Thursday, May 30, 2013

As If for the Last Time

In a special informal performance the other day I felt viscerally the difference between treating musical elements as givens (same-old, same-old) and as miracles (you cannot imagine how beautiful the descending B-flat major scale is on the piano). 

Imagine how playing would be transformed if the assumption were not that you have already heard what I am about to play but rather that you have no idea how marvelous this is going to be.

I extend that way of thinking down to the level of the single notes themselves, especially at the beginning of a composition: the first sounds engender everything that follows.