Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Music and labor. At one extreme, music can be a lot of work to composer, to play, or listen to, at the other extreme, it may appear to compose or play itself, and listening goes down easily as well. But neither extreme necessarily implies anything about the pleasure and/or pain of the experience (and indeed, like the pleasure of some chili, peppers, ginger, horseradish, or wasabi, it's often sensual pain that actually seals the deal; Keats, of course: "branched thoughts new grown with pleasant pain") and neither extreme represents a necessarily causal relationship. I'm very fond of the idea of labor-intensive scores which yield sounding end-products which appear to the ear to be simplicity itself, and perhaps even fonder of score/piece combinations which do exactly the opposite. Simple conditions can lead to catastrophic or chaotic results and, at the same time, there is always the possibility of music escaping an entropic arrow and allowing complex initial conditions to resolve, amiably, to the less complex. Again, there's no necessity here, but it's a rich field of possibilities. It's Labor Day here, and that's supposed to be a day free'd up from work, but as a freelance composer, as Cage put it, there are no weekends or holidays. So back to work, but not necessarily hard work.