The Well & The Gentle, two of the major works of Pauline Oliveros, are presented here in a first time reissue on double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with extensive liner notes.
If Oliveros had followed a more conventional path she may have, all social obstacles aside, been considered among the major composers of her time. However, Oliveros approached composition in a more egalitarian manner. She wrote music for musicians to interact with or, in the composers words, she wished to create "an inclusive and interdependent and unfolding world of relationships."
Oliveros' propensity towards inclusion is part of what makes this work so remarkably distinctive. The Well & The Gentle is carefully crafted, allowing performers to participate in the creation of the work. Players are asked to collaborate, focus, react and make imaginative choices. Only then can the performers "pass through stages of awakening to the possibilities inherent in making music, working together, leading to the essence of what can shape musical impulses and individual freedom simultaneously."
Unlike most major composers of the era, Oliveros' work focuses on collaboration and improvisation. For Oliveros, the processes involved in making music are as fundamental as the music itself. Oliveros creates, as Arthur Sabatini put it so eloquently in the liner notes, "A world in which sound and the practices entailed in making music merge; become, at once, source and atmosphere, energy and essence, presence and dynamic."
Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) is a senior figure in contemporary
American music. Her career spans fifty years of boundary dissolving music making. In the '50s she was part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists, poets gathered together in San Francisco. Recently awarded the John Cage
award for 2012 from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, Oliveros is Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and Darius Milhaud Artist-in-Residence at Mills College. Oliveros has been as interested in finding new sounds as in finding new uses for old ones—her primary instrument is the accordion, an unexpected visitor perhaps to musical cutting edge, but one which she approaches in much the same way that a Zen musician might approach the Japanese shakuhachi. Pauline Oliveros' life as a composer, performer and humanitarian is about opening her own and others' sensibilities to the universe and facets of sounds. Since the 1960's she has influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual. Pauline Oliveros is the founder of “Deep Listening,” which comes from her childhood fascination with sounds and from her works in concert music with composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics. Pauline Oliveros described Deep Listening as a way of listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one's own thoughts as well as musical sounds. “Deep Listening is my life practice,” she explained, simply. Oliveros is founder of Deep Listening Institute, formerly Pauline Oliveros Foundation.