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The Numinosum Blog
The next Composer Salon is on Monday May 10th, 2010 from 7 pm to around 9 pm at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 4th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn), FREE! The Lyceum is literally above the Union Street M, R Train stop in Brooklyn. The Lyceum does have various inexpensive libations including different beers, wine and other non-alcoholic beverages, as well as coffee and baked goods. If you are a composer/musician in New York City area, regardless of genre, style, or inclination, I hope you can come out, meet some new and old faces behind the blogs and comments and listen or join the discussion, which often branches out from the original topic.
With last week's 'alt-classical' blogosphere 'debate' about the influence of popular music in the works of some composers, I did think about using the flare-up as a subject for discussion at this month's Salon (despite basically already talking about a parallel subject back in November 2009). However with people such as Matt Marks, 8th Blackbird, Brian Sacawa, Dennis DeSantis, et al. covering things pretty well (and which I burned a few brain cells in some 'rants', ah, comments on a few of the blogs) and seeing as most of the rest of my brain power these days has to be devoted to getting ready for a couple of Numinous shows in the upcoming weeks, I thought I'd bring back one of my old topics, to make my life a little easier for this month's Salon.
Salon Topic #6:
Here's some olden thoughts:
“If you want to create a work of art that is unified in its mood and consistent in its structure, and if it is to give the listener a clear and definite impression, then what the author wants to say must have been just as clear and definite in his own mind. This is only possible through the inspiration by a poetical idea, whether or not it be introduced as a programme. I consider it a legitimate artistic method to create a correspondingly new form for every new subject, to shape neatly and perfectly is a very difficult task, but for that reason the more attractive. Of course, purely formalistic [music-making] will no longer be possible, and we cannot have any more random patterns, that mean nothing to the composer or the listener…”-Richard Strauss in a 1888 letter to Hans von Bulow
“[in his first period] traditional and recognized form contains and governs the thought of the master; and the second [period], that which the thought stretches, breaks, recreates, and fashions the form and style according to its needs and inspirations.”-Franz Liszt in a 1852 letter to author Wilhelm von Lenz, writing of Beethoven
“[Marcel] Breuer was aware of the significant value of spontaneity and freshness to design and it is still my inclination to work in that manner. It is easy to complicate matters and be trapped by the multitude of design and technical solutions requiring resolution on all projects. Loss of momentum is, generally, disastrous. Relatively little seems to be achieved by reworking and reconsidering matters time and time again. There is no stopping point in design and one could go on designing forever, but the degree of improvement on a project diminishes precipitously at a sometimes hard to recognize point.”-David Masello in Architecture without Rules
And some more contemporary takes:
“What I really try to do is start from zero…I’m trying to start as much as I can from a neutral point, to see what the first impulse is and work from that…sometimes I’ll start with a technical idea…sometimes an image will come up of what the whole piece will be, and then it’s a matter of finding the components and structuring it. Generally, the process begins intuitively and I try to stay out of the way of the material as much as I can. Then as it goes along, the intellectual aspect comes in, which is trying to find the correct form for that material.”-Meredith Monk from New Voices: American Composers Talk about Their Music
“To realize I can reinvent form every time I write is daunting. But often what I want is to open up and tell a story. I want people to feel like my music takes them on a journey, brings them [to] different places, enticing or surprising them. I develop the form based on my dramatic needs…”-Maria Schneider from an interview with Fred Sturm
Basically the question is how do we organize and make sense out of the music that we hear and that we create?
If you are a composer or musician or music lover in the New York City area, consider coming down to the Lyceum and joining the discussion, or if you don't live in New York or can't make it, adding your thoughts in the comments. Hope to see you on May 10th!
Previous Composer Salons
Composer Salon #1: The Audience
Composer Salon #2: Future Past Present
Composer Salon #3: Mixed Music-Stylistic Freedom in the 'aughts
Composer Salon #4: Inspiration
Composer Salon #5: What Do You Mean?
(also here's a NPR A Blog Supreme article about the Salon)
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To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.
Thanks and credit to all the original photos on this website to: David Andrako, Concrete Temple Theatre, Marcy Begian, Ed Lefkowicz, Donald Martinez, Kimberly McCollum, Geoff Ogle, Joseph C. Phillips Jr., Daniel Wolf-courtesy of Roulette, Andrew Robertson, Viscena Photography, Jennifer Wohrle, Carolyn Wolf, Mark Elzey, Numinosito. The Numinous Changing Same album design artwork by DM Stith. The Numinous The Grey Land album design and artwork by Brock Lefferts. Contact for photo credit and information on specific images.