Sunday, February 18, 2024

"Warp+Weft" For Piano

"Warp + Weft" For Piano

Bil Smith Composer

Link to PDF


- Commentary by Cormac McCarthy.

“Warp + Weft” subverts disciplinary decorum, unsettling visual orthodoxies that typically govern score design. Much like the bold interlocking angularities in a Louise Nevelson sculpture, the work jostles quadratic staves against curvilinear ciphers that trace variegated topographical contours.

In places, the precarious cartography risks constraining legibility, yet a deeper wisdom lies in this constructed tension between discipline and disarray.

Like all innovatory scores that prod at the membrane of creative potential, “Warp + Weft” harvests instabilities as a fertile much for exploration. Its festooned notational elements exert centripetal gravitation, compelling alternative orientations to musical material that crack open calcified habits of musicianship.

The Pianist as "Executant" must renounce the linear march , instead diving into disjointed fragments that demand a mode of contemplation balanced tenuously between internal subjectivity and externalized energetic execution.

If a musical score hypothetically resembles an architectural plan, then “Warp + Weft” adopts modularity as its underlying schematic principle. Its segmented design presents not so much a concretized entity as a plastic assemblage of interchangeable building blocks awaiting imaginative configuration by the performing agent.

In the willingness to fracture compositional cohesion into rearrangeable pieces, there lies a liberatory ethics that grants hard-won autonomy to the practitioner traditionally relegated to rote regurgitation of supposed authorial intent.

Although its pioneer notations may initially bewilder, what appears on surface unruliness gives rise under patient examination to unfold vistas resonant with possibility.

The score for "Warp + Weft" unsettles not merely the eye, but the disciplined construals of recess and protrusion to which we have become accustomed in our engagement with musical texts. It presents us with voluptuous curves of topographical iconography that jostle, rather confrontationally, against the perpendiculars of the score's visibly precarious construction. This is not merely an aesthetic choice but a deliberate intellectual provocation, urging us to reconsider the relationship between the visual and auditory elements of musical experience.

In contemplating this score, we are reminded of the interplay between established categories and the stresses put upon them by any singular articulation. This dynamic tension is the rich loam from which the history of compositional innovation has always sprung.

To cultivate this ground, Bil Smith has chosen to elaborate its principal terms not like a mathematical proof, which proceeds with the inexorability of logic from premises to conclusion, but rather like a center of gravity exerting a centripetal force, drawing us into a deeper engagement with the fundamental principles of musical structure and notation.

As we grapple with its complexities and nuances, we may find ourselves not only appreciating a new form of musical expression but also gaining a deeper understanding of the ways in which music and notation reflect and shape our understanding of the world.

"Cormac McCarthy"

The Complete Score: One Page 34" X 16"

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