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Study #15 (1990)

From the FILMS for MUSIC for FILM series
16mm B&W
1 min


Music by Conlon Nancarrow

Restoration funded in part by Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music

Digital transfer by Gordon Nelson, The George Eastman Museum, Rochester NY, USA


This film is a study of light as it emanates from the form of the title itself against a blackened void. Study #15 is a collaboration with the American composer Conlon Nancarrow. This work highlights one of Nancarrow's altered player piano pieces. Conlon Nancarrow has resided in Mexico City, D.F., for the past fifty years. His involvement in the Spanish Civil War as a member of the Lincoln Brigade won him the dubious honor of being undesirable in the eyes of the American government. He fled to Mexico City, where he lived in virtual obscurity and isolation until the late 1970s. He could find no musicians to play his extremely difficult music, so he acquired a player piano roll punching machine and began composing strictly for the mechanical piano. Most of his compositions are entitled “Studies.”

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