Something I Created and Loved has been Killed


This letter, dated February 10, 1956, is from CBS Radio producer Jim Fassett to Peter Paul Kellogg of the Cornell Ornithology lab. Fassett had done a rather strange tape manipulation piece he called “Symphony of the Birds,” and hoped to release it with Columbia, whom he worked with on an earlier LP, the now-cult-classic Strange to Your Ears. Because the piece used Cornell bird recordings, he had to reach an agreement with them in regards to royalties and copyrights. Essentially, Cornell rejected every deal he put forth, but the album eventually did get released on a much smaller label in 1970—I haven’t yet found out how or why the negotiations were reached at that time. Obviously, this letter is an archival gem, emotional and raw and very uncharacteristic of the previous professional correspondence between he and Cornell. I hope to “recover” Fassett a bit in my dissertation as a kind of experimental composer with his “Symphony of the Birds.”

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