Music for Backyards
In his biography of Harry Partch, Bob Gilmore writes that the composer's "reconciliation process involved an acceptance of his own essentially childlike perception of the interconnectedness of music and other art forms and, more profoundly, of the fusion of art-making activity with everyday life. What was 'artificial' about music education, he contended, was its insistence on the need to unlearn this perception and to undergo a training in which extramusical impurities must be extracted, one by one, leaving only a central body of abstract musical relationships."
Ben was present for the informal recording session of my violin/viola duets back in May. Afterwards he commented that he enjoyed the music, but wasn't sure he had any interest in hearing it in a concert hall. I enthusiastically agreed. He went on to suggest a better listening experience for this music might take place, say, mid-party in a backyard.
I'm a card-carrying fan of music for backyards and porches, of course. But isn't that an interesting idea, that some notated, "classical" music might be better heard, more clearly understood, if it were conveyed in a specific place or atmosphere?--the corollary being that, with no strictly musical changes, the piece might be less successful in another venue?
It's increasingly obvious to me that our music's moral content is not divorced from, but is in fact heavily reliant on the circumstances of its dissemination. Musicians have as many creative parameters to work with in this area as they do in the field of, for example, pitch relationships. To ignore the question is to arbitrarily and detrimentally lop off a significant portion of the experience.
Anyway, I don't have a backyard, nor a house violinist and violist -- so for now, the recordings will have to do. Pop on your headphones and find a hammock someplace.
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