|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2010
Reviews of Vipassana sometimes cite Steve Reich as a general and Music for 18 Musicians as a specific influence. Indeed while there are moments in some movements where the comparison is apt (and very flattering), the totality of Vipassana, in particular the second and the final movements, are much removed from Reich and 18. Whereas 18 is built on the repetition of churning short overlapping rhythmic cells, "Stillness Flows Ever Changing" flows from weaving chains of larger melodic passages. Often these melodies are temporally distinct from one another: a melody of longer tones slowly moving in counterpoint against a more rhythmically active one. This happens throughout the piece. Two examples are: in the middle of the piece, Ben Kono's soprano saxophone floats on top of slow waves of melody from the strings with the piano, clarinet, and guitars moving at a more judicious pace; and near the end, with the trombone melodically heralding above a sweeping, long lined string melody, pulsing vibraphone and piano, and undulating flute, harp, tenor saxophone, glockenspiel. Another moment to directly illustrate this is from early in "Stillness" (shown below in a transposed score, minus the voices and a few other instruments): the English Horn throughout this section is moving at a much gentler pace than say the guitar and piano, who are spinning out a much faster, snakier melody and the violins and violas in a more middle ground between the two.
The languid resultant effect is something akin to watching the evening sky during a crisp fall sunset, where you might see the high wispy cirrus clouds moving and changing slowly, while the lower puffy cumulus ones are moving and changing more rapidly. It is fitting that the first day of fall is our performance of Vipassana because to me the two inner movements, "Stillness Flows Ever Changing" and "Into all the Valleys Evening Journeys" always had an autumnal fragrance about them.
Numinous performs Vipassana
Wednesday September 22nd, 2010 8 PM to 9 PM
227 4th Avenue
Take the M, R Train to Union Street
Learn more about Vipassana by reading the other installments of the Inside Vipassana series:
Inside Vipassana #11: Vipassana Reborn
(recap of the 2009 Inside Vipassana series)
Inside Vipassana #12: Bang a Gong with Jared Soldiviero
(Numinous percussionist Jared Soldiviero speaks about Vipassana)
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 2:39 PM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.