I’m falling behind! Life moves relentlessly forward, and nothing has been written here for several weeks. Should I attempt to record everything, or should I follow my friend over at The Cataphonic Explorer into the deepest bowels of the Earth? I haven’t decided yet. And that pancake is still insoluble, so here goes:
I could perhaps instead produce a stream of consciousness about just what happened in the City of Lights this last week but-is that interesting? I will start on Monday, June 16th and finish there. On Monday night i went with a few friends to Ircam to see the quator arditti — i had seen them last year, you know, also at the festival Agora, and it was a revelation. Wonderful stuff. But at the start of last week’s concert– what’s this? A man mounts the stage. Very, very rarely in these kinds of concerts does someone ever climb onto the stage to do anything other than play a musical instrument or sing. And this man does not look a like a singer. And then – the announcement: György Ligeti is dead! A hushed silence falls on the already silent concert hall deep underground Paris. Or maybe it didn’t. Ligeti was still alive? whispered a few, or maybe they didn’t. Then Irivine Arditti and friends are there, and they play a piece from Ligeti, strings plucked in the now almost total silence of the salle de projection. It was so quiet in there I was sure I could here the woman three rows over digesting her magret de canard. And total, absolute attention was demanded! And given. Each note was something important, each note mattered. They all had to be heard and captured and understood, otherwise they would be lost forever. Mr. Ligeti may be dead but-
Then the programmed program, once piece followed another, each in its own incredible complexity, layer upon layer, an intermission, another piece perhaps slightly easier at first then dense and layered again, always this immense energy and force required to understand all that was heard, perhaps you could, if you could just listen, if you could just listen in the right way? And then the concert was finished.
Outside, a warm summer’s night in Paris, about five degrees warmer than the subterranean salle of the Ircam. Many people were in the streets. I thought for a fleeting instant of Thomas Clayton Wolfe, you know him? Writing about the month of March in Brooklyn, it was so hard to remember that it was ever the month of march in Brooklyn, he wrote, and we couldn’t find a door. I may not be a famous Hungarian avant-garde composer, I might have thought, too, but at least I am still alive.