Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 'New' Music

Just listening again to some of the tracks from the Resound series that are available for downloading via the Concert programme.   The composers include Jack Body and Jack Spiers, Eve de Castro Robinson, Ross Harris, and others.

It's an interesting thing - to my mind - that there's a kind of uniformity of expression amongst many of these composers: the extreme angularity of vocal lines, for instance; anything that smacks of melody has to avoided at all costs.  The setting of words that never highlights them but merely uses them as sounds.  The dissonant chords that waft in and out in a random fashion.  The fiddly bits on wind and brass instruments that don't seem to connect with the rest of the piece: flutes fluttering without focus, trumpets butting in with little edgy moments.   Long sustained chords that go nowhere.  Instruments used for a few bars and then forgotten.   Rhythmless movement. 

And at the end, an audience that isn't really sure that the piece is finished. 

What surprises me is that there's so little parody of this kind of music - or perhaps the music is already a parody of itself?

To be fair, some of the music I've downloaded off this site, even where it's off the wall, is actually music, in that it knows where it's going, enjoys setting words, uses electronic elements intelligently (and musically), and has rhythm.  Father's telescope, by Kit Powell, with its surreal text, is a lot of fun, for instance.  Nelson Wattie is the baritone stretching up to notes that seem curiously out of reach, and Barry Empson is the 'actor', speaking lines in and out of the music.  
Post a Comment