Sui-Generis Music- Or Not

Email a Friend


In this edition of New Sounds, we focus on music that seems to be tied irrevocably to one person. Composers and performers who created music so unique that only they could make it. And yet, the music turns out to be not-so-sui-generis: hear these distinct performers’ works, as performed by other people.

Start with Conlon Nancarrow, whose music was thought to be too hard to play and so was performed only by a player piano, played on real instruments by the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Also Harry Partch’s music, only played on the set of instruments he invented and created, is now being played on a new set of his instruments created by the Ensemble Musikfabrik. His compositions use a scale that has 43 notes in an octave, as opposed to the 12 most Western music uses.

Moondog, the blind New York composer and musician, has unexpectedly been covered by many ensembles, including rock bands, new music ensembles, and jazz bands. Here we listen to Sylvain Rifflet, Jon Irabagon’s version of his famous song “My Tiny Butterfly.”And the late saxophonist and composer Fred Ho’s music lives on through the Eco-Music Big Band. Plus Meredith Monk’s unique vocal music reimagined by Björk, and Aphex Twin’s electronic music played by the ensemble Alarm Will Sound.

PROGRAM #3766, Sui-Generis Music – Or not (First Aired 8-24-2015)





Conlon Nancarrow

Studies for Player Piano

Study No. 11 (excerpt) [3:17]

Bang on A Can All-Stars

Big Beautiful Dark and Scary

Conlon Nancarrow arr Evan Ziporyn: Study 11  [3:27]

Cantaloupe Music CA21074

Bang on a Can All-Stars

Big Beautiful Dark and Scary

Conlon Nancarrow arr Evan Ziporyn: Study 2a [3:58]

See above.

Sylvain Rifflet, Jon Irabagon

Perpetual Motion A Celebration of Moondog

My Tiny Butterfly [3:45]

Jazz Village
Available for download at iTunes,,

Eco-Music Big Band

Things Have Got to Change

Fred Ho: Things Have Got to Change [5:20]


Harry Partch: Plectra and Percussion Dances

Castor and Pollux [14:52]


Björk with the Brodsky Quartet

Monk Mix

Meredith Monk: Gotham Lullabye [5:28]

Alarm Will Sound

Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound Performs Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin: Logon Rock Witch arr. Jonathan Newman [3:35]

Cantaloupe #21028