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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000651.txt from 1999/01

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: Unaccompanied solo works
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 19:48:08 -0500

On Thu, 14 Jan 1999 14:13:15 -0500, said:

> > Lots of interesting information in this thread. I have to say,
> > though, that I'm surprised that Noah doesn't like playing the
> > Stravinsky, and I want to know more about that. Would you be
> > willing to be more explicit, Noah? I sort of feel I'd like to help
> > you like it more.


> My general impression of the Stravinsky is that it lacks solid
> ground - now, this may be a direct result of the fact that it's
> unaccompanied, as it's one of the first unaccompanied pieces I've
> worked on.


> When I play Weber, I hear the orchestra (even though I've never
> performed Weber with an orchestra) ... when I play Stravinsky, I feel
> like I'm playing somebody else's jazz improv solo, transcribed, and in
> an awkward key, without the rhythm section.

Yes, I understand this. And I think you're right, it does lack solid
ground. So perhaps we need to give up the very notion of grounding,
actual or implied, in this sort of music. You *might* get to like some
of the results of that:-)

Just taking the first piece: though there are little harmonic islands of
note-patterns, the seemingly most important and stable islands
eventually get disrupted by 'strange' notes that then seem to club
together and form competing islands. This is unlike music with
conventional harmonic structure, even though there are fleeting harmonic
suggestions, sometimes through the grace-notes, and modal bits. (At one
point, a few grace notes seem to spin round a stationary island in a
little dance of their own.)

I find it useful sometimes, in this piece and in others, to think that
the entities that group into the notated phrases are mostly intervals
rather than isolated notes. In fact, the first piece is mostly built
out of quarter notes, two-eighth groups (intervals) and three-eighth
groups (sometimes intervals, sometimes 'triads'), and you can think of
it as musing in a dreamy, improvisatory way on the various possible
relationships between the building blocks.

The different forms of these relationships can be hinted at without ever
crossing the line into disobeying Stravinsky's metric and dynamic
instructions, or breaking the tranquillo. Tone colour can make the 2+3
and 3+2 explicit; sometimes Stravinsky tells you which way he wants it,
and at other times leaves it to you to decide.

He said the pieces were 'snapshots' of improvisations. This one always
seemed to me to be one we do just for ourselves, with our eyes closed --
like imagining different ways to put a sort of musical mobile together
in our mind's eye, or our mind's ear.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

"Believing Truth is staring at the sun
Which but destroys the power that could perceive."

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