Thursday, June 26, 2008
On p. 478
"Steve Reich remembers attending composition classes where students showed off byzantine scores whose intellectual underpinnings could be discussed ad nauseam. Then he'd go to see Coltrane play with his quartet. he liked the idea that Coltrane could walk out with a saxophone, play freewheeling improvisations on just one or two harmonies, and then disappear into the night. 'The music just comes out,' Reich later said. 'There's no argument. There it is.'"
And here it is: the reason I'm utterly, spectacularly, gob-smackingly unsuited to be a practitioner of historical performance. Historical performance practitioners (can I call us HIPsters? Please? We're just as whiny and self-conscious) take pleasure in engaging intellectually with music. They enjoy detail, debate, and the close musical read. I, on the other hand, get enough detail, debate, and analysis just staring at the wall. For me, music is most galvanizing when it bypasses thought. I crave the feeling of synthesis -of wordlessness, really- that occurs when your instincts take over and the rest of you shuts up. There's no argument. It just comes out.
(The only other thing that gives me a comparable frisson of voicelessness is step aerobics, but I have a feeling that's where Reich takes a hike.)
(Unless he wants to take a class with me. What do you say, Steve? I'm HIP. Also bouncy.)