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98 not changed. Furthermore, the 'image' projected by contemporary homes is still dependent, as it was in Victorian times, on what Orvel calls the hieroglyphics of home furnishings. In his closing essay, Orvel discusses the underlying theme of the whole book in relation to a cultural artifact that is the quintessence of the twentieth century: junk. In characteristic fashion, Orvel produces an elegant definition of a thoroughly inelegant object- "[junk] is the object with a history, the mass-produced object become individualized" (p. 282). Orvel discusses the idea ofjunk in relation to the work of Charles Burchfield, Ralph Steiner, Walker Evans, James Agee, Carlos Williams, Joseph Cornell, Robert Lowell, Wallace Stevens and Claus Oldenburg. He traces out the ways in which junk becomes the occ.asion for both the pursuit of authenticity and the celebration of facticity. As in the closing essay, so throughout the book, the reader will find countless disquisitions of varying length on many of the important shapers of American culture, including Whitman, Wright, Sullivan, Dickie, Norris and Howells. Many of these disquisitions can stand on their own, almost like entries in an encyclopedia of culture. Thus, the book can. be read as the presentation of a partICular vision of American culture, but it can also be used as a reference work. Current Liu-rmurcTHE SACKBUT BLUES bv Gale Young. National Museum of S~ience and Technology, Toronto, Canada, 1989. 274 pp., illus. Trade, $29.95. ISBN: 0-660-12006-2. Reviewed fry LarrĀ» Polansky, Department ofMusic, Dartmouth Co/leW' Hanover, NH 03755, U.S.A. After nearly 10 years of work, Canadian composer, instrument designer and editor Gayle Young has produced her long-awaited biography and musical study of Canadian composer , instrument designer and inventor , Hugh LeCaine. This book follows the extraordinarv recording of LetIaines music and demonstrations that Young produced a few years ago, and it should become an essential volume in the history of early electronic music. Hugh LeCaine. long-time a resident of Toronto, was one of the earliest designers of electronic music instruments . Beginning in the earlv 1950s, LeCaine designed and constructed a number of important prototypes and working studio instr~u~1ents that explored important and visronary aspects of electronic music. LeCaine was extremely interested in 'control' and 'cxprcssivity'. and in his designs fill' such instruments as the touchsensitive organ (1956), the Sackbut, and even the multitrack tape recorder (1955), which could be plaved via a small keyboard, LeCaine presages many of the current concerns for 'input structures' and 'alternative controllers' that are prevalent in computer music todav. His studio instruments , like the oscillator bank and the serial sound structure generator (and the multitrack tape recorder) were important carlv models of complex electronic compositional environments . It is interesting to see in this book how some of LeCaincs most extraordinary ideas still have not been realized in commercial computer music devices! Young has done meticulous research on LeCaine and chronicles his entire career with sympathv and deep understanding of what LeCaine was trying to do. Her writing is clear and relies heavilv on interviews with those who knew ;md worked with LeCaine. The first part of the book is a copiously illustrated biography of Ler.aine, and the second part, titled "Technical Description of Instruments Designed bv Le'Caine", will be indispensable for it~ comprehensive technical descriptions of Letaines work. There are complete descriptions of virtually all of the designer's major experiments, with beautiful photographs, diagrams and histories of the instruments. THE BEAUTY OF LIGHT bv Ben Bova ..John Wiley and Sons, h~c., New York, NY, l'.S.A., 1988.350 pp., illus. Trade, 524.95. ISBN: (J-47162580 -9. Reuinoed Irv./o.\' Filmer Luke. Studio 231, Route I, Box IS, Sprnvoille, ~~4. 22740, {'.S.A. Ben Bova has written 70 novels and nonfiction books about space and high technologv. He has been honored as an editor and has received several awards for his science fiction. With this background it is not surprising that this hook is a graceIullv written collection of interesting tidbits about light fill' the general public . This is not a book for those with specialist knowledge about any aspect of light or vision, but it should...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 98
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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