Sunday, 23 February 2014

Memorizing, and a thought

I will be the first to tell you I do not memorize my music all that often. In the past I always memorized my unaccompanied works, which is something that I have let slip. This has been in part due to how complicated some of the works have been, as well dealing with time scales, graphic notation and other… well let’s call it what it is, excuses. Though now, as I continue down the Stockhausen road I am reaching the part that I have left the most time for, memorizing the work, the time scale, etc.

Now, the reason I am doing this is that in the performance notes, they very first note is that the work is required to be performed from memory all the time. With Stockhausen this should be taken very seriously as his works (as Nebadon does) contains staging elements, lighting elements, and so forth. The piece demands it from the performer. That being said a 25 minute electronic work that is full of complexities not only in the horn part, but in the relationship between time and sound, as well as the interaction with the tape. (Later on that in a later post)

On the plus, I started memorizing right away, as well taking the time to analyze the work will always aid you, since understanding the internal consistencies in a work will help it make sense and give location in your mind to the material. This I think is an often overlooked element when people play new music, they either write it off as strange and don’t show it the respect it deserves, or go at it haphazardly. All this music is full of internal consistencies and as the performer you need to understand them so you can deliver it intelligently to the listener. As well, much like memorizing a work by Beethoven understanding the harmonic framework will permit the memorization to happen faster and more securely.

Tiny post, and tiny rant complete.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Some growth

Over the past two weeks I have been BUSY, which has been nice. Though, it did send the Stockhausen towards the back burner for the present moment. Before I did get swamped learning new music (Falstaff, Concordanza, etc) I did get that lesson on the Stockhausen which was very insightful As well gave me some indirect feedback on my preparation to this point. There is an update to my performance plan for this (though I will be open to venues ;) )

First the lesson.

When we undertake works like this I think it is very important to find people who are involved in the traditions that surround this music. Be it through their mentors, a life time of performance and conducting, and so on. I am fortunate enough to get to access to these people on a daily basis and have really taken advantage of it and plan to continue. One thing that came up in the lesson was in regards to this tradition that is being established right now around modern music and music of the 20th century. It is not hard to imagine back to Viennese court days and with our modern understanding of the performance traditions of those times to imagine how things could have been in the performance world. Well, right now we are in our own period of traditions in regards to notation, and performance.

“NOTHING is as obvious as it may seem.”

It could be something as simple as a slash through a note, the use of IRR, time scale, etc. all of these markings have been around long enough to have had a tradition established for the most part. Or at least a general consensus among performers on how these gestures are executed. I can tell you that after this lesson and discussing what has become the consensus, and why has changed how I play things. It also makes me feel rather silly for not asking more questions before.
In regards to this development of tradition, or musical language I think it is so very important to have all avenues of communication open, and critical thinking turned on. Since the availability to information is so present now with the internet and its ability to disseminate this information to most everywhere there is no excuse to not be asking all the questions.

In the end I learned a lot more than I have written here, that will come later.

My plan is to perform the Stockhausen in May, on a program with works by Messiaen, Reynolds, and one other word TBD.