2012 (appx. 10’)
All art forms provide means to express innermost thoughts, personal feelings, expressions of care, nurturing, friendship, love, anxiety, political concern, etc. Art allows us to say things that are important to us, and, as we are all so different, from various backgrounds and born into diverse cultures and cultural identities, we adopt different means to express ourselves.
Music allows us to be extremely honest, yet extremely obscure. In music (it being an abstract art form) we can create our own rules, and within these rules (the parameters that we set ourselves) we can create our own languages. These languages can be either understood (i.e. if it is a common language that we can understand [in music such as the relationships of keys within the conventions of tonality]) or left mysterious (just as listening to Sanskrit will enchant and beguile us but leave many of us totally perplexed at what the words actually mean).
Composers can create ways to symbolise events and thoughts, they can tell us truths disguised in groups of notes, they can be open and honest in unparalleled ways. Forms can represent journeys, events, structures of buildings, etc. Numbers and durations can be used to represent actual time, place, proportion of endurance, etc. Notes can be aligned to names and places and events by means of encryption. Other existing works can be alluded to in order to allow the listener (if they are aware of those other existing works) to sense subliminal or literal allusions and thus achieve a sense of nostalgia within oneself or within the subject matter presented, or both.
These ‘Portraits’ tell many things. They tell us of people, of places, times and of events, and they respond to the actual creativity of those people. These portraits tell us of the dynamic of relationships, from within and from without. They simultaneously delve deep and they observe from a distance.
In creating these ‘Portraits’, I become a conjuror. A fortune teller, a story teller, a friend, a guide, someone who responds to events, someone who considers possibilities, someone who observes and comments privately, someone who wants to share secrets in such secret ways that the listener can only ‘sense’ the truth. I do not want to say it all. I want the music to speak in its own terms. I do not want to be obvious and literal to the listener, even if, deep down (via music) I am being completely literal. I can transform reality into magic, as if my photographic lens has been adapted with filters galore to transform every image into a surreal and abstract representation of the same.
A dedicated musicologist could decipher the codes and work out the truths. They will learn about the people and the places and the events and feelings contained within. They will discover my innermost thoughts. In so doing, they will begin to chip away at the magic that the obscurity of intent ensures.
What I can tell you is that these portraits tell of and are dedicated to people who are extraordinarily special to me and whose friendship has meant or means more than words can say. The music was composed over the summer of 2012. Two sets of portraits describe four artists – Aleksei Kiseliov, Olga Jegunova, Ángeles Ciscar and myself. The music tells about our characters, special experiences and the natural life journeys from childhoods to the present moment.
© Paul Max Edlin, October 2012
Perusal score/s available on request