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Most accounts of Earle Brown’s open form compositions focus on the notated qualities of individual events in the score. However, the conductor’s role in ensuring continuity and formal coherence within a performance is rarely acknowledged. In this article, I analyze recordings of three performances of Brown conducting his composition Novara (1962), two with the Virtuoso Ensemble in 1966 and one with a group of Dutch musicians in 1974. The conductor’s interventions in each performance embody a range of strategies used to suggest structural function and organize the time of performance. The multiplicity of musical processes in play within—and between—performances in turn suggests a parallel with Jonathan Kramer’s concept of multiply-directed linear time.
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