Auto Salvage/Elegy

Marc Lowenstein’s introductory note: “Writing a piece dedicated to the memory of a friend who was also a composer is strange. Do you quote his music, his style, or do you write how you feel (and what on earth does that mean anyway?) Randy Hostetler, who died early in 1996 was quite a composer. He was deeply influenced by the music/philosophy of John Cage, so much so that he is reported to have said that he was wondering when Cage was going to die so he, Randy, could get on with his own life. Other stories about Randy include numerous tales of his project to record as many different squeaks as possible for potential use in his music (and sometimes just for their own sake), his driving for hours to record a particularly melodious herd of cows, and his piece for strings, the score to which consisted of a video of palm trees. At the root of this wonderful craziness was a ferocious technique, and an enduring memory I have is of his tuning my piano and finishing with a test run that consisted of a breath-taking Bach toccata from the e-minor partita that segued smoothly into James Brown’s “Sex Machine”.

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