Tag Archives: ECM

Sound vs music

Dupa mai bine de un an, iata un nou post ECM-istic.

Gary Giddins*: …and the Sound?

Manfred Eicher**: Never forget that the Sound is not music. Music is using sound in organizing emotions in time. Music has no location.

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* Un american care nu intelege cum naiba un label ca ECM a putut avea succesul pe care (inca) il are fara sa fie in stare sa faca smart commercial decisions. “Incredible luck,” altfel nu se explica.

** Adevarul e ca aici nu pot fi de acord cu Maestrul. Pentru mine, sunetul vine pe primul loc. Cand ascult Bach & whatever, ascult sunetul descoperit de Bach…

P.S. Eicher l-a descoperit pe Arvo Pärt ascultand Radio Erevan. Hehe.

ECMania: Silentium est aureum

Un festival care va avea loc la Tallinn intre 11-13 februarie. Sub titlul Perfect Silence, la festival vor fi prezenti nu doar muzicieni de calibru – Vassilis Tsabropoulos, Norma Winstone… – ci si fondatorul minunatului label ECM, Manfred Eicher care, dupa prezentarea filmului Sounds and Silence va participa la un workshop dedicat ECM-ului si sunetului propus de acesta.

ECMania: Pérotin

[ECM New Series 1385]

Pérotin (sec. XII-XIII) a facut parte din École de Notre-Dame, care a influentat prin reprezentantii sai (multi ramasi necunoscuti) tot ce se putea influenta la nivel muzical, social, spiritual si filosofic la acea ora in Europa. Insa nu despre aceasta scoala in particular as dori sa scriu, ci despre relatia dintre polifonia liturgica, printre ai carei fondatori se afla si Pérotin, si ratiunea umana.

In articolul lui Catherine Oickstock, dedicat muzicii, din volumul Radical Orthodoxy, se afla un fragmentel foarte interesant referitor la relatia abia mentionata. Legatura dintre De Muzica a lui Augustin, Scotus Eriugena si Magister Leoninus – predecesorul lui Pérotin – devine evidenta:

N.B. Click pe imagine.

In 2005 Anna Maria Berger publica o carte numita Medieval music and the art of memory. Pérotin este mentionat de mai multe ori in volumul amintit, in relatie cu École de Notre-Dame:

Additional support for my hypothesis that much of the Notre Dame repertory was sung from memory, comes from the philosophical writings of the period. For Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus trained memory becomes part of prudence, a moral necessity. Support for my hypothesis that much of the Notre Dame repertoire was transmitted orally can also be found in Craig Wright’s recent book Music and Ceremony at Notre Dame, 500-1500.

The written page would just function as a mnemonic aid for recalling both the general outline and details. In this case it is 297 not necessarily relevant whether the performers imagined the written page or actually saw it. If they had memorized the piece once with the help of the written page, they would always use it as a mnemonic device when singing by heart. In fact, the original notation brings out the modal patterns and the division into ordines in a much more convincing way than modern notation. With or without the page, the singers would categorize the piece with respect to modal patterns and ordines.

In trying to establish how oral transmission of a repertoire as complex as Notre Dame polyphony could have been achieved, I have found that modal theory shares a number of characteristics with mnemotechnics. We have seen that modal rhythm and didactic quantitative poetry rely on the same method for memorizing the material: repetitive patterns of longae and breves. The use of divisio is another trait which made its way from ars memorativa treatises to Notre Dame polyphony. Writing was necessary to preserve the repertory, to make it available in distant places, and to help the memory in the process of performance. And yet, modal notation was so ambiguous that it could do no more than trigger the memory of how the piece was supposed to be performed.

Veni creator spiritus:

Beata viscera:

ECMania: Eleni Karaindrou

…si spunea:

A few notes, a dance by the river,

A passing touch, a separation.

Hunted lives

And a century disappearing,

Covering poets’ dreams

With dust.

Asa cum puteti vedea mai jos, Eleni nu a publicat foarte multe albume la ECM. Dintre ele, marea majoritate reprezinta coloane sonore la superbele filme ale lui Theo Angelopoulos, intre solisti aflandu-se si cel putin doi romani: Maria Bildea (harfa) si Sergiu Nastasa (vioara). Daca ar fi sa-mi restrang, dureros, preferintele la doar doua compozitii ale minunatei femei, as alege Ulysse’s gaze si Trojan Women.

…si din nou rostea:

There is something beyond research and analysis, beyond the accumulation of knowledge and information, something beyond the understanding of a poetic text. And this element cannot be explained, it can only be illuminated.

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Music for films [ECM 1429]: Part. I + Part. II + Part. III

The suspended step of the stork [ECM 1456]: Part. I + Part. II

Ulysse’s gaze [ECM New Series 1570]: Part. I + Part. II + Part. III

Eternity and a day [ECM New Series 1692]: Part. I + Part. II

Trojan Women [ECM New Series 1810]: Part. I + Part. II + Part. III

The weeping meadow [ECM New Series 1885]: Part. I + Part. II

Elegy of the uprooting [ECM New Series 1952/53]: Part. I + Part. II + Part. III + Part. IV

Dust of time [ECM New Series 2070]: Part. I + Part. II

B-A-C-H

Dedicat, umil, lui Wolfgang Graeser.

[ECM New Series 1652]

Poate ca multi vor stramba din nas vazand ca acest prim episod din ECMania nu incepe cu nu stiu ce jazz-man faimos de prin Scandinavia. Asta este.

Despre Die Kunst der Fuge si istoria sa… Compozitorul nu a mai reusit sa specifice pentru ce instrumente a scris aceasta compozitie asa ca veti putea gasi, pe langa cea propusa de ECM – quartet de coarde – si interpretari la orga, pian, clavecin etc. In plus, nu exista indicatii pentru tempo, ceea ce lasa cumva la discretia interpretilor alegerea acestuia.

“Secretele” din spatele acestei capodopere nu se opresc aici. Citeam intr-un articol dedicat acestei compozitii:

D’innombrables discussions ont surgi quant a savoir si le titre de l’oeuvre provenait bien de Bach. Si l’on s’en refere a la these (en general admise depuis les travaux du Pr. Smend) selon laquelle Bach utilisait, pour signer ses oeuvres, des procedes de “Gematria” (traduction des lettres de l’alphabet latin par des chiffres), on sera etonne de la coincidence suivante: en avant du ms. P 200 figure la mention, non pas “Die Kunst der Fuge” mais “Die Kunst der Fuga” Or la valeur numerique de ce titre egale 158, le chiffre de Johann Sebastian Bach…

Cred ca piesa mea preferata este Contrapunctus 9 a 4 alla duodecima. Iar violoncelul din Canon per augmentationem in contrario motu este de neuitat.

Mai puteti asculta si Contrapunctus 14, pentru finalul sau. Parca J.S. Bach si-a dat efectiv sufletul in momentul acela, nemaireusind sa scrie ultimele (?) note. Sau poate ca nici nu era vorba, pana la urma, de un final, ci de un nou si etern inceput.

Nu se cade sa incheiem aceasta “prezentare” fara a-l aminti pe marele Wolfgang Graeser, cel care a fost intreaga-i scurta viata obsedat de simetria perfecta a acestei compozitii. Mort la doar 22 de ani, Graeser este cel care a redescoperit Arta fugii:

He was among the first to recognise it as a major, unified work of art rather than merely an academic tour-de-force. In 1927 this led to its first public performance in its entirety, from Graeser’s realisation, 177 years after it appeared. The performance, by players from the Leipzig Gewandhaus, took place, fittingly, in Bach’s own church in Leipzig, under the direction of Karl Straube, the then holder of Bach’s post of Thomaskantor. What is less well known is the many-sidedness of Graeser’s genius and the conflicting influences brought to bear on it, which led to his suicide less than a year after that triumphant performance.

  • Stephen Tunnicliffe, Wolfgang Graeser (1906-28): A Forgotten Genius, in The Musical Times, Vol. 141, No. 1870 (Spring, 2000), pp. 42-44.