Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Lost and Found
Look for one thing, find another. Searching for some old letters, I wound up in a stack of old sketches and scores, discovering a half-dozen pieces that I had completely forgotten, and now can hardly imagine having written. At least one of them was 30 (!) years old, a violin and piano piece, with a title as pretentious as only a fifteen-year-old can manage, Palinode. What kind of music was this? It's not tonal, three minutes long, covers the entire range of each instrument (lots of ledger lines), has constantly changing dynamics and tempi, and comed across as much bigger and more serious than it ought to be, an belated entry into the big-a atonal bebop sweepstakes. The method of composition - and I suspect that there was one - is totally opaque, not to be reconstructed. In other words, it does all of the things I've since learned that I either should not or do not want to do (nowadays, more than four ledger lines invokes vertigo). What kind of person would have made this? I recognize him even less than I do the score, and though the musical sensibility audible in the notes is not yet well-formed, I'd sure like to recover some of that naivete, that fearlessness.