Thursday, June 18, 2009
Have Windmill, Will Tilt
... if I were to have a logo promoting my work as a composer, that'd pretty much be it. Composing is fundamentally an act of independence (Blake's fool pursuing his folly), not doing what everyone else is doing. When everyone else zigs, you zag. Composing is not so much putting things together as making an act of imagination concrete (the Hungarian word for composer zeneszerző, literally a "music catcher", is so much more to the point): hearing a dragon where others hear only creaking windmills and figuring out how to make that explicit for others. Photographer Ansel Adams once said something to the effect that he never pushed the shutter until he saw an image that wasn't literally there. Gregory Bateson advised prospective field workers to be prepared to simply sit a good long while, not to try to document everything, not to try to take everything comprehensively in, but to wait for something interesting and important to happen. It always does. Every new work of music, if it rises to the extraordinary, must be an error, a mistake, even wrong-doing or a violation, by the standards of the work which proceeds it and, often, the community of listeners. (Blake again: Error, or Creation, will be Burned up, & then, & not till Then, Truth or Eternity will appear.) Composition is resistance against the existing social construction of the musical.