Thursday, November 26, 2009

2 Brünish somethings

2 related somethings written by Herbert Brün that I want to keep around.

First, from th program notes of his String Quartet No. 3:

If played and heard often enough, every musical gesture is prone to be interpreted, by musicians and listeners, as a gesture of musical speech. As the gesture becomes familiar, and thus recognized by society, the composed structure, in which the context generates the meaning of its components, will be misunderstood, instead, as one in which the components give meaning to their context.

In order to retard this development, this visitation of communicative familiarity, for as long as possible, I have attempted, in several of my compositions, to anticipate the gesture-forming tendencies within the composed structure and to reduce each of them ad absurdum by way of a non sequitur. I wanted, thereby, to rob trivial perception and partial recognition of the paralyzing effect that all too commonly is mistaken for understanding of music.

Th second, from My Words And Where I Want Them, #247:

Composition generates whole systems so that there be a context which can endow trivial 'items' and meaningless 'materials' with a sense and a meaning never before associated with either items or materials.

Be it linguistic art, where the sentence injects meaningful intent into mere lexicographic vocables, thus turning these into words-

be it visual art, where the configuration injects meaningful intent into mere perceptible data, thus turning these into spaces, shapes, movements and colorpatterns-

be it audible art, where the structuring of time and distance injects meaningful intent into mere acoustical phenomena, thus turning these into musical events-

sooner or later both the profiteering interpreters and the consuming audience will perversely deny the composers' competence and, instead, declare the sentence to be meant by its words, the painting to be meant by its components, and the music to be meant by its sounds.

In order to retard this unfortunate and inevitable decay (too many humans are indistinguishable from laws of nature) for as long as possible, I have contrived to inhibit such gesture forming tendencies in most of my compositions by using many a non sequitur as a structural leap over new gaps avoiding old bridges.

The intent is motivated by my non-malicious desire to keep not only my music as alienated as possible from 'business as usual' and to have not only my composition say something to the interpreter and the listener for the longer time than it may take them to just repeat their habitual commonplaces to themselves.

The survival of composition depends on the composer's art: anticommunication.

1 comment:

Yahya said...

Novelty disappears with the familiarity occasioned by passing time. The conundrum Brün leaves us in is this: How can we make something ever-new?

Perhaps we can merely set performance possibilities, à la Cage, to be selected "aleatorically" i.e. by a chance or random process. Still, this won't suffice to create ever-new realisations of the underlying possibilities; in some sense, all such realisations are "the same".

The only way to ensure "constant novelty" (!) is to allow NO boundaries on the possibilties that may be realised, neither of form, of content, or even of aesthetic or ethical implication.

Such a constantly new piece of art is truly unique, and is likely to use means or create outcomes we feel to be inapt, ugly, wrong or even evil as they are to be right, apt, beautiful or good.

Such a unique work transcends the usual categories, and leaves criticism nothing constructive to say.