Sunday, 9 March 2014

What is in a performance Part 1

As I mentioned in my post last week I was preparing to talk about certain elements of a performance that in my mind help make a complete and memorable performance... Then I was sidetracked. But, we are back to our regular programming and will go on from here.

So in part 1 I plan to address the main areas that help create complete products both in the micro and macro picture as well as briefly touch on a few things. (Remember this is my opinion, and as always is very much me figuring these things out with the hope for dialogue to happen)

Starting on the macro sides of things I always consider a few things when programming a piece.

1) Do I have a theme or if not, can I derive one from the work that is causing me to program a concert.

    • Most if not all of my recitals etc, have come from the desire to perform a singular work.
    • I always strive to have some kind of internal consistency that help pull things together, OR helps progress the concert from work to work in a way that you can go from Gabrieli to Globokar.(You can do it... if you plan it out and make it make sense.)
2) What is the desired effect/affect of the recital as a whole. (I also address this on the micro side)
    • This will directly effect what I program around the major work. If I am trying to create a recital full of radical aesthetics I will not be programming Strauss, sorry old chap it just isn't in the books.
3) Finally... is it possible.
    • Anyone who has been with me as I program recitals knows in the initial stages I have no feeling for the actual demands of the recital (Nor should I).This has led me to reprogram things many many times. On the plus, each work that I omit can easily become the basis for the next concert. 
      • I should note, there are times when a work fits the bill so perfectly that you simply have to suck up you mortality and make it happen (for me that was Speigel im Spiegel).
4) Time.. since well, we have to be sensitive to that. 
    • The more radical a program becomes the more I am aware of this since people (me included) can only take so much.

On the micro side, the list is basically the same so I don't need to explain it further. The only thing I will mention is that I try to avoid programming works that are very similar, if I do I need to find a way to give the listener time to digest things (intermissions, lighter works, etc).

I think a great number of times when we talk about making a great show we look at what we have in front of us, instead of what we could have. Stubbornness has led to some recitals that are intolerable... long, redundant (as much as I love Bach I don't need 2.5 hours of keyboard Sonatas.), and inaccessible.

Here is my big point that I have come to personal terms with, you may agree, or not... As the performer we are the least important person in the process. The Audience is the king, they buy tickets, they tell their friends, they literally feed us, both in food and in the ability to acquire more food. That being said, Everything starts from what WE want to present. We then find a way to balance things so that the audience walks away and remembers what they say. Though we are the least important, we do hold all the cards it just helps to know what game we are playing. (Trust me if you try to play blackjack in a poker game you won't fare that well)

In regards to the Stockhausen I think I have nailed down the program (for the time being, I am sure it will change) for now it will be including Messiaen, Reynolds, and Stockhausen. Will be fun.

Until next time.

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