, partly because his very long compositions don't fit the limitations of CD or Vinyl release, party because he often writes non-sound performance actions into his pieces, and partly because the composer himself is resistent to recorded mediums. "His compositions are based on a kind of timelessness, where sound and light (courtesy of his partner Marian Zazeela) are allowed to develop and grow, almost organically, over a period of days, weeks, months and even years." (source)
One of the few complete La Monte Young compositions to have been released is his most revered, The Well-Tuned Piano. The evolving piano piece relies on special tuning that was a secret for 27 years until Kyle Gann cracked the code. A performance was released on 5 CDs by Gramavision in 1988, and disappeared when the label was consumed by Rykodisc. It's now quite rare, but one copy is available for a mere $500 from the Amazon Marketplace.
There are many versions of The Well-Tuned Piano because Young continues to revise the piece, and because much of the work is improvisational within a prescribed structure. Here is the 1988 Gramavision recording.