My daughter and I attended an awe-inspiring 2 1/2 hour concert by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra on Sunday evening. My daughter is in her fourth year of cello and has a truly gifted friend playing violin with the CYSO. We had no idea what we were in for. After the thrilling and familiar Tchaikovsky (Symphony No 4 in F minor) performed by the Concert Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra (seriously?! there's an even more advanced group of these ridiculously talented young musicians!?) performed music from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey with work by Gyorgy Ligeti, Aram Kachaturian and Richard Strauss. The work is instantly recognizable and watching it take form on stage was spell-binding. Neither the Ligeti nor Strauss pieces adhere to typical symphonic structure. Ligeti's Atmospheres is described as sound mass--incredibly complex, layered points of sound are massed into a sound shape with tremendous depth and texture. Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra was played in its entirety--another seriously complicated, densely textured tonal poem. Conductor Allen Tinkham spoke briefly about the CYSO philosophy of music education as not about reading many, many individual notes, but about learning how to read individual notes as ideas that lead to more ideas and add up to big ideas. Love that. And see a tiny connection with how my work is progressing technically. It is critical that individual cut pieces, or tessera, are understood within the broader context of the full composition with each piece contributing to coherent progression in the movement of line or construction of form. Each individual piece contributes to the whole idea and in that each cut matters.
Attending a concert always raises the issue of the interplay between ephemerality and permanence for me. This music has been experienced by countless music-enthusiasts across the decades...and centuries. And each experience has been a unique interaction between score, conductor, musicians, instruments, performance space and acoustics, audience and individual listeners. A magical evening, now gone. In my work with glass, idea and aesthetic are permanently encoded in glass and grout. The work will, however, shift and shimmer with light and movement, offering the viewer a moment soon gone, yet filled with radiance.
Full images of Impel 5.1 | 12" x 24" can be seen here.