Thursday, May 19, 2005

Landmarks (4)

Jo Kondo: Standing (1973).

I've had the same experience repeated so often that it no longer surprises: I meet a composer for the first time and then learn that she or he too was under the influence of Jo Kondo. Kondo's earliest pieces include landmarks of minimalism*: Standing, Sight Rhythmics, Knots, An Insular Style, A Shape of Time. (Morton Feldman was famously fond of Kondo's Under the Umbrella, for five percussionists, mostly playing cowbells). Each of his pieces is at once an example of elegance and distinct invention, and he has increasingly come to be a model for how a composer confidently builds a coherent repertoire of music without falling into clichés.

Standing is an example of the simplest of procedures, shaped by the slightest of composerly interventions into an astonishing web of relationships. Kondo identifies his own music with "the art of being ambiguous", and his music stands in an ambiguous relationship to both tonal and non-tonal musics. This score is clear, even simple, in appearance, but contains difficulties in performance that have defeated even the most virtuoso players.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Which composers do you know were influenced by Kondo?