|Milton Babbitt and John Clare|
My first in person interview at a composer's house was George Crumb. I know, what a start. He even performed what he composed that morning, and we played with his dog Yoda! (Read about that day here and here.)
I don't write down questions, but usually when I am nervous, or know I'm going to talk with a legend in the field, I consult friends and colleagues what they might ask. At the time for these interviews, the "executive producer" and music director was Dick Strawser, an invaluable resource. I do try to ask some of the same questions, "How did you become a composer?" "What are you writing currently?" but always try to listen as we warm up so that it is a conversation, and that we explore great points and stories that the interviewees share.
Before I interviewed Milton, I made sure I read and talked with Frank Oteri who was also very helpful with his materials when he interviewed Babbitt; there was also the famous "article" which Milton passionately explained.
So Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 I left with Casey Houtz, the audio engineer, to drive to Princeton and then NYC. The trip was easy and in no time we were setup.
Our interview is here, unedited and complete, running 71 minutes. Milton was
After the interview, Milton walked us out and showed us how close we were to the RCA Studios he used to work at for so many years!
Later, we put together some outtakes that would not run in the radio show, but made us smile. Listen to the wav file here.
I originally blogged about the day I talked with Milton here.
Last weekend when I heard the news Milton had passed away, I was moved, and quite sad. I listened to Reflections and smoked a cuban cigar. I was especially touched by Davey Rakowski's remembrance. Cheers, Milton!
(The title of this entry is inspired by Arvo Part's work, When Sarah Was Ninety)