Danish composer and improvisor Carl BERGSTROEM - NIELSEN is involved by freely improvising and experimental open music. I agree with his belief in the features of intuitive music and open scores.
Carl Bergstroem-Nielsen struggles against the artificial divorce of notated and improvised music. He organizes interesting activities like the yearly International Intuitive Music Conference in Denmark.
"Improvisors are like hunters."
Click and listen to the short excerpt (245 k, in mp3 format) of my composition for organ. Hommage de l'Espace (8:22) belongs to the CD on "The P-ART PROJECT : 12 PORTRAITS"(< click for info).
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IMPROVISATION AND COMPOSITION
Many improvisors think of what they are doing as strictly opposed to notated music. And many composers think of what they are doing as strictly opposed to any kind of improvisation. This is an unhealthy situation.
From the point of view of improvisation, there is an understandable and even sometimes justified fear of being dominated and exploited by composers.
From the point of view of composition, there is a fear of losing control, to such an extent that necessary experiments with new forms of notation and performance practise are virtually blocked. As a result, new composed music suffers from mainstream constraints producing conformity and boredom, and improvisation suffers from being isolated from various gorgeous interactions and inspirations it could have had!
A comparison might illustrate my point.
Improvisors are like hunters, staying in close contact with their own land and the immediate surrounding nature. If they are removed from their home territory they often feel uncomfortable. But being in their right place, they can grasp the moment and follow their intuition. And they develop their practise faithfully, gradually and organically. Their lives could appear simple and without much variation, but on closer examination there is a lively variation in the details and intense interchange of thoughts and feelings between them. They have introspective powers and will sometimes change and expand their perspective by means of fantasy and applying fresh views.
While composers are a jet-set, always on their way to new, exciting places. They can act and take decisions very well, and they usually follow plans. Going places is a lifestyle, a stimulus they need, and they like telling stories about their journeys. However, they often lack time and motivation enough to get into close contact with the places they go and people they meet, despite all apparent intensive activity. And although they travel much, they develop habits of leading the same kind of life whereever they go. Sometimes, however, they will strike something real important, and it might open up new perspectives.
So!! Whether we are musicians or composers or both - should we not try to both work in depth with the musical material AND go places? Should we not deal with the experimental music world and explore those aesthetic universes we feel attracted to as well as enjoy a few surprises? Would it prevent us from listening to and participating in free, directly interacting music being created on the spot? Are the strict, exclusive diets of improvising-only and of composing-only really justified??
Towards an Unberable Lightness
A graphic composition by CBN. A "guided improvised tour", yes. I am greatly fascinated by the open compositions of Brown, Cage, Stockhausen and many, many others. I like to play open pieces by fellow musicians, coming into close contact with their musical universes and in turn presenting a piece to them. In between, it's certainly time for some free improvisations.
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