Thursday, December 14, 2006

Filling Silences

The Improvising Guitarist (or TIG, an anonymous author of an eponymous blog) took my post about the dancing Feldman pianist and ran with it in this post. Hard for me to keep up - too much mental cardio. But do check it out - it's about the rigid ways we expect performers to move in concert.

Hans Liberg in concert
TIG writes:
"I'm sympathetic to the idea that these rituals and context can (should?) be (re)examined, and the process of opening up these black boxes might reveal the unfamiliar, the unorthodox, and the complex (all good creative stuff)."
Yes, that's right.

Simultaneously John Steinmetz (see my previous post about the Skunk Hunt triptych) sent me this quote from a Milton Babbitt program note:
"[I]t is just the progression from the local to the global in relational implications which should provide the listener with the means of achieving that cognition of cumulative containment and successive subsumption which human memory in general, and musical memory in particular, requires for a musical work to be entified, eventually, as a unified, closed totality . . . ."
Quoted in a 1982 article by Greg Sandow who comments "He's something of a pedant, obviously". I've found that reading (or listening to music by) a pedant is an activity best suited for another pedant.

The mysterious TIG does find redemption, however, by linking to this wonderful and familiar performance by Victor Borge (with someone who isn't Leonid Hambro) playing Liszt. Their choreography is fast, precise and completely in the service of humor. The music is incidental - something I can accept with Liszt much more easily than I can with Feldman.

And losing track of the point again, YouTube suggested this video by someone named Hans Liberg - who, like Borge, seems pretty funny in spite of being an excellent pianist - mixed with just a hint of Gallagher

Hans Liberg, pianist, has talented hands

And now, a video to help you recover from Hans Liberg, Glenn Gould playing Bach accompanied by Leonard Bernstein. Two really idiosyncratic guys (who were also distracting performers) making beautiful music. Fear not, it's all Bach - nothing but Bach.

Oh, by the way - I think Feldman's music (in part) is about the silences between the notes. Our culture needs silences. Filling them with dance (or with shadow puppets or an Iron Chef competition) does us all a disservice. But making fun of Franz Liszt is okay. The Polymorphic Pianist is just 150 years ahead of her time. If she wants to dance and play the piano at the same time - she should write her own music - or play Liszt.

P.S. Here's my favorite Improvising Guitarist post.

P.P.S. I knew (and even performed with) Lee Hambro years ago at CalArts. I was sad to read that he recently passed away.

Deathly Silent Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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