Essa brilhante palestra é a introdução para a peça Pithoprakta, de Iannis Xenakis, faixa 04, disco 09 da famosa série da New York Philharmonic, originalmente transmitida pela TV americana, também disponível em DVD. Uma espécie de "concertos para a juventude", o maestro minuciosamente discursa sobre os diferentes estilos e compositores e nuances das obras musicais, numa atitude encorajadora à apreciação e desveladora do fazer musical. Não estou tão certo em relação aos outros volumes, mas esse sobre música contemporânea me chamou atenção nos meus estudos para o SISPEM, onde devo apresentar algo em relação ao tema aqui proposto (aguardem novos posts on the matter). A acuidade das informações e insights instigantes sobre música contemporânea me levaram a transcrever o texto e disponibilizar por aqui. O inglês é razoavelmente claro e livre de termos técnicos, o que facilita bastante. Boa viagem....
Ps: Mesmo com ouvido atento, algumas palavras me escaparam do entendimento. Peço perdão antecipadamente por eventuais escorregões na língua bretã. Cheers!
My dear friends, it is not my costume to speak at these concerts except occasionally on the Thursday evening, but we are embarking on a series of such unusual interest and perhaps complexity that I feel a few words may be in order. During these next six weeks we should be examining music of our time, and in a sense, music of the future – in the sense of whatever clues we can find in this music that point the new directions music is taking. Now that music has a future, and nobody will deny, but the nature of it is a question perhaps more crucial now than at any time in the history of music.
These days, changers and fads come and go with such startling rapidity that we can hardly follow them. There are even those who claim that half the avant-garde music we should be playing these next weeks is already old-fashioned. We live in a time of anxious confusion. _____ are easily perpetrated – everybody and nobody seems to be an authority on the subject. Serialism and electronics are jostling each other for first place in the race and 'chance' or 'random' music and jazz improvisation try to make a peaceful coexistence: often fail, often try again... Some new music has reached the mathematical complexity that staggers the mind, whereas other new music has reverted to a semi-idiotic simplicity where two notes, spaced a minute apart can constitute a sonata. Or, for that matter, even to new dada notion of no notes at all, or in some extreme cases, the notion of dropping a hairing down into a tuba and calling it a 'musical happening' or 'moment' or 'event' or conceivably a sonata for hairing and tuba.
In all this mess of truth and falsehood, of sincere striving and ambitious _________, there must be some constance, some invariables, and in fact some music of importance or charm or even of beauty. And believing this we've scheduled these series of works, which are the best and most representative examples we could find of what is now going on. Obviously we couldn't make a complete survey, specially within the limitations of a subscription series, but I myself am amazed that we can survey even as much as we've planned, there are a few really unfortunate(?) missing. Stockhausen, for example, anyone of whose few orchestral works, there are very few, would require more weeks of preparation than our symphonic society has at its disposal. Another conspicuous absence is that of Gunther Schuller, who represents the third stream of combining jazz and serious elements, so called serious elements... I deeply regret that absence. But we can do only so much, and even to this much the gentlemen of the orchestra are already extending themselves as far beyond the call of duty, and I think they deserve our biding gratitude.
Throughout this survey, you'll find one thing that all the new pieces have in common: and that is that not one of them is tonal in the old beethovenian sense of key, and even in the more liberal sense of Hindemith's or Bartók's tonality. Something seems to have changed qualitatively in music, it's not just a quantitative change like music becoming more dissonant or less tonal. It is a completely qualitatively change, the root of which is the total demise of tonality. Of course there are some reactionary composers still hanging around who cling arduously to the old beloved F Majors and modulatory harmonies, but they are not considered as part of the future by the avant-garde. Who actually does belong to the future is a question we can perhaps answer better six weeks from now, after we have visited some of the far out planets.
I feel also that something else even more basic has changed in music of our time and in all art of our time as well. And that began to happen on that day in August 1945 when a bomb fell on Hiroshima. Since that atomic moment, we've been forced to accept finally, reluctantly, hundreds of years late, the truth of the Copernican revolution, which tells us that man is no longer the center of the universe or of the infinity; the stars are not up above us; the sun is not in the east or in the west; there isn't any up or east or west... there is space, and somewhere in space there is a spec we call Earth along with the innumerable other specs and this spec is inhabited by what we call 'life', and that life is capable of creating new life. That's not an easy revolution to accept, proof of which is that it's taken us so long... now this is no moment to go into the matter physics of this revolution, it's enough to say that we have begun to perceive it in our time and the results in the arts are extraordinary. The main change seems to be that man's ego is no longer the inner motor of a work of art the way it used to be. The hero artist no longer exists. The Beethoven, the Wagner, the Berlioz... that romantic notion of the hero as artist. And modern art these days seems to be a collection of empty novels, non-poems, unpictures, and no-plays (I don't mean the Japanese noplays), and these works are so-described by their creators not just by antipathetic critics. Whether this is good or bad is not for me to say, or for anyone to say yet, although the miles of print on the subject extend from here to Mars, but in all this discussion, pro and con, one thing is clear that the modern artist is at least temporarily in the process of abdicating his personal will, his ego, his personality, and in some way he has begun to relate to space rather than to his fellow man.
Other two pieces we are going to hear now are clear examples of this. Of course, since they were not written five minutes ago they may already be _____ and not indicative at all of what is really new. The Xenakis piece, for example, was written way back in 1956, which makes it practically pre-historic, for the avant-garde point of view. And Ligeti who wrote his strangely beautiful Atmosphere in 1961, a bear two years ago is now, I'm told, engaged in writing a work for mast metronomes. As you see it's, in all seriousness, it's very hard to keep up with the times, but I am sure as anyone candid these days that these two works we're about to hear are central to our times and relevant to the revolution that is taking place in the arts. It's all too easy to laugh off this revolution as a passing fancy or ambitious nonsense. In truth it may be ambitious nonsense, but I rather doubt it. In any case, we have the obligation to find out and I hope you'll all have the curiosity and adventurousness to come along with us in our search in all seriousness and good faith.