Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Winter 2011 from The Seasons

Why not listen to Winter 2011 while you're reading this post?  It's nearly an hour long but it's easy listening.  That's because 80% of it is silence.  Click here to listen.

Winter 2011 is the first in what I intend to be an ongoing series of pieces called The Seasons.  I would no more call it a complete piece of music than I would call salt and pepper a complete meal.  But, like salt and pepper, you can season other music with Winter 2011.  That's how I use it.

In my recent pieces I've been writing very short "musical events" surrounded by long silences.  Read about the ideas involved here and here.  There are also pieces you can listen to.

Lately, while I'm busy earning a living, I've needed to conserve my creative time.  I resolved to write one short musical event each day.  Just a few seconds of music.  It could be anything I cared to dream up.

Now suppose that I began this regimen on the previous Winter solstice and then wrote one bit every day until the Spring equinox.  All those bits together would become Winter 2011.

Well, I would have started on the winter equinox last December if I had had the initial idea just a little earlier.  Actually I started a couple weeks after the solstice.  I had some catching up to do.  Even so most of the events in Winter 2011 were composed on the day they represent.

If I continue this process for a whole year, beginning a new piece on each solstice or equinox and continuing adding one event each day throughout the season, I'd have a complete set of musical seasons: a cycle of four pieces.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: Vivaldi already wrote four seasons.   And he's making a ton of money off of them because that music gets used in lots of television commercials.  People love Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  They listen to it over and over again.

Many other composers have aped Vivaldi as well.  Click here to read about my personal favorite musical seasonal cycle.

Don't expect tone painting in my The Seasons.  You will not hear the cold winter wind in my musical winter.  There is nothing in this music to suggest snow - although you're free to imagine whatever you want as you listen.  Where I live there is no snow in the winter anyway - there are barely any seasons.  As a general rule you're free to imagine whatever you damn well please while listening to whatever music you happen to hear.

My seasons (assuming I finish them) are more calendrical than than they are representational.  They're a lot like crossing off each day on a wall calendar as it goes by.  And because they consist of only short moments of music I find that they blend with other music quite well.

You could listen to Vivaldi's Four Seasons and my The Seasons at the same time.  In fact, that's what I want you to do.  That's what I would do.  The musical combinations they produce might be fascinating.  How will you know until you try it?

Longtime Mixed Meters readers might remember that I'm someone who listens to multiple radio stations at once.  Adding Winter 2011 to a mix of several radio stations can produce some fascinating interactions.  It's something I really like.  You have to be open to the shear happenstance of it all.

I know that not everyone can alter their thinking to accept this idea as music.  But I offer it to you in a positive sense of creating something new, a musical landscape only you can access.  Depending on what other music you choose to combine Winter 2011 with  you will have a unique new musical experience.  It's not at all like hearing that same old Vivaldi yet again.  It'll be a slightly different Vivaldi ... yet again.

If you're not willing to try listening to Winter 2011 simultaneously with other music, I suppose you could listen to it by itself.  But I warn you ... it'll be pretty boring that way.  So is listening to Vivaldi the two hundreth time.

Last Tuesday, on the Spring Equinox, I started my second season, Spring 2012.  If all goes as planned it will be finished in June.  It will focus on somewhat different musical materials than Winter 2011.  Eventually I hope to begin Summer 2012 on the Summer Solstice.  And so on.  At least that's the plan.

And you probably already figured out that I'm not calling my cycle "The Four Seasons" because I might well write multiple winters, springs or whatevers.  If you stay tuned long enough maybe you'll find out how Winter 2012 differs from Winter 2011.  I wonder about that myself.

Click here to hear Winter 2011 by David Ocker - © 2012 David Ocker - 3470 seconds

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