In my model, important interference phenomena arise when individual strata come into contact. These chaotic fluctuations are, I suppose, what my music is really about.
The Western musical canon came about not merely by accumulation, but by opposition and subversion, both to the ruling powers on whom composers depended for their livelihoods and to other musics.
When I speak of "cycles," I am referring to lengthy intervals of relative homogeneity, if not in the resolving of problems, than at least with respect to the consistency of their capacity to productively irritate.
Questioning the nature and implications of liminal instances necessarily involves failure, if only in the specifically technical sense of entering spaces where prevailing criteria of success scarcely apply.
I don't like listening to my music, not even new pieces. Generally, they sound pretty much like I expected them to sound, so it's what I wanted, and that's it.
Sometimes one can be so closely involved with things that the larger context is lost to view.
If nothing is at risk, nothing is established.
If the work of art is to continue pursuing the vision of both being in and of the world but nevertheless in some fashion being more than just one more object to the mounting clutter, this is the specific point, I think, where this must be assured.
When I left Europe in 1987 I did so with the thought that my relevance as a composition teacher would benefit from a certain cool distance to certain tendencies I had been observing for several years with increasing disquiet.
In any case, the fewer boundaries that exist hindering free movement between all forms of articulate human cognition, the better.
I would not say that I was, these days, a 'student' of philosophy, although in my youth I was quite deeply involved with certain aspects of the British pragmatists.
There would seem to be a limit, even for an art preoccupied with boundaries and transgressions, beyond which a work reaches its breaking point and becomes an actual failure, a mere experimentation.
The idea of 'machine assemblage' is, especially, very alien to my sensibility, since it suggests a relative indifference of the strata to one another during the process of construction.
So: we're all tired. Now what? Manuscripts written in Club Med?
This was possible only by dint of extended periods of frequently quite painful reflection and digestion.
It is still true that it is easier to compose a poem in the form of a manual for adjusting a VCR than it is to write a piece using just tuning as a symphony.
In my own recent String Trio I attempt to superimpose two quite different sets of formal strategies, both of which, ultimately, refer back to historical precedent.
I dont see lines of force as being destructive, except to the extent that they are exclusively traceable through observance of the path of distorted material left in their wake.
What makes a specific quality or quantity of innovation retain its intense newness over the years?
Actually, most things I say in public lead more or less directly to my own compositional practice, so I should be careful about generalizing lest they come back to haunt me.
Naturally enough, I couldn't have foreseen the vast sea change which has come upon that scene as a result of German reunification and associated events.
As a necessary prerequisite to the creation of new forms of expression one might, I suppose, argue that current sensibilities respond uniquely to the notion of exhaustion as exhaustion, although that does de facto seem rather limiting.
By reason of weird translation, many such sets of instructions read like poems anyhow.
I frequently compose out the entire metric structure of a piece in modified cyclic form, where each cyclic revolution undergoes some form of 'variation' much as if measure lengths were concrete musical 'material.'
The past nine years in San Diego have represented such a period of questioning.
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