Phalba (revisited)
by Joseph Celli


NOTE: Composer and oboist Joseph Celli composed Phalba (revisited) shortly after Jerry's death. He performed it at the Jerry Hunt Memorial Concert at Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York on March 19, 1994. These are Joseph's program notes for that performance.


Telephone Calls to the DeadThe all-night talking (it was only two hours from Philadelphia to NYC) punctuated by toll booths and occasionally my waking as Jerry navigated the turnpikes had a continuity with all of our other meetings, phone talks, letters and trips: Jerry provided the context and I was an occasional punctuation mark (a nod, an "uh-huh", a question). From scorpions in my shoe to nicotine pads, to new circuitry, to a pop record's chord progressions, to black popcorn kernels, to gardening, to Indian/Asian foods and spices, to mimetic gestures, to any of a hundred topics, Jerry spoke and spoke and spoke and spoke and spoke and spoke and spoke like a mantra of Texas locusts.

And of course, he wrote. Texts that needed an encyclopedia to decipher in the mysterious use of language so oblique yet so precise, with references to shamanistic practices, black magic, John Dee, Edward Kelley and others. Dictionary at hand I would look for skrying, chimanzzi, bitome...often times giving up and grudgingly agreeing with John Rockwell's description of Jerry's writing as "...mandarin obfuscation...". Sampling Jerry, "PHALBA (stream): extractive for mechanic device or system of devices, alone using electronic adaptive sound recall system...a series of movement activity patterns as mimetic exercise articulates the skrying of the adaptive stream...a series flood of incipient, responsive and interruptive sounds produced by a single isolate source generator."

Jerry in Minneapolis, Jerry in Rotterdam, Jerry in NYC, Jerry in Philadelphia, Jerry in Dallas, Jerry in Miami. But the image that is imbedded is the Jerry in Canton with the 600 pound Herefords, Longhorns and Brangus as neighbors (neighbors who were safe because he was a vegetarian). We climb into the 20 year old VW bug. I try to move a pile of music manuscript paper from the front floor away from my soaked shoes. Jerry insists that it remain, and my feet can go on top of it. He explains that it is only a prop. When he's hired to write music for a commercial video, film or whatever, he brings in this stack of manuscript, and the producers are very impressed. When they leave, he and his friends improvise, and they improvise and they improvise.

Phalba (revisited), 1994, is dedicated to Jerry Hunt, and loosely based on materials, mimetic gestures, sounds and notations from the original Phalba (stream): extractive that Jerry composed for me in 1983. I subsequently presented about 50 performances of the work, including a live satellite performance at the New Music America Festival in Washington DC. In this performance, my live signal was sent to Jerry in Austin via satellite. He processed my sound live, and it was sent back to the performance space and mixed with my live sound. The festival couldn't afford a sound check on the satellite, so it was all live and filled with great apprehension. Tonight we don't need a satellite -- Jerry is getting the signal real clear.

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Original Material Copyright  1994 by Joseph Celli. HTML Coding Copyright  2001 by Michael Schell. All Rights Reserved.