As Storm Eunice raged outside yesterday, 27 listeners were introduced to Mompou's 'Musica Callada', books 1 & 2 book-ending the 63-minute 'immersion in music' that was Pianoscapes #44.
After having been immersed in the preparation of the music over the past couple of months, I found it a real joy to share it. The quiet and reflective nature of most of the programme made for a very focused experience: intense concentration for me, of course, but also drawing the listeners in closer, and casting its spell over them all. By requesting the audience to refrain from applause, an uninterrupted sequence of music was allowed to unfold over an extended duration; and the cumulative effect of all those bell-sounds, harmonic twists and turns, the space between the notes and the weather outside, made for a hypnotic and consciousness-altering experience - for me, and, from the feedback I received afterwards, for the listeners too. I was very happy not to have to stop for applause, across a programme of 22 pieces: it's 'not about me' - it's about the music, and the journey that the music takes you (and me) on.
And if and when we are fortunate enough to 'touch music', then how lucky we are! "Music doesn't come in a gift parcel", writes Catherine David at the end of chapter 2: "It is the mirage of the quest." She writes eloquently about the process of work on technique, the meaning of 'practice' and the goal of 'touching music', in the 2 chapters that I've included below - well worth a read for all who aspire to develop as musicians.
And finally from me, a quote from Michael Pisaro, in his liner notes for James Rushford's recording of 'Musica Callada'. Perhaps if we were to touch music too deeply we would, as mere mortals, be burnt up. Perhaps the best that we can do is keep striving, and maybe we come close, and that's enough... Discuss!
"Notes wander in the pale light, seeking their place in the melody and the slats on the floor. They are hesitant, reluctant to assert themselves, don’t want to be observed too closely... We spy on the music, listen indirectly, around the chords, to the silences between them... Looking directly at the heart of the music would be like looking at the sun"
Chris Long, Monday 21st February 2022
From 'The Beauty of Gesture':