I think I prefer music, like literature, that has an understated glamour. Or that maybe has a glamour that it thinks it shouldn't have.
I performed a version of Drake Andersen's four boughs at Long Island City's Secret Theatre on Friday evening; it had its debut last summer by the rest of Ensemble sans maître at Tenri Cultural Institute. There's an independence, a certain stubborn unwillingness to listen, built in to the construction of the work: an almost anti-chamber music. We are listeners, we are actors, we are sentient beings; we are not immune, we can't shut out the light or eachother, we glance.
When I improvise, I close my eyes tight, trying to restrict my senses. To my classically-minded friends I call it "active listening" - somehow letting the sound loose, giving it room to breathe. Early days at Manhattan School of Music, in a sun-filled room with vocalist Charlotte Mundy, percussionist Mike Perdue, and clarinetist Carlos Cordeiro, we never spoke of a plan or a directive, only sat on the floor together and went. Mike spoke of "trust" - it is a conscious choice, this willingness to step out and explore. Drake's piece had that step; folks seemed taken by it. I hope to have more of that kind of faith: an audience we can take by the hand and lead.
© 2017 Martha Cargo