As I’m preparing for tonight’s concert of A Short Ride in a Fast Machine, I thought it’d be good to remind you all that there’s still time to enter my website launch competitio. The deadline is tomorrow at 8pm, so get yourself in the draw!
A harrowing performance of Frederic Rzewski’s wild yet economical Les Mountons de Panurge. The score presents performers—any number of trained as well as untrained musicians—with a sixty-five-note numbered melodic line, which they are instructed to execute in a simple increasing algorithm (1, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, and so on) at an accelerating piece. These strict parameters might lend the piece the character of an etude or exercise, but as the music unfolds, more voices enter, and the boundaries of the original phrase become frayed and inscrutable, any technical sterility or dryness evaporates. What emerges instead is a Philip Glass-esque quality of hypnosis and fascination, a listening experience akin to being immersed in a river: it’s impossible to take stock of everything, but small glimpses and discrete perceptions rise to the surface as you’re swept along.