Anthony Braxton ‎– For Four Orchestras

Arista ‎– A3L 8900
3 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Quadraphonic
Box Set

Companies, etc.



Four 39-piece orchestras from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
{Comp. 82} (dedicated to the historian-writer-educator Eileen Southern)


Recorded at Hall Auditorium, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, on May 18 and 19, 1978

from Braxton's notes in the booklet: "Composition {82} is the first completed work in a series of ten compositions that will involve the use of multiple-orchestralism and the dynamics of spacial activity. This work is scored for 160 musicians and has been designed to utilize both individual and collective sound-direction (in live performance). Each orchestra is positioned near the corners of the performing space, and the audience is seated in both the center and sides of the space (around and in between each orchestra). The resulting activity has been constructed to fully utilize every area of the room--which is to say, each section of the performing space will give the listener a very different aspect of the music. The science related to how this multiple use of space is utilized, will also open another chapter in multi-orchestra activity, and hopefully this work will be viewed as a positive contribution to transitional multi-orchestralism--as we move to the next cycle.The nature of how {Comp. 82} extends the dynamic possibilities of multi-orchestra activity has to do with its use of spaciality--involving both the nature of how information is transferred from orchestra to orchestra (where the listener of this record can hear the actual movement of activity change speakers) with the addition of 'trajectoral-activity' (where, in a live performance, the listener can experience the route of a given transfer). More so, this composition has also been constructed to include the actual change of performance direction as well. In other words 'information' in {Comp. 82} would also involve how the rotation of a given ensemble (as that ensemble is playing) changes the actual direction of the group making the music. This has been accomplished by having all of the performers (with the exception of the percussionist and the harpist) in rotating chairs--where even the direction of the music is calculated. Thus, the nature of spaciality in this composition would encompass an additional dynamic inclusion, for the spacial implications of environment would thus take on added dimensions. Because, in fact, to experience the realness of this composition is to experience a living and breathing universe. ***The actual composing of {Comp. 82} took place in July of 1977, lasting until the middle of May, 1978 (with sequence corrections up until August). The piece is scored for 160 musicians and each orchestra is made up with the same individual components. The make-up of each orchestra is as follows: two flues (one doubling on piccolo), oboe, English horn, two clarinets (one doubling on soprano clarinet), bass clarinet, bassoon, two trumpets, two trombones, bass trombone, tuba, harp, five first violins, five second violins, five violas, four cellos, three basses, and three percussion. The original floor plan of the composition was not able to be used for this recording as the space requirement it necessitated exceeded what was possible for us, so an alternate seating arrangement was utilized. The actual recording of {Comp. 82} took place in May, '78, on the campus of Oberlin College and involved four intensive sessions in two days. For this reason, the composition was recorded in sequence-patches, rather than in sectional areas. The total material would also exceed two hours and a half and as such, I have taken out about thirty minutes of the music in order to preserve the sound quality of this record. There have also been other adjustments as well, for the problem of time and economics in a project like this has to be taken into account--but what is documented here is an excellent version of the 'essence' of the piece. The placement of activity in this project has been designed to totally utilize the spacial dynamics of the quadraphonic technology--each orchestra will be heard coming from a separate speaker, and the mixture of events in a given section should give the sense of sound movement through space--and this will also be apparent (though to a somewhat lesser extent) to stereo record players as well."

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, hand-etched): A3L 8900 8900A.I RECORD ONE SIDE A
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, hand-etched): A3L 8900B.I RECORD I SIDE B
  • Matrix / Runout (Side C runout, hand-etched): A3L 8900C.I REC 2 SIDE A
  • Matrix / Runout (Side D runout, hand-etched): A3L 8900 8900D REC 2 SIDE B
  • Matrix / Runout (Side E runout, hand-etched): A3L 8900 8900E RECORD THREE SIDE A
  • Matrix / Runout (Side F runout, hand-etched): A3L 8900 8900F RECORD THREE SIDE B HUB
  • Rights Society (Publisher): BMI



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November 15, 2015
Labels on incorrect sides - the running order is corrected on the Mosaic 'Complete Arista' CD box set.