2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
3. Would you rather…only be able to meow yet live nine lives or be able to talk and only live once?
Talk and only live once.
4. You’re trapped on an island. There is one electrical outlet connected to a boombox from 1992. When you were stranded here you only had time to save one cassette out of collection of singles. What is the one pop song you will listen to for the rest of your life?
The rest of my life?! Hmm... I don't know, but i think a-ha's - take on me is a pretty motivating, well-orchestrated and catchy pop song... Though that could certainly say way more about my generation though (vs. Taste). The talking heads are without a doubt my all-time favorite band, without question. I cannot limit that to one work though.
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Johann Sebastian Bach, Igor Stravinsky, György Ligeti
Present: David Lang, Bernard Rands, Kaija Saariaho
By the way, before we get started, RESPECT for the a-ha choice. My wife fully approves and would make the same choice herself.
Canopy (2011) for viola and fixed media. The fixed media sounds seem to be primarily hitting metal and fire. This piece was made in conjunction with a sculpture called Ferment by Roxy Paine. In the past, when fire has been characterized by music, it has elicited words like driving or engulfing. Something violent and destructive. But, I think Mara uses fire in a much more calming manner. As if sitting at a bonfire, being visually transfixed by the flames. When considering the re-characterization, I think the mood the viola sets up is well suited to the background sounds. (I hope, it's fire Mara!)
The other element of the fixed media is samples taken from the viola itself. The center section of the piece, where the viola is in duet or (maybe?) even trio with itself is really effective. Very beautiful.
Plumb (1999) - Mara says: Rhythmic systems function on a large scale in Plumb. Duration patterns were built from the measurements (width and length) of each sax, which were then projected over the the span of the piece, where rate of speed binds the music structurally. Distinctions between these proportions unfold through the intervalic relationships related to the acoustics of each instrument.
This type of integration of information from the instrument itself into the structure of the work is right up my alley. I love doing stuff like this. But, the nagging question that is always running through my head while I do is, "If it doesn't make a convincing piece of music, what is the point of all the conceptual rigor?"
Plumb convinces me. It has that feeling of otherness about it that sets it into the John Cage/Iannis Xenakis category for me where the music was constructed using means other than just simply human intuition. It feels different. Ultimately, music is sound articulating time. If those time structures are built independently instead of being subservient to the whim of the material, the piece gives us a much different experience. Well done!