Certainly being in California has encouraged a sustained commitment to rethinking the nature, purposes, and relevance of the contemporary arts, specifically music, for a society which by and large seems to manage quite well without them.
Sometimes one can be so closely involved with things that the larger context is lost to view.
When I left Europe in 1987 I did so with the thought that my relevance as a composition teacher would benefit from a certain cool distance to certain tendencies I had been observing for several years with increasing disquiet.
Other composers have taken this particular technique much further than I in the meantime, with the result that the Law of Diminishing Returns has begun to apply.
I frequently compose out the entire metric structure of a piece in modified cyclic form, where each cyclic revolution undergoes some form of 'variation' much as if measure lengths were concrete musical 'material.'
Actually, most things I say in public lead more or less directly to my own compositional practice, so I should be careful about generalizing lest they come back to haunt me.
Why, in such a case, should the performer essay any sort of considered approach at all?
If nothing is at risk, nothing is established.
The past nine years in San Diego have represented such a period of questioning.
There would seem to be a limit, even for an art preoccupied with boundaries and transgressions, beyond which a work reaches its breaking point and becomes an actual failure, a mere experimentation.
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