Some emails from last week
APRIL 10, 2018 from MICHIKO THEURER:
Rose, so nice to talk today!! I just had an idea about our mythologies concert idea. We've been talking about having a series of videos between pieces that provided a sort of cushion for experiencing the music (like a threshold into/out of an installation), and I had sort of been thinking that the videos might be a series of retellings of a simple scene. What if our video interludes were a series clips of pouring liquid from one container to another, in different settings/contexts? It could be very abstract or very specific, depending on what we want to suggest. I think I've mentioned how I love the expressiveness of different bowls/vessels: how the shape of a bowl is so perfectly expressive of its function, as something that's both open to what's outside it (which is why it's useful, because you can put things in it and take them out again) and also partially enclosed (which is also why it's useful, since it hold things). And there are so many variations on how to be defined but open-- did I mention the exhibit in Germany that I went to ages ago where there were all these different bowls from different cultures and times lined up, with no explanation, just the different forms becoming expressive because of their proximity to other shapes...?
Anyway, this idea of myths/retellings and pouring water between containers could easily become cliché if we think of it as if the water is a soul that is inhabiting different bodies, because I don't think we want to suggest some immutable essence that runs through different stories. But there's something similar about sound resonating in solid spaces, and bringing them to life, the way that water allows us to see the character of a vessel...
These are all half-formed thoughts/ideas-- I'll think more, but let me know if they spark any ideas for you! Thinking about arranging repertoire for this, it would be nice to have something that involved retelling in a literal musical sense, like what we talked about with the transcription/rewriting pieces. I'm not sure if/how Turina fits in this picture...?
APRIL 11, 2018 from ROSE LACHMAN:
Woah. I think there are definitely ways to work with this. Bowls/vessels could pour water. Or sand. Or air. Same bowls pouring different things, or different bowls pouring same things, or same bowls pouring same things in different contexts (as you said).
I love that bit about water filling the shape of a vessel, in the way that sound fills the shape of a space. It's curious though - our name is open space. But it's actually really difficult to play music in a literal 'open space'. With nothing to resonate, there's so much space and so little sound. It's kind of too bad the piano isn't portable. I could envision something like playing in an enclosed space, and then walking out into an open space while playing, and then back into an enclosed space --- something about discovering the actual way our sound fills the vessel of the performance space. Ah well.
I'm thinking a bit about the Pärt too - 'mirror in the mirror'. This seems related, seeing things the same but different, reflection, mirrors open up spaces (ask any realtor :P )
Nathan does a lot of work with site-specific composition. He did one recently called Elevator Music, that took place in an old grain silo (I think? It was back east somewhere, I believe). OK, just looked it up - here's the link. At any rate, I wonder if what you're thinking is site-specific, or just specific to the fact that we will be in sites in general - you know what I mean?
Yeah, I'm not sure the Turina fits into this specific idea. If you like it, I think we'll find some spaces for it though - paired with the Poulenc would be real lovely. And, if one of our 'concert blocks' is a more traditional concert, which may not have a theme more specific than 'we like this music', the Turina works well for that. But. I want to make sure you like it. I think it would feature your sound super well :)
APRIL 11, 2018 from MICHIKO THEURER:
Rose!! You're so right about the open space/resonance thing. It's a gorgeous idea, and the thing about being around all these tech geniuses at Stanford is that it puts ideas in your head, like "maybe I could have a concert where the piano is magically transported to a different space in the middle of a piece." Let me bracket that for a second and get back to you. But this program idea is sounding more and more like an exploration of who we want to be as a duo, which is awesome. Also, Nathan's Elevator Music looks so cool!!
Why don't we build two programs? I listened to the Turina again, and I think you're totally right that it'd be great for us.
Also, I just got back from a long practice session after a full (and rewarding) day of musicology-related stuff, and oh my goodness it's amazing to make sound. It's like swimming. I think I have some passages/phrasing ideas to share about the first movement of the Szymanowski, but I'll hold off on that until I get some sleep. Looking forward to talking soon!