Equivalence of Music and Dance

February 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Music and Dance are are not only highly related to each other but profoundly the same art form. This understanding has leaped at me many times and from a variety of angles.

Music and Dance, the only two truly non-representational art forms, with their ideas projected through sound and movement over the landscape of time, both provide the shortest, most sincere and thus least distorted tunnel between the artist’s imagination and the listener’s imagination.

With all forms of art the work is an expression, affirmation and reinforcement of an aesthetic (a mixture of conscious decisions and subconscious inclinations) yet the object of art can be observed (or listened to) by one million other minds.

But dance and music are interpreted by a performer. Thus the artist creates not only for an audience but for the interpreter. Some works (for example in the Baroque period) were not even intended to be performed to an audience and the sole purpose was for the music to be studied and played. The number of performers of both art forms are less numerous than the member of the audience but also spend much more time with the art and may experience an intenser enlightenment from the work.

If I had to decide whether I have observed more joy accumulated throughout all the people in audiences and all performing the works (of either Dance or Music) it would not be clear whether the audience or performers in aggregate received more from the art.

The aesthetic variety across different works of music makes it more difficult to compare one type of music to another than to compare music and dance of the same aesthetic disposition. For each work of music and dance you can find a one-to-one correspondence between the two and, if this is studied and believed, it is itself is enough to define the two art forms as one.

Paying attention to all components of dance and music other than technique I consider dance and music to be not similar but equivalent to each other. Two list the remaining equivalent components is almost without end but includes notions within the creation of the art (composition or choreography) and the various steps in its conception (this can be itself be expanded into further equivalences of great number); the interpretation by the performer; subjects of performers working in ensemble and their communication and effect as whole; the requirement for technique in performance and how this clarifies communication of ideas; the neurological processes of the performer during execution of the work being very similar; tasks of technical training and performance preparation being much the same, only emphasizing different parts of the body; the act of performing and all associated topics (to take one, the individuality of the performer and observation of the audience upon both the performer and the art behind it); the subject of improvisation in which the performer combines techniques previously mastered and uses the imagination to join them together to produce a new choreography/composition; the mental processes involved with keeping track of the fixed-meter rhythm and ability to apply syncopation with conviction as necessary for the effective performance; and I could not end until these two art forms are described quite fully and it could become impossible to decide which of the two, music and dance, are being discussed – for they are the same.

Carnegie Hall Concert Notes

February 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Carnegie Hall Concert Notes (Mazurka)
Poster for Carnegie Hall Concert

Sauter Pianos wrote:

Great attention aroused the US-premiere of a Mazurka composed by Julian Cochran. The young composer was flying-in from Australia to attend the concert.

I have attached a copy of the notes given to the audience at the Carnegie Hall concert performed by Gil Sullivan 10 December 2008 concert. He had a standing ovation and made me stand up and also bow to the audience – I have never had such an easier task as I played not a single note. He played my Mazurka so imaginatively. I was not surprised by this as I heard him play it in at Elder Hall in Australia and while I was impressed he said that he played it much better in Darwin a few weeks later. I am not sure how this could be possible, as there was not much he could have added or more variation of color he could have provided.

It is remarkable how public recognition and actual level of artistry are so disconnected. This takes many decades to pan out such that recognition and artistry to adjust to the ‘correct’ levels. It is easy to say that we have great artists such as Gil Sullivan who almost no one has heard of outside of Australia and we have worthless artists with far too much observation for the world’s good. However it is by definition that the ‘great art’ comes into being only when observed to survive through many fashions, and this simply takes much time and I am not particularly negative about the phenomenon.

Back to Australia

February 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Having returned from my trip to Moscow and the concert at Carnegie Hall in New York on 10 December 2007, where Gil Sullivan performed my Mazurka No. 1 so imaginatively and colourfully, I have the time to concentrate on the orchestration of my Romanian Dances. Because of this goal I have been forced to review the piano versions of these compositions, and in picturing the possibilities of the orchestra in my mind I have had some arguments with myself to decide if the piano versions are as refined as they can be. The works were pretty strong however I have had the chance to make some small modifications which I consider important. The opening of the first Romanian Dance contained an accompaniment that did not relate to the rhythmic intentions of the composition as a whole, and although hardly noticeable as a problem, it was a contradiction that had to be changed. And so now I can bare to write the orchestral version to match the piano version. I intend to have no musical differences between the piano and orchestral versions, and also to avoid special effects.

Last night I mostly played my fifth Romanian Dance in order to clarify particularly the ending. And there were so many rhythmic accents in the accompaniment with various weights and so I removed the minor accents and kept the major accents, thus clarifying the main musical intention. This is why it is so important to perform my works in concert before considering them completed. When faced with the public audience it is easier to ask “Is this convincing?” and this creates an impetus for faster decision making over what is the most important. There is however a more restricted opportunity for experimentation and for this reason I would not want to give concerts too frequently.

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