Posts Tagged ‘mozart’

(2013)

  • Instrumentation: 1201, 2000, kybrd, 55331, electronics + video
  • Duration: 14’00
  • Performers:Group of Twenty-Seven Orchestra, cond. Eric Paetkau, soloist Gregory Oh
  • Commissioned by the Group of Twenty-Seven Orchestra

Program Notes

Video and recording available by request

Much of the concert experience is visual, even though we come “to hear the music”. The athleticism of performance, the split-second coordination required to make a piece of music come together, the thrill of seeing a group of individuals working together to create sound—all of these elements are vitally important to a successful live performance.

Concerto for Mozart Piano Videos pushes this relationship to the front of our attention, because the visual element of the “solo piano” part is borrowed from other performances. The keyboard soloist in the piece plays a sampler that controls 88 audiovisual clips, and each of these clips is of another pianist performing Mozart. The result is a visual collage: although you are seeing and hearing a new piece in a new performance, part of what you are seeing and hearing is also an old piece in an old performance.

This trompe-l’oeil aside, Concerto for Mozart Piano Videos functions like a piano concerto in the traditional sense. A soloist is supported by an orchestra, the only difference being that the pianos you are seeing and hearing were played on other concerts with different pieces of music.

Trinity-St.-Paul's Centre
427 Bloor St. West Toronto, Canada
Tickets available from Brown Paper Tickets

Toronto’s Group of Twenty-seven Chamber Orchestra is premiering my new “piano concerto’ for orchestra and audiovisual projections of pianists playing Mozart, triggered in real time. From the program note:

Much of the concert experience is visual, even though we come “to hear the music”… Concerto for Mozart Piano Videos pushes this relationship to the front of our attention, because the visual element of the “solo piano” part is borrowed from other performances. Keyboard soloist Gregory Oh plays a sampler that controls 88 audiovisual clips, and each of these clips is of another pianist performing Mozart. The result is a visual collage: although you are seeing and hearing a new piece in a new performance, part of what you are seeing and hearing is also an old piece in an old performance.

Young Entrepreneurs Forum 2012, CC by US Embassy, on Flickr

We live at a time that prizes entrepreneurship above all else, and this is bad for art. Not that entrepreneurs are out to destroy the arts, it’s just that artistic and business innovation are fundamentally antagonistic. Yes, entrepreneurs have unquestionably created value for the arts, but the actual business is always one step removed from the actual art. At best, entrepreneurship provides stuff for artists to sell and then gets the hell out of the way. At worst, entrepreneurship turns art and artists into disposable commodities.

Unfortunately, our societal love affair with entrepreneurship has confused this relationship. Suddenly all artists are expected to be business innovators, as if coming up with a marketing plan were the self-evident first step in the artistic process. (more…)

Recently I read both Goethe’s and Marlowe’s Faust plays–the Faust legend has been a major influence on many generations of composers and authors. I found them exceedingly dull, except that the Marlowe made me think about changing English syntax in relation to the other germanic languages. And in the case of Goethe, I was curious about the psychology that would lead someone to torment over this story for one’s entire career.

What they made me realize though, is that ideas of the value and endurance of art are tied to our world views. (more…)

This is an issue I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Can we actually justify saying one kind of music is better than any other, or that one piece is better than another? (more…)