Intensity. Focus. Generosity. These words all come to mind when I consider the recent Professional Training Workshop with John Adams and David Robertson at Carnegie Hall. A group of 30 or so musicians from all around the country (one flew in from Australia, another from London) gathered to present two programs of contemporary American music. I tried to absorb as much as possible, attending rehearsals and coachings in a sort of supersaturated stupor.
The fabric of Adams' music is maddeningly consistent, like a dense, well-crafted, hand-knit sweater. Particularly in his strings-only compositions, like Shaker Loops, that density becomes very hard to break; the texture seems to subsume the potential for interpretation and release. And perhaps this kind of tirelessness is inextricably linked to the anxiety inherent to our first-world, capitalistic society -- a sort of mechanizing of expression to instill a sense of order. I find that making scores for myself, puzzling out the behavior of performance, puts me into a kind of clarified stupor ("How can this be so simple? Oh, right...").
The fabric, though - the material with which these creators work: it's the roots of the gears that translates into an assuredness of musical language. A big THANKS to Mr. Adams and Mr. Robertson, who are no doubt continuing in the flurry of sagacious creative activity that seems to drive them daily. Thank you for the insight and window on a world into which I would very much like to further explore.
© 2018 Martha Cargo