…come and go talking of michelangelo

by pieces of moments

Wonderfully, my grad school mentor was able to get me a ticket to see Alfred Brendel perform his last concert in Boston as a part of his last tour before he retires. More on that soon.

Catching up on some article reading tonight I came across this one about Diana Vishneva, the principle at both the Kirov Ballet and the American Ballet Theater. I was particularly struck by the last sentence:

Then Vishneva started playing with timing. She stretched out the transitions between the exquisite tangles with Richardson until she was falling from one position to the next. And there it was—longing.

The concept of time has always been fascinating to me, it’s malleable character seemingly everlasting and slow one moment and quick, light, and fleeting the next. The way that you can repeat an event but it’s not the same no matter what you do because every single millionth of a second is fiercely individual and will not ever really be repeated. I guess though it’s the perception of time that intrigues me the most. I have also been re-reading Calvino’s Six Memos For A New Millennium and thinking more about his statements regarding the manipulation of time in fairy and folk tales and how they operate on quickness, rhythm and timing, which is perhaps most essential to the process of telling a story well:

The listed defects of the clumsy story teller are above all offenses against rhythm, as well as being defects of style, because he does not use the expressions appropriate either to the characters or to the events. In other words, even correctness of style is a question of quick adjustment, of agility of both thought and expression.

It’s not the material itself, not the matter, but the method. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. On of the issues with musicians who have not interpretive maturity yet is they too often have everything in place but they display no power over the audience’s perception of time through their performances. The best musical performances are those that make time a relative matter, reflective of its true nature. I should feel it speed up, slow down, stretch out or pause altogether. You know, like the moment you look into the eye of someone who really sees into your soul, time stops, and you remember that, it’s burned into you forever because it was an adjustment in the steady flow you usually don’t notice as time passing. I mentioned in a previous entry that I saw the choreographer Elizabeth Streb in conversation with Brian Greene recently talking about time and space among other things. One thing that Streb mentioned was that we don’t really notice our movements, we don’t realize what we do enough to be able to totally recall the specific movements we make all day long. We only notice when there is an adjustment to the ordinary – when we fall down, or trip, or stub our toes. So really it’s those moments when time effectively adjusts and bends to our emotions that are the most powerful. Those are the moments you remember the clearest and the best.Tree at The Breakers in Newport, RI 2007