ISCM

C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

D0 note (18.35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

F0 note (21.83 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

G0 note (24.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

A0 note (27.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

WORLD MUSIC DAYS - LUXEMBOURG 2000 - Pavel Mihelcic

 

 

WORLD MUSIC DAYS - LUXEMBOURG 2000 
"As the new millenium approaches, every composer is being asked himself what he wants to contribute. Everyone has a wish, and this is mine: in writing this new millenial commission, I realised that to commemorate those people sacrified for true love". 
With these words, the Chinese composer, Tan Dun, accompanied his fourth large project of orchestral theatre - "The Gate". It was the 135th composition of the nine days festival of modern music World Music Days - Luxembourg 2000. 
The Symphonic orchestra BBC from London was playing. An unusual performance was prepared in the big semi-rounded hall of the Luxembourg Conservatory. The heroine Yu-ji of the famous Chinese stage part "Farewell My Concubine" (Beijing Opera, 19th century) was presented by a twenty eight years old star of the Beijing Opera, Shi Min; Juliet (following the Shakespeare Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, 16th century) was an excellent American soprano Nancy Allen Lundy; The Japanese Koharu-san of the Love of Suicides from Amijima - it is a puppet drama created by the most famous Japanese playwright who wrote 130 plays, Japanese Shakespeare Monzaemon Chikamatsu (1653-1725) - was represented by puppet player Zehuai Zhang. 
In front of the door, through which the souls of suicides should go, three persons sacrificed on behalf of love, are waiting. "There is such terrible lack of love today; resurrection for these three women seemed a very important symbolic task" ("Terrible lack of love nowadays calls for symbolic rise of three women"), This was written by fourty years old Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun who was, in the time of cultural revolution, a worker on rice fields, afterwards he played violine and earned money for his living as a decorator in the Beijing opera group. When he passed the admission exam for Beijing Conservatory, he was educated there for eight years. Then, he immigrated to USA, worked for some time at the University of Colombia, went to New York where he passed his PhD in composition. The compositions started to bring him prestigeous prizes: the prize Toru Takemitsu, Glenn Gould prize; after the four "orchestral theatres" he received an order by New York Opera, Metropolitan, which will perform his great opera in 2005. 
Tan Dun is certainly a multiple and controversial multi-artist. He came to the stage as a carismatic person: as composer and conductor as well as in the role of a judge. "Before the sunrise there are (three) suicidal women at the door of Resurrection. My decision is if the door opens or not" The hand of the conductor, composer, artist, arbiter opens the fist, video camera transfers five fingers and intermediate sight of the enraprured creator to the screen. The music embraces the hall, from both sides under the vault of dark ceiling, from two balconies, from different ends of the place acting like a hull of micro space. Theatre of the orchestra, Chinese player and singer singing with tenuous and screaming soprano, theatre of the composer who knows that he is acting in a carismatic an unreal way. Love was there and died, love will be there because (as free energy) door will be open. 
The performance lasting half of the evening is shocking; those who want to behave themselves cannot admit that also China is becoming a part of the music world. But however, this is true: the composers from Taiwan are slowly but steady penetrating into the world of new music, in 2002 they should organise World Music Days; due to the policy, they had to call off the organisation of the big festival. The hand was offered from Austria; World Music Days should be organised in 2002 in Vienna, but the policy did not express its welcome for artists coming from fifty states. China came: Hong Kong, representing (Chinese) door into the world as well as door into the entire world of big China. The door which was for upraisal of love opened by self-elected judge, Tan Dun, is also a door which will in a symbolic way connects the arts from the East and the West. We feeled fear and joy, inbetween there was love: not as a word, but as a stretched arm being offered to us on a huge screen. 
During the last year’s World Music days, they took place from 29th September until 7th October 2000, in Luxembourg were performed 135 works of composers coming from 50 states. Slovene section was represented by a composer, Ljubo Ranigaj (born in Ljubljana in 1926) with his work Three Monothematic Compositions for piano. They were created in 1996 and, during World Music days played by a Luxembourg piano player Beatrice Rauchs. In Luxembourg, the work was presented by another Slovene composer being active in Australia, Božidar Kos (born in Novo mesto in 1934). His composition Aurora Australis (we could hear it in 1998 on Slovene Music Days) was played by symphonic orchestra coming from Saar Territory of the Radio Station from Saarbrücken under the leadership of the Austrian conductor, Oswald Sallaberger. The composer accompanied his work by following words: (in English, the comment has already been written on page 130 of the proceedings of WMD 2000)" . Aurora Australis is a polar shine which is visible at night on southern part of the sky as a shiny and trembling blaze. It appears in endless varieties but most frequently as waves of folded spheres of colourful light. Light patches and columns in different colours are moving fast here and there as they were dancing high in the athmosphere, beneath there is a dark sky. Aurora means also a daybreak, morning dawn or break. In other sense of the word, we could say that it means the beginning of what is going to happen, something unknown and mysterious. The composition Aurora is not a programme work but, according to its construction, it reminds of athomsphere phenomena". 
In Luxembourg, the Slovene Section of International Association for Modern Music, represented the main substantial elements of the World Music days which will be held in anniversary year, 80 years after the first festival in Salzburg in 2003 in Slovenia. Great interest was expressed among the present delegates of the General Assembly of the Association for Modern Music, above all for special events like: music event in the Predjamski castle and in the cave, music event on the Tartini Place and around it in Piran as well as the foreseen premiere of the new music-ballet works which will be chosen by international committee and baptized by Ballet Ensemble of the Slovene National Theatre as introductory performance in the season 2003-04. 
I asked myself; I had to ask myself if Slovenia was presented in Luxembourg in the way it deserved. The composer Božidar Kos who was my neighbour in my childhood, experienced in Slovenia - in comparison with performance in Saarbrücken - a phenomenal presentation. The German orchestra was also an instructive case of lost glory. In our country, in small Slovenia, we have three symphonic orchestras, none of them plays so careless as the orchestra in Saarbrücken! The composer was obviously disappointed. 
Among compositions which were sent to Luxembourg by the Slovene section and according to the international committee, there was none worth being presented in Luxembourg. In spite of that and as a long term music critic and as a composer, I could name at least one fourth of chosen and heard compositions which were not comparable with one or two compositions sent by Slovene section. 
The selection which was at our disposal, was exposed to the taste of music branch from almost fourty states and was in many cases negligent. It was searched for attractiveness, possibly also innovativeness, but music, the one which touches an educated hearer, inquisitive person who cannot be satisfied with a dry composion virtuality, remained in front of the door in most cases. Should she commit suicide in order to be helped by someone (like Tan Dun) to enter the door after many years? 
The problem of worse performers was present also in Luxembourg; it is not final that we meet it elsewhere. But even more, the problem of the selection of compositions which should be the best ones, what was created in last two or three years by national sections in different states, was present even more. Through some decades, since I have been passively or actively following the International festival ISCM World Music Days, I have become acquainted with the music of strong countries. I succeeded to meet them so well (also on Rostrum in Paris) to recognize national elements in these music parts. Several smaller countries, above all those which do not have one or two composions per year, elected by the professional committee ISCM, are getting lost in this mass. And this is a reproach which will in a certain period of time, become a reproach that we all play the games of the big and small ones. The big ones play, they play games and the small ones collect the balls. And sometimes, they are even allowed to play with them. 
  
135 compositions, among them ten superior ones, are lost as a tree in a forest. On the first afternoon after the festival, before the minister for culture had her (evening) welcome address, we came into the premises in which a fourty eight years old Dutch innovator and musician Hans van Koolwijk displayed bamboo tubes - whistles. As one would be going through the forest in order to hear the voice of wood. And true: there came the moment when the hydraulics filled up the tubes. "Everything I need is peace", he said before Hans van Koolwijk started to play his instrument - bamboo sonore. The end of his words was interrupted by a shrieking voice of a bird in a large cage. The only thing which could not be achieved, was peace. What would one do with it? We threw it through the door a long time ago. When the three souls came through it - Yu-ji, Juliet and Koharu-san - the orcehstra became silent. 
There entered the love of suicides. 
Let’s try to understand. Let’s try to understand that music became means of expression of all nations of the world a long time ago. Technique, also the composition one, paid its debt for arts with excellence. And music is no more a privilege of the branch; music turned around the Earth in all possible styles. The subject which is to be searched by following meetings ISCM with the famous name as World Music Days - should be an individual, composer with his/her own language. Also those, who speak English in order to be understood in the whole world, have a language of their recognition environment. International committees still think that there is only one language in the music. And if we all - searching for a real sonic picture of World Music Days - insist on this, only beatific language, The World Music Days will die because of boredom. 
And this is what we don’t want, do we? 
Pavel Mihelcic 
ISCM Section Slovenia 

 

Share
Content posted to the ISCM website reflects the viewpoint of individual submitters; its appearance herein does not imply official endorsement by the ISCM, its Executive Committee, or the Delegates to its General Assembly.