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Rehearsal Studio: OM Honors Charles Shere’s 85th Birthday

In Composers

From Steven Smoliar’s Rehearsal Studio Blog:


This past November Other Minds (OM) celebrated the 85th birthday of Bay Area composer Charles Shere with the digital download release of a recording thought to be lost. The recording captured the world premiere performance of the trio he composed for violin, piano, and percussion. This composition had been commissioned by OM for the OM Festival 3, which took place in 1996; and it was performed by the trio of violinist David Abel, pianist Julie Steinberg, and percussionist William Winant. Sadly, Shere died less than a month after this recording was released on November 24. Abel, on the other hand, turned 85 on that same day.

Although Shere had studied composition briefly with both Robert Erickson and Luciano Berio, he was primarily self-taught. He was particularly interested in approaches to indeterminacy as practiced by composers such as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, as well as the use of unconventional notations. However, by the time he composed this trio, he was working with more traditional foundations, developing a unique voice within those constraints. The score even includes an unabashed quotation from one of his friends, Virgil Thomson, while the dreamlike aesthetic may reflect another friend, Lou Harrison. The music is about twenty minutes in duration, guiding the attentive listener through a rich spectrum of subjective dispositions.

The score was composed during a summer that Shere spent on an island off the southern coast of France. He drew scenes from his window during both day and night. Those drawings appear side-by-side on what the album cover would have been were the album released in physical, rather than digital, form. Sadly, the image on the Amazon.com Web page does not do justice to those two drawings. Readers are encouraged to click on the image below for a better view:



William Parker
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