I had the pleasure of going to see Jonathan Burrows and Adrian
Heathfield last Monday at Toynbee Studio as part of Performance
Burrows mentioned Christian Wolff’s four dictums of writing music:
- A composition must make possible the freedom and dignity of the performer.
- It should allow both concentration and release.
- No sound or noise is preferable to any other sound or noise.
- Listeners should be as free as the players.
They are also listed in a book called ‘Audio Culture – Readings In
Modern Music’, edited by Cox and Warner, which is a mighty fine read.
I was particularly drawn to allowing “both concentration and release” – which is the one that Burrows talked most about on Monday. So much of my training as a choreographer/dancer has been about ‘filling’ an audience with an experience and although I understand that sonic and visual perceptual systems are different, there is something liberating (both as an audience member and a performance maker) about the possibility of allowing for (perhaps even desiring) time and space for ‘release’.