Monday, 18 March 2013

Bach on Bach : Coda

What I had meant to say in the previous post about the accidental BBC Bach mash-up (which may have been implicit) was this:

There was a moment -- during that initial minute or so when it still seemed the jarring cross-cut effect might have been intentional -- when my ears and brain suspended disbelief and something genuinely creative happened.  It didn't last long, but it was real. If you've ever sat through a free jazz performance or a piece of aleatory, experimental music, you'll know the feeling: ten seconds of real interest bought at the price of an hour of screaming tedium.

At the risk of sounding like a vicar turning his sermon ("And I thought, isn't the love of God just like a free jazz performance?") it occurred to me that the problem with much contemporary art is that it is predicated on the pursuit of nothing more than that fleeting experience of defamiliarization and disorientation.  Where Bach builds a magic space in your head, patiently, cunningly, others -- no need to name names -- hope to get lucky and create one by grabbing both of your ears and pulling hard.  But you can never build a substantial achievement that way.   Hence the endless churning of attention-grabbing but ephemeral novelties.

Of course, the great thing about chance is that it can reveal fresh solutions to old problems.  But, as we know, chance mainly favours the prepared. Whatever it was that happened during those ten seconds was interesting but not much use to me.  But, who knows, maybe one or two composers who happened to be listening had their ears pinned back -- "that's IT!" -- and stumbled to their manuscript books, fired up for an afternoon of pure creative frenzy...


Carsten Schultz said...

Dear Mike,

while I was scrolling through your blog, this post's photo caught my eye because of a superficial resemblance to one of my efforts, and I felt like sharing this.

All the best,


Mike C. said...

Hej Carsten,

Yes, indeed, certain striking colour combinations are very memorable.

I'm not usually one for offering "photo tips", but: don't be afraid to crop to improve a composition -- to my eye, the two truncated cabins at either end distract from the strong patterning. Remove them and the image seems stronger to me.


Carsten Schultz said...


you have just used the other word of Swedish that I know.

I think in addition to the colours there was also something about the shadows, even if the similarities stop there. I do of course appreciate your suggestion, I will try different crops. I am also bothered by the bit of tree that has sneaked in there.