Sunday, 10 July 2011

Alchemy - The Final Score: First Rehearsal

I've heard the piece played back by my laptop, but hearing a composition live for the first time is a unique experience. The effect that it has is unpredictable, despite familiarity with the score. There is, therefore, an element of chance about it all and that I do not fear. What arises depends on the written notes, but that is only a start. Who turns up to a rehearsal and how they play the music, not knowing themselves what to expect, makes the potent magic potion. In addition, I simply do want this element of chance and the coincidence of circumstances to inform the outcome.

Including rhythmic impro. and unpredictable gaps of silence could create a sort of hothouse, encouraging growth. That's alchemy. It's all to do with process. The end result will be success or failure or something inbetween, but, hey, who cares, it's the process that's the driving force and the way the contributing musicians interact that makes it live.  The conclusion is completely secondary to the amazing process that leads up to it.

That said - good rehearsal. I'm sorry I didn't have time to concentrate more on the overall soundscape, the electric violins were simply plugged in and away they went. Next time, I'll work on that. What did work straight away was the bass guitar and the percussion. I didn't know that this combination in this context would work so well.  The meditative percussion, bowls, gongs, etc., were clearly right so we didn't spend any time getting them to blend in. That's for next time, too. I'll need to take the string quartet off on its own at some point and do some work to make their rhythmic complications nice and tight. Excellent start, though. Ross's suggestion for a visual element rang true and if by any chance anyone reads some of the background it'll be clear his idea resonates in complete sync. I think of this music not only as a performance piece but as sound sculpture lending itself to including the concrete arts. Anyone like to paint a big alchemical picture?

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