What would happen to your life if you gave up thinking about time as linear? More so, what does it mean for you as a composer/musician, uniquely aware and bound by linear time, to release that conception?
During Bang on a Can All-Star and Banglewood faculty member Vicki Ray’s 4:30 recital she prompted us with an interesting quote from composer Somei Satoh. Satoh wanted to encourage listeners of his piece “Incarnation II (1978)” to “give up their preconceptions of time.” Vicki’s Buddhism-inspired line-up of pieces today was a beautiful suspended look into non-linear time. Her performance of Cage’s 1943-44 piece “The Perilous Night” was as fresh as though it were written only a few years ago. It is obvious that Vicki is in full conversation with the music while she plays – from a nod or toss of her head to a subtle eyebrow raise – she is in communion with the moment. Which perhaps lends itself even more to the Buddhist inspiration she sought.
The 1:30 concert featured new pieces by BoaC Fellow composers: Fjola Evans (“Muninn”), Mike Perdue, and Matt Horsley (“Doxology”). Horsley humorously hoped that his piece was a tribute to Takemitsu.
We finished our evening at the wonderful MASS MoCA Chalet reveling in Mantra Percussion’s performance of Michael Gordon’s “Timber.” Clocking-in at somewhere near the hour mark, the ensemble deftly captivated the audience with their absolute synchronization, subtlety, and range all while playing amplified 2×4’s.
While working on all the complex an innovative music we have at BoaC, the musicians here are constantly hovering near a metronome or counting out a tricky phrase or hawk-eyeing a conductor during particularly thorny rhythms. We are so bound the quarter note at 120, the 115 minutes we spend in a rehearsal session, or the twenty days that we are here that it is nearly impossible to conceive of time as being non-linear. However, it is the art, the music-making, that reminds us that we may make “world enough, and time.” For, my dears, “though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run.”