July 10, 2012
Composing with Patterns: Music at Mid-Century
One wonderful night after another. This was put together by talented Christopher McIntyre and Luke DuBois with Luke presenting an informative pre-concert talk in the Peter B. Lewis Theater. Luke put into historical context music and art from 1949-1960, this to complement the current art exhibit. Much of both were a reaction to WWII. He noticed that there were two main ideas: 1. Nothing left to chance as with Boulez and Stockhausen. 2. Mostly all about chance defined by Earle Brown and Cage, the patron saint. DuBois also compared the European and New York schools of music during those years. Luke had quotes on the back screen all of which I hope to remember. By Cage: “Where we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it interesting.” Boulez said, “Creations exist only in the unforeseen made necessary.” Varese: “Contrary to general belief, an artist is never ahead of his time but most people are far behind theirs.” And, famously, Cage also said, “We need not to destroy the past; it is gone.” We then were shepherded upstairs to the Guggenheim lobby where the sold-out audience could either grad a folding stool to sit or wander along the ramps to watch and listen from above. One piece morphed into the next so I am not positve which was which but they played the music of Varese, then Takemitsu’s “Landscape” and Earle Brown’s “November ’52” from “Synergy. All delicious. Stephen Gosling played Stockhausen’s “Klavierstucke XI” for solo piano. The first time I have heard this live and it was special. Morton Feldman’s “Projection 4” for violin and piano where the score was interesting and music was great. The penultimate piece was Scelsi’s “Kya” movements 1 and 2 conducted by Ted Hearne featuring Joshua Rubin, virtuosic on his B flat clarinet. Appropriately the concert ended with John Cage’s “Concert for Piano, Violins 1 and 2, Clarinet, Trumpet and Sliding Trombone, the latter being very busy and beautiful using many mutes plus taking apart and putting back the trombone to create a myriad of sounds. Various extended techniques were used such as tapping with fingers on the violins and music stands and playing inside the piano. A perfect way to end the evening surrounded by Wright’s architecture and just as creative music.