June 13th, 2014
"Mounting The Four Pillars"
Last month, I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Textura about my work Apparitions Of The Four Pillars.
I like the idea of a recalibration; that's really what it is. And I think this is one of the reasons I choose to include the approximate duration in the program. One of La Monte's most famous tenets is that “Tuning Is A Function Of Time,” and I try to keep that in mind when I'm performing. As Terry Riley has said, “Western music is fast because it's not in tune,” but if you look at Indian music, you see the tempo slow. The majestic alap of a well-rendered raga is stunning, and duration becomes an aspect there. One of my favourite concepts, and one that I return to over and over is from the alap of a raga, a concept called bhadat where each pitch is systematically introduced, slowly, and one-at-a-time, ascending the scale. I take this practice now as a method of structuring the chords of my work. Each subsequent chord introduces a single new pitch, and it's our job as performers to set that up so that when it happens, it seems like the logical next step and emerges naturally from the sound world we've built up. We don't even use the full scale available to us in this work until well past the two-hour mark. That's how I'm dealing with time on a grand scale.