Commission Music

Commission Music
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Sunday, 9 May 2004

temptest in a teapot

Ok, so a couple of weeks ago there was a student-organized composer's concert. I had a piece in the firts one of these. The first concert was a small test run with only a few composers willing to try something new, meaning that, on the whole, it was a lot better than the second one. I don't likie to post negative reviews, so I usually don't, but the second concert had a high level of suckage. Most of the pieces by undergrads. Many had a tendency to go on way too long. At least twice as long as they should. Hello, we have compositon faculty who would love to help you edit (read: shorten and modify) your work. Also, it would be really helpful to consider such elements as a structure. And having at least one rehersal might be a good idea. And the reason I don't say these things is because I know the composers of these works and I don't want to hurt their feelings. And they're students. Student works are supposed to be exploratory and not necessarily materpieces. One unrehearsed piece that went on far too long was written by a very talented young composer. The piece had good elements in it that I hope are developed more in future pieces. I look forward to seeing the composer mature and find a voice. Great things ahead. Part of being a community means going to concerts full of works that are not going to be fabulous so you can see what your comrades are working on. It means, obviously, not critizing the hell out of something, unless you're making a specific helpful point. And really, unless you're good friends, a TA or a prof, you might want to hold off on making these points. I mean, if you gave a concert and your piece had a great ending point 5 minutes before the actual end and you missed five notes at the beginning, would you want every signle member of the sudience to tell you "great piece, but . . .." So as a community, we support each other. We go to each other's concerts. We offer criticisms when it's appropriate or when we are asked for feedback. We offer encouragement.

I played in the second composer's concert in the opening piece by my housemate. It was an unsual piece in which all the players dropped marbles in unison down clear plastic pipes, which fell to the concert hall stage floor. the parts indicated how long players should wait until picking up the marble. The interesting thing about the piece, more than the sounds of marbles hitting the floor in-semi unison, was the theatrical aspect of watching people pick up marbles at different times. The parts were distributed at random. The timing markers in the piece were non exact. So what looked to me like count 4 & 1/2, might have been 3 or 4 or 5 to somebody else. And there were a bunch of lines in the score. So on count 2, for example, a cluster of people on the right might grab their marbles. Then, the next time, on count 5, some folks in the corners, might bend down. An interesting idea. I can't critique it too much, cuz i was in it, not watching it.

another person who failed to watch this theatre piece, apparently felt like he should not only offer criticism, but write a letter to the newspaper ciriticising all wes composers and the audience for clapping. Hey kid: you're wrong. You missed the piece, you missed the point and you don't understand community. And what the hell with invoking Hilter?? Um, I know that The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is not required reading or anything, but as a rule, and in that specific case, right wing governments are also against new art. Wrong analogy. Wrong side of wrong analogy. I hope nobody takes this kid too seriously on this article and some teacher or good friend or TA gives him some criticism on how to better formulate his ideas.

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