Monday, November 4, 2013

Singularity Needs Company

Continuing my thoughts on Ursula Mamlok: She affirms again and again that she is mindful of the audience when she composes.  What a fascinating thing to ponder in the light of the difficulty of some of her music.

It is through her solid base in the sensuality of sound that she succeeds in arousing extraordinary attentiveness from musicians which, in turn, communicates directly to the audience.  It is the most direct form of communication, not dependent on any learned responses but "simply" from the gut.

Perhaps that is why she describes composition as being such a battle for her.  It is as if with every note she must struggle against the temptation to conform to some pre-existing formula for juxtaposing sounds.

I as a musician empathize with that struggle.  Am I a pianist? Yes, but only in a special sense, not according to the going stereotypes of playing the piano.  I am not a piano player.

In the film about Ursula (Movements, by Anne Berrini) there is a brief clip of her seated alongside me as I play a snippet of Beethoven's Variations on Rule Brittania.  There she is, listening, respecting fully that I play as I play, not as a cliched interpreter but as the musician that I truly am irrespective of fashions and conformities--very much like her, in fact; decidedly informed by her, and in the warmth of our friendship.