The Road Less Traveled

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This week on Hammered! we queue up portions of Frederic Rzewski's epic musical novel The Road -- in addition to a few driving playlists of our own -- and provide five discrete soundtracks built for summer travel. Tune in all week at 10 AM

Frederic Rzewski on his multi-part mega-opus, The Road:

"I decided that I wanted to write about the idea of the road. When you turn onto a road, it's usually already there, and when you turn off it to go where you want to go, the road keeps going somewhere else. So the piece has to be long enough to virtually guarantee that nobody (except of few nuts) will listen to the whole thing...things happen for no reason at all, they're just there, like a Burma-Shave sign, or a wrecked car that appears for a moment."

For all its ingenious spontaneity, this sprawling work is rigorously structured. Each movement is termed a "mile", so "Turns," for example, consists of miles 1-8, "Tracks" miles 9-16 and so on. Every part is also inspired by a popular song, which gets deconstructed and reinterpreted during that part. There are nuclear protest songs, variations on the railroad song "900 Miles," U.S. army songs, and even a meditative reading -- by the pianist -- of Gogol's story "The Nose."

Tune in for a one-part-a-day hearing of this traveler's masterpiece starting Tuesday -- not to be missed!

Supplementing those movements from The Road are road trip playlists in turn chugging, meditative and fleeting. You'll hear music of Florent Ghys, Aaron Jay Kernis, Elliott Carter and James Tenney, along with a specially curated set of perpetual motion etudes on Wednesday consisting of studies by Ryan Anthony Francis, Gyorgy Ligeti, Sergei Prokofiev and, um, Frederic Chopin?

What's on your road trip playlist?