Sunday, 21 July 2013

Fishing for souls

The Polish Composer Witold Lutoslawski worked with controlled chance strategies for how a piece should be performed. He could compose a musical line for each instrument, transcribe them as loop and let them play until a signal was given. He tried to get away from music being written by the orchestra vertically, so he made the loops in different lengths. He made each instrument a separate sheet. When reading music you often read vertically. His wife actually solved this problem by cutting the note sheets in to pieces that they called mobiles.This makes me think about the mobiles/kinetic sculptures of Marcel Duchamp and of course László Moholy-Nagy. I love those constructivist movies. 

Everything was strictly written down and the performance gave no surprises, so he didn't share Cage's philosophy and use of I-ching. 
Haven't figured out how he worked with text (was he actively using the text to compose (like I do) i.e.?) but I do get inspired by the mobile-technique.
While listening to the radio as I always do, there was a Norwegian soprano, Solveig Kringlebotn, who performed a piece by Lutoslawski. He actually wrote it for her during his last years. It's quite funny and based on a French children's poem. 
It's called La Sauterelle (The Grasshopper). Here's a link (La Sauterelle starts at approx. 2:45).

In Lutoslawski's notebook,  Varga (1976):  "[...] I have a strong desire to communicate something, through my music, to the people. I am not working to get many 'fans' for myself; I do not want to convince, I want to find. I would like to find people who in the depths of their souls feel the same way as I do. That can only be achieved through the greatest artistic sincerity in every detail of music, from the minutest technical aspects to the most secret depths. I know that this standpoint deprives me of many potential listeners, but those who remain mean an immeasurable treasure for me. [...] I regard creative activity as a kind of soul-fishing, and the 'catch' is the best medicine for loneliness, that most human of sufferings."

So Lutosławski described musical composition as a search for listeners who think and feel the same way he did —fishing for souls.
I like that.

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