Monday, December 11, 2006

Do The Silences Make You Uncomfortable?

Here's a video of Debora Petrina (who describes herself as a "polymorphic artist") filling the silences in the music of Morton Feldman with distracting movement - and later accompanying herself on the drum.

I fear this is a good example of the global decline in attention span.

 I found this Feldman workout video at Sequenza 21 which asked "Who says you can't dance to Morton Feldman?" More people ought to say that. Speaking of distracting movement during performances - here's a 1960 video from Dutch television. This rock 'n roll band has their moves down. Watch for the drummer walking around during his solo - all while keeping the beat. Gasp as the lead guitarist stands upright on the recumbent bass while playing a solo behind his back. Much more exciting than a dancing Morton Feldman pianist because there are no uncomfortable silences to fill.


 Read more about the Tielman Brothers - (so who knew there was an Indonesian rock 'n roll scene?) - at WFMU's Beware the Blog. Here's an extended Mixed Meters post about the inappropriate use of total silence in concert. Silent Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Anonymous said...

Petrina’s video’s almost, kinda, sorta cool. I can see the attraction for self-consciously choreographing the performance, but in this case it ends up reinforcing the discorporate, serious, concert music enterprise by having all the body movement pretty much reserved for the ‘non-music bits’: Move, get into position, stop, plays a note, move, etc.
Doesn’t really compare to the physicality, or body-consciousness, of, say, Cecil Taylor or Pauline Oliveros (to pick two contrasting performers).

S, tig

Addison said...

If I find a performer's movements too distracting, I'll hold up the program so I don't have to watch her (or him). Closing my eyes increases the chance that I'll fall asleep so I rarely do that. If it's a vocalist, I'll read the text of the song. There should be a class in platform decorum in music school, and failing that someone should have a word with musicians who gesticulate, weave about, grunt, or otherwise distract the audience from what they're playing. When I'm in charge there'll be some changes made.

Anonymous said...

The rock band reminds me of an Eighth Blackbird performance.