Warsaw Autumn 2006 – VIII

The second concert of yesterday that took place at the Academy of Music really amazed me as it started at 10:30PM and ended up lasting until 1:00AM in the morning, all with a full house! The audience looked a bit younger though and perhaps there were a number of students from the school there. The pieces that were performed yesterday were:

  • Luigi Nono – Das atmende Klarsein
  • Helmut Lachenmann – TemA
  • Luciano Berio – Thema(Omaggio a Joyce)
  • Magdalena Dlugosz – Silent Asphodels
  • John Cage – Imaginary Landscape No. 4

Some notes on the pieces:

Nono – form was C-F-C-F-C-F-C-F where C = Chorus and F = Flute (bass flute), mostly very long held quiet chords in the chorus part moving to other long held chords; flute was noise and effects, then held tones, then noise and effects, then really amplified noise and effects; electronic processing was very minimal until end; audience did not feel like they were into it; I was a little tired at this point in the evening so the long piece felt long and a little too slow though the piece did get into somewhat of a rhythm and I can imagine a different experience in a different context (not late at night and tired and already after a previous concert); chords did feel somewhat mechanical and unnatural in some way; would very much like to find a recording to listen to this piece again

Lachenmann – an absolutely exceptional performance, completely drawn in, some laughing in audience at gestures, very musical piece, fascinating yet a different sound world than mine with all of the effects and noise and quick-cut gestures, performers did an absolutely excellent job, completely convincing performance


Berio – an absolute classic, I had not listened to the piece in a long time and was amazed at how many moments of the piece I knew, it’s so well composed; listening to this I felt that the Lachenmann had many similarities in gestures and composition of his piece, interesting to think of tape techniques of Berio in acoustic-instrument realm of Lachenmann

Dlugosz – very nice first minute with flute and electronics, afterwards for next 20 minutes electronics became very heavy, everything lost in in a fog of sound, deep bass throughout, phasey metallic sound reminiscent of metasynth or extremely time stretched sounds, sitting too close to right side a few rows from speakers, flute and cello were playing constantly and weren’t discernible in the sound

Cage – very nicely done, great listening experience, played again as an encore; bits of laughter as to be expected (a good thing I didn’t understand any of the Polish that was spoken on the radio), not sure how many people were really listening or were just looking for comedy, wonder if Cage is taken seriously anymore as a listening experience or if people consider just comedic; thinking of Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” which is humorous but really so incredibly serious…

I think that the late night concerts at the Festival are generally a bit more on the experimental side and it certainly seemed so after going to yesterday’s concert (we hadn’t been able to attend any of the other late night concerts so far at the festival). I very much enjoyed this concert, though ending with the Cage, I felt somewhat disturbed by the audience reaction. Over the years I’ve oscillated in my enjoyment on Cage’s music, though yesterday I found myself very much drawn into the sound world (thinking of it, very similar to Berio and Lachenmann in many ways). The impression I got was that the audience experienced the piece as some sort of entertainment and not a profound audible experience, listening not so much to experience the sound but rather to find humor in what these people were doing on stage. The boisterous applause afterwards somehow felt cheap, in some way a validation of entertainment over art, but perhaps it was just a wrong impression and the audience did in fact find the piece both humorous and profound. I did wonder though how Cage is perceived today, as a person of words, or really as a person of sound…

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