Episode #3608

In Memoriam, Elodie Lauten

« previous episode | next episode »

Friday, June 06, 2014

For this New Sounds program, we’ll look back at the music and career of the underrated and often overlooked French-born, New York-based composer and keyboardist Elodie Lauten, who died earlier this week, at the age of 63.  Listen to Lauten in many settings: interviews and performances in our studio and onstage from New Sounds Live, and her other commercial and unreleased recordings.  Hear some of the first work John Schaefer heard by Lauten in 1983, “Cat Counterpoint” for piano, concrete sounds and synthesizer, along with portions of a 1989 interview.  There’s also a performance at our piano from November of 1985, as well as a 1994 electronic performance in our studio, direct to the board with Lauten’s giant Proteus keyboard –– so as to better enable alternate tunings.  That work, Elodie Lauten’s “The Gaia Cycle” (1993) was created using universal modes, based on the Earth’s day/night cycle, which are not Western tunings, and avoid equal temperament, but “don’t hit you over the head,” with their alternate tuning.

Elodie Lauten was born in France; her dad was drummer and bandleader Errol Parker.  Her music had not much in common with his; hers spanned American minimalism, Satie, electronic music, Stockhausen, and had things in common with LaMonte Young, and his clouds of harmonics – especially in her "Sonate Modale", which she performed for New Sounds in 1985. The seminal “downtown” post-minimalist composer combined the organic sounds of acoustic instruments, and so-called “inorganic” sounds – synthesizer, a computer music instrument called Fairlight, and Arthur Russell’s amplified cello in one work-in-progress, “Brown Horse”, which she shared in a 1989 interview.  Lauten also wrote for voice, voice-on-tape, and processed voices.  Listen to a bit of her “Atomic Lullaby”, for sampled voices.  Plus, hear  a short excerpt from a 1998 New Sounds Live performance from Merkin Hall, with a full ensemble- the Downtown Chamber Ensemble, which Lauten wrote for Baroque-style ensemble, using alternate tunings. 

Just days before her passing, she was able to view the debut performance of her now-definitive version of "Waking in New York", an opera with the libretto created for her by poet Allen Ginsberg about New York City and the diversity of its people, at the Church of St. Mark's in-the-Bowery. 

Discover more about Elodie Lauten at her site.

PROGRAM #3608  Elodie Lauten, In Memoriam (First aired on 6/6/2014)  





Elodie Lauten

Piano Works

Cat Counterpoint, excerpt [3:19]

Reissued in 2010 as “Piano Works Revisited” on Unseen Worlds - #5

Elodie Lauten     

Private tape, 1989

“Brown Horse,” a work-in- progress, excerpt [5:30]

This recording not commercially available.
From the collection: Untitled , 5 pieces for live Fairlight computer, electric violin, cello, Trine, piano; commissioned by the Lincoln Center Serious Fun Series, 1988

Elodie Lauten

live, 11/1985

Modal Sonata   - Cantabile, Scherzo, excerpt [11:00]     

This performance not commercially available.  A live performance from Toronto appears on “Piano Works Revisited” on Unseen Worlds - #5, CD2

Elodie Lauten

Private tape, 1989

“Atomic Lullaby”, excerpt [3:00]

This recording not commercially available. From the collection: Untitled , 5 pieces for live Fairlight computer, electric violin, cello, Trine, piano; commissioned by the Lincoln Center Serious Fun Series, 1988

Elodie Lauten     

Live, 11/1994

The Gaia Cycle, Parts 9 & 10 [11:30]

This performance not commercially available.  The work appears on “Tronik Involutions”, OODiscs ‎– OO 27 / Studio 21 - #7108
available at iTunes, Amazon.com  and Emusic.com 

Elodie Lauten & the Downtown Chamber Ensemble

New Sounds Live, Merkin Hall February 1998

The Exotic World of Speed and Beauty, excerpt [5:08]

This performance not commercially available.  Later released as the Deus Ex-Machina Cycle.  4Tay Records - #4013

Available at Emusic.com, Amazon.com, iTunes or listen on Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/elodie-lauten/the-exotic-world-of-speed-and

Comments [2]

Scott Young from U.S.A.

Thank you for "In Memoriam, Elodie Lauten". Elodie was a superb composer and performer. Her music is delightful. Her achievement is a great one. It remains though she is gone.

Jun. 08 2014 08:16 AM
Dan in Chelsea from New York

Sorry to hear of Elodie's passing. She was an enjoyable, quirky guest on New Sounds, and her music always a welcome discovery. It's a shame that such an innovative artist had to struggle so much to live in New York. Another case where genius that doesn't fit the reigning market preference is allowed to fade away.

Jun. 07 2014 12:09 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.