Both the 1970 Hope College premiere, performed by a 14-piece ensemble, and a 1977 recording from Wesleyan University, performed by a 43-piece orchestra. The first commercially available release of this eerie, beautiful, and important Oliveros work. “Shortly after it was published in 1968 the SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas fell into my hands. Intrigued by the egalitarian feminist principles set forth in the Manifesto, I wanted to incorporate them in the structure of a new piece that I was composing. The women’s movement was surfacing and I felt the need to express my resonance with this energy. Marilyn Monroe had taken her own life. Valerie Solanas had attempted to take the life of Andy Warhol. Both women seemed to be desperate and caught in the traps of inequality: Monroe needed to be recognized for her talent as an actress. Solanas wished to be supported for her own creative work. Commissioned by the Music Department of Hope College, Holland Michigan, To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation had its premiere in 1970. Though everyone knew Marilyn Monroe hardly anyone recognized Valerie Solanas or took her Manifesto seriously. I brought the names of these two women together in the title of the piece to draw attention to their inequality and to dedicate the piece.” – Pauline Oliveros.
“Much of Oliveros’s aesthetic is best understood as environment, areas of aural doldrums providing momentary and slightly queasy resting points, like the requisite standing back from a massive architectural work to take in the whole before venturing back in. In To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe, the hallmarks of Oliveros’s later philosophy and aesthetic are brought into direct play with politically-charged expressionism. Kudos to Minneapolis-based Roaratorio Records for uncovering such a significant work, a piece of music that will probably scare the living shit out of you. Valerie Solanas would be proud.” – Clifford Allen, Paris Transatlantic
“…it’s beautiful and strange, emotionally articulate, and I also believe it succeeds as a much less stilted approach to open composition than Cardew, Cage or Stockhausen. It is truly natural and unforced organic music, semi-scored and collaborative, making efficient use of the energy of the musicians she works with.” – Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector
**** 4 stars : “Oliveros’ magnum feminist opus has a protracted tonal structure comparable to the work of Giacinto Scelsi. Its tenebrous expressivity is beautifully matched by the cover art…” - All Music Guide
To Valerie Solanas And Marilyn Monroe In Recognition Of Their Desperation: for any group or groups of instrumentalists (6 to large orchestra), Smith Publications, c1977.
1970 Performance: at Wichers Hall, Hope College, Hope, Michigan; 6 October 1970.
1977 Performance: at Crowell Concert Hall, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut; 7 April 1977.
PAULINE OLIVEROS (1932 – 2016) was an American composer and accordionist. She was a central figure in the development of experimental and post-war electronic music. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Centre in the 1960s, and served as its director. She taught music at Mills College, the University of California San Diego, Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Oliveros authored books, formulated new music theories, and investigated new ways to focus attention on music including her concepts of "deep listening" and "sonic awareness”. In 1988, as a result of descending 14 feet into an underground cistern to make a recording, Oliveros coined the term "deep listening”, a pun that has blossomed into an aesthetic based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation. This aesthetic is designed to inspire both trained and untrained performers to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations.