Brendon Bussy

FAERIE’S AIRE and DEATH WALTZ: The Silliness of Absurdity

Posted in Music by Brendon Bussy on February 15, 2010

A few days ago I watched a  world premier performance of  FAERIE’S AIRE and DEATH WALTZ (from a tribute to Zdenko G. Fibich).

The performers, the Colorado State Music Teacher’s Association,  are an appealing group of older music teachers.  They certainly do a great job.  Watch it, it’s worth a giggle for more than one reason.

Copies of the score by John Stump have been bouncing around the www for some time and it’s well worth a look especially if you have ever had to decipher a modernist score.

Intentionally unplayable and absurdist (“Arranged by accident”, the composer states)  it presents impossibly dense note clusters and absurd instructions such as  “insert peanuts”,  “Like a dirigible”,  “light explosives now …..and …” and my favourites:  “release the penguins” and “remove cattle from stage”.

So well done to the Teacher’s Association for attempting the impossible, an actual performance.
And more importantly, well done for holding up a mirror.  So that lovers of experimental music can reflect on the real silliness of it all from the perspective of non believers.

For myself that means questioning (and giggling at) the pseudo science that I often bring to the practice.  And lamenting the road to institutionalisation that this practice has sadly taken from its original anti establishment roots.

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