Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Farberman, Harold

(b New York, 2 Nov 1929). American composer and conductor. A graduate of the Juilliard School and New England Conservatory, he performed as a percussionist and timpanist with the Boston SO from 1951 to 1963. He was the founder (in 1975) and the first president of the American Conductors’ Guild, and in 1981 established its School of Conducting at the University of West Virginia. He was professor of conducting at the Hartt School of Music from 1990 and the conductor of the Oakland SO from 1971 to 1979; in 1994 he was the director of the Stokowski Conducting Competition. He has made many international appearances as a guest conductor, and has recorded, among other works, the symphonies of Mahler with the LSO and symphonies by Michael Haydn with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta. In 1972 he received a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in recognition of his research into and recordings of the music of Ives.

Farberman’s compositions range from percussion works to expressionist opera (Medea), mixed-media works and music for film. His style often incorporates elements of jazz, as in the Double Concerto for Single Trumpet. The Losers, first performed in 1971, was the first opera commissioned by the American Opera Center of the Juilliard School after its move to Lincoln Center. He has received numerous awards and commissions from organizations such as the NEA, Colorado and New York state arts councils, the Denver SO, the Stuttgart Chamber Ensemble and the Lenox String Quartet. Farberman is the author of The Art of Conducting Technique: a New Perspective (Miami, FL, 1997).


(selective list)

Dramatic and mixed-media: Medea (chbr op, 1, W. Van Lennep), 1960–61; If Music Be (W. Shakespeare), jazz vocalist, orch, rock group, film, 1965; The Losers (op, 2, B. Fried), 1971; ballets, film scores, incl. The Great American Cowboy, c1974

Orch: Conc., bn, str, 1956; Sym., 1956–57; Timp Conc., 1958; Impressions for Ob, ob, str, perc, 1959–60; Conc., a sax, str, 1965; Elegy, Fanfare, and March, 1965; Suite from The Great American Cowboy, 1959; Vn Conc., 1976; The You Name it March, 1982; Shapings, eng hn, str, perc, 1983; Conc., jazz drummer, orch, 1986; A Summer’s Day in Central Park, 1987; Conc., jazz vib, orch, 1991; other works, incl. concs. for bn, tpt, pf, vn

Vocal: Greek Scene (Farberman, after Euripides), Mez, pf, perc, 1956, arr. Mez, orch, 1957; Media Suite, Mez, orch, 1965; If Music Be, jazzy v + nar, rock group, tpt, a sax, 1969; The Blue Whale, Mez, chbr ens, 1972; War Cry on a Prayer Feather (poetry of Taos Indians), S, Bar, orch, 1975; The Princess, 1v + nar, jazz perc, 1989; other works

Chbr: Variations, perc, pf, 1954; Variations on a Familiar Theme, perc, 1955; Music Inn Suite, 6 perc, 1958; Str Qt, 1960; Progressions, fl, perc, 1961; Quintessence, ww qnt, 1962; Trio, vn, pf, perc, 1963; For Eric and Nick, a sax, t sax, tpt, trbn, drums, vib, vc, db, 1964; Images for Brass, brass qnt, 1964; The Preacher, elec tpt, 4 perc, 1969; Alea, 6 perc, 1976; Duo, eng hn, perc, 1981; Combinations, 6 perc, 1984; D’Obe, timp, mar, 1986; The Dancers’ Suite, jazz perc ens, 1990; Ground Zero Paradiddle, jazz perc ens, 1990; Extended Progressions, fl, 2–3 perc, str, 1997; other works with/for perc, incl. arrs. and transcrs.

Principal publishers: Associated Music, Cortelu Music, EMI, Franco Columbo, Rongwen

Principal recording company: Albany



H. Farberman: ‘The Conductors’ Guild’, High Fidelity/Musical America, xxix/10 (1979), 28–30, 40



(Ger.: ‘colour-light music’).

Narrowly defined, this term refers to a category in the arts defined by Alexander László in which painting and music are linked to each other and are equally important. In a broader sense, this term is applied to all attempts at visualising music. Lászlós point of departure was his synaesthetic faculty (see Synaesthesia). While music is performed, a changing abstract play of colours and forms is cast on a screen by a multiple-transparency projector, controlled from a mixing desk.

László coined the term ‘Farblichtmusik’ in an article by that title published on 8 March 1925 in the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten. The first performance of Farblichtmusik was on 16 June 1925 during the 55th Deutsches Tonkünstlerfest in Kiel. There were three varieties of the genre: (1) ‘Lichtornamentik’, in which music and an unchanging ornamental light effect, cast on the ceiling and resembling a kaleidoscope image, were linked by a common atmosphere (music by Chopin or Schumann); (2) ‘Russische Farbenmusik’, when the entire room was bathed in light of a single colour, the aim being to heighten the effect of the music, with music still in the foreground (music by Skryabin or Rachmaninoff); (3) ‘Farblichtmusik’ proper, in which a new work of art was to be created by the synthesis of two arts (music by László, images by Matthias Holl, and sometimes also abstract experimental films by Oskar Fischinger).

László's Farblichtmusik was a typical avant-garde experiment of its time (see also Colour and music). Although very popular in the years 1925–7, it was much criticized for the fact that both László's compositions and the colour projections relied too much on special effects and had too little to say; that the play of colour was subjective and could not be reconstructed afterwards, while the critics' own associations of colour with music did not coincide with those chosen by László; and that the intended synthesis of two arts did not actually occur because the music and the coloured light merely ran side by side, and the projected images were interchangable.

For bibliography see Colour and music; László, Alexander; and Synaesthesia.


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