Saturday, February 02, 2008

An Ocean of Cliche

My childhood friend and leader of the Disgruntled Arborists Commune, Mr. Mark Charles Becker pointed out in his wise and unassuming manner that what makes stereotypes so amusing is that they are often accurate, while they still have their problems in communicating the depth of realty. I find myself in Monterey CA today staring out of a window as 15-20 foot waves break just off the coast before my eyes. There are seals bobbing in the surf and the sun beginning to color the clouds that hang on the horizon. With my fresh French Press of coffee and a roaring fire in the fireplace, this is an rather idyllic and cliche Pacific coast moment. Monterey and Carmel are known for these types of moments. The funny thing is that as a composer I work with these sorts of sentimental cliches (not to imply that is the only thing that is present in music!) and I rather hate that aspect of music. Of course this part of the impetus for becoming a composer, so as to redefine what great music is.

This all comes on the heals of being asked last evening at a dinner event what it is that I do. I answered that I am interested in he cognitive apparatus of perception and try and find means of exploring this area of human existence though sound. The follow up question was, "what genera of music do you compose?" Racing through my mind are the words, "what genera! It is sounds what more do you need to know?" I have been thinking about this exchange and was very troubled by this persons and a great many that I consider him to be an exemplar of that seem to lack meaningful engagement with life. Of course, it makes a great deal of sense that he would like to know how to categorize my work and therefore what box to place my work in. That is human and therefore a very logical action, but why bother with such matters when there is the possibility for so much more?

And so, I find myself looking at waves, reflecting on the wisdom of man who has been taught by trees that indeed cliche holds it's own layer of interest, when one steps back, takes in the larger picture and finds the amusement and substantive material for contemplation in the oddest and most obvious of places, be it waves in the ocean or good ol' orchestra music.


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