Cliff Crego's blog, whitebark—
Notes scratched into a stonepine snag, open to the light, clear air . . .

December 2010
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Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 4:19 pm

Just finished the 4th in the popular series of
SQUARE editions . . .

This is the notoriously difficult piece the otherwise exemplary
ASKO ENSEMBLE managed to mangle beyond recognition
at its premier on February of 2005 in Amsterdam.

Since then, unfortunately, it has not
been played again.

Too bad, I say to myself, every time
I look at the score!


OCTET Project
Is a set of 12 piecesfor flute, oboe,
clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet,
trombone, and bass.

4 new pieces & 8 arrangements
of music from Machaut, Purcell,
J.S. Bach, Mozart and Stravinsky.

Intended as jump-start for a new idealistic
and committed ensemble of young professional virtuosi . . .

At my website for New Music performance

NOTE: In the performance scores, each OCTET is prefaced with the
remark that in an ideal situation the group should play without
conductor. This is meant to be a challenge. Once one has
mastered the technical and rhythmical difficulties of each
part, then playing without a central organizing figure should
not prove too difficult. Much more demanding, in my view,
is achieving a unity of vision with regard to sound,
articulation, dynamics, and most especially, the quality and
direction of the music’s movement as a whole.

At present, because time is short and standards are low,
even well-known new music ensembles do not perform
with what seems to me a truly unified vision, let alone
passion of conviction. These pieces are composed then
in an entirely different spirit. Nothing could make me happier
than to see the young ‘have at them’, and work until
they get things right, really right.

That’s why these scores and sets of parts are freely available
via the Internet. (In this regard, I suppose one could say
that they are like ‘open source’ software.) Again, this is meant
as a challenge. In this sense, they are not so much free
as simply there, standing before one like an as yet
untried mountain pass over uncharted terrain. And as
even an experience guide will tell you, when striking out
on a new route, one never knows if one will make it,
or if the journey will be worth all the effort, or what one will
find on the other side. What is certain, however, is that
it is the movement of the search itself—and not simply
repeating the well-known paths of the past—that awakens
our deepest musical instincts and awareness, and brings
us together in the most exciting and creative of ways.

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