Music without Metaphor
for solo piano(2013)
|Dedicated to Ivan Ilić
|December 4, 2013; São Paulo, Brazil; Ivan Ilić, piano
My first contact with Music without Metaphor was via an informal recording the composer made at home. The sound quality was poor; the upright piano’s pedal squeaked. The notes didn’t always match the score. And it was gorgeous.
Scott Wollschleger quips that he doesn’t play the piano, he “interacts with it”. But his recording displayed his keen ear for what Morton Feldman called “registration”: the differentiation of, and sensitivity to, distinct registers. Also, his timing was beguiling. It felt natural, improvisatory. There was an in-the-moment magic associated more with Eastern musical traditions than with contemporary music.
Conjuring this elusive atmosphere is – for me – the key element in a successful performance of Music without Metaphor. It is suggested in the score, both in the artisanal beauty of the engraving, and in the voluntarily imprecise notation. The latter is a clever way of encouraging the musician to focus on color and mood, rather than precision.