About two men called Harold Budd

This a photograph of Harold Budd in Japan, but not Harold Budd the Olympic Rower who won a gold medal while also in Japan (Tokyo, 1964).

This Harold Budd is a composer and a poet. A somewhat traditional combination, although we have to think that a composer and a rower might be yet better. Not certain why. Perhaps he does row also, or did.

He’s getting on a bit now for that, this Harold Budd. Although the actuaries would tell you that rowing’s probably healthier over the longer term than composing.

It’s true that one doesn’t think of composing as especially dangerous. Not physically anyway. However, there is something about the composing brand that carries an almost hidden idea of mental illness somewhere within it.

Most things done alone have the same association.

Perhaps it is suspicion more than anything. People alone. Probably not right. Poets also for example, but we imagine composers as even more solitary. You might write a poem on the bus or in a pub. Not sure that people on the subway write sonatas (while on the subway). This may be an old-fashioned viewpoint

Of course this Budd is/was a composer and a poet. Two lots of alone.

One wonders if one is more intrinsically so than the other. Or if you are lonely (as a function of being a human being), is writing poetry or composing music more effective at distracting you from how you feel?

Conversely, do you sometimes start the day quite normally, but then write a few lines of a verse or some music and find yourself feeling unhappy? And which is worse? Or more so.

Harold Budd the rower must have spent quite a lot of time alone, rowing.

He won his gold medal as a member of the American Coxed Eight team, but even then they’re all in a line (or a row); nothing to see but another man’s back.

He was born January 4th, 1939, the same day as another American composer, Jon Appleton, who, as a child, studied with Jacob Gimpel and Theodore Saidenberg, but preferred composing his own music rather than playing that which was assigned to him.

He is considered to be (or was) fundamental in the electro-acoustic music world which seems to cover most things being both electric and acoustic and we mention him because of his connection by way birth and vocation with both Budds and also because we know precious few other details concerning Harold Budd the rower.

Harold Budd the composer and poet is known as avant-garde although he might not describe himself as such. It seems unlikely. To say about yourself that, yes, I’m ahead of the curve, before the mob.

He is known for developing (or committing to) a piano style called ‘soft pedal’ which does sound as though it would be towards the more pleasant end of the modernist spectrum which includes a number of clankers and biffers of things with other things and then also (another end of the other end) pieces involving long silences and a rather forced feeling of Siberian grace.

Harold Budd the composer and poet was born in Los Angeles on May 24, 1936 and raised in the Mojave Desert which sounds romantic, but may not have been at the time of his being there.

He is somewhat older than Harold Budd the rower. A lot can happen in two and a half years.

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