dissabte, 12 de gener de 2013

Conlon Nancarrow i els límits del tempo


Per a l'Angelo Conto

Conlon Nancarrow va néixer a Texarkana l'any 1912 i va morir a Ciutat de Mèxic el 1997. Des del 1935 va treballar com a trompetista de jazz fins el 1936, quan es va embarcar en un vaixell cap a Europa i va lluitar a Espanya contra Franco com a soldat ras. El 1939 és l'any clau de la seva vida: arriba fins a Barcelona i, travessant els Pirineus, marxa a peu cap a França per escapar-se dels feixistes; des d'allà se'n tornà als EEUU; s'instal·la a Nova York; estrena sense cap mena d'èxit el seu Septet i decideix utilitzar el piano mecànic per a expressar la seva música. Tot això en un any! El 1940 el govern nord-americà li reté el passaport per comunista i decideix escapar-se a Mèxic d'on obté la nacionalitat.


Cansat que els compositors es neguessin a tocar les seves obres o les toquessin malament, va explorar la possibilitat de composar música sense l'obstacle de les limitacions humanes, i la pianola va esdevenir l'eina més adequada. Nancarrow mateix perforava el paper del rotllo, sense l'ajut de ningú. El resultat és una música amb una complexitat i una rapidesa mai no sentida fins aleshores. La música expressada a través d'una pianola també li va permetre explorar els límits del tempo. Perquè en un paper perforat hi poden haver dos o més tempos diferents en pugna. El resultat pot ser aparentment caòtic, però el compositor sempre cercava un efecte emotiu.

Aquest és l'"Estudi per a Piano Mecànic nº 3". Noteu les influències del blues, provinents de les seva anterior etapa de músic de jazz:



A més de 18 obres per a piano, cambra i orquestra, la monumental obra de Nancarrow per a piano mecànic consta de més d'una cinquantena de peces, les primeres de les quals parteixen d'una evident influència jazzística. A poc a poc va anar cedint terreny a l'abstracció, sempre traspassant els límits del contrapunt.

Aquest és l'"Estudi per a Piano Mecànic nº 43", un dels seus darrers:



A partir dels anys 70, la seva música va despertar l'interès de molts compositors contemporanis, en especial, de John Cage i de György Ligeti. Aquest darrer va quedar fascinat per l'obra de Nancarrow. D'ell va dir: "Per a mi és simplement el compositor més important del moment. Ha fet quelcom original i diferent a tots els altres, al nivell de Johan Sebastian Bach i de la obra del Beethoven tardà":



És evident que Ligeti va ser influenciat per Nancarrow en obres com els Estudis per a piano (1985-2001). D'aquests estudis, el nº 13 es titula L'escalier du diable. Aquí el tenim, tocat per Greg Anderson:



Nancarrow va dedicar, una obra a Ligeti. Aquesta:



Per a més informació sobre Nancarrow, podeu llegir aquest article. Podeu obtenir una entrevista que li va fer Charles Amirkhanian aquí. Aquest vídeo exposa una introducció a la seva obra:



*

dimecres, 2 de gener de 2013

Supper's Ready: la cançó més increïble de la història

Per a en Carles Valero in memoriam



I. Lovers' Leap

Walking across the sitting-room, I turn the television off.
Sitting beside you, I look into your eyes.
As the sound of motor cars fades in the night time,
I swear I saw your face change, it didn't seem quite right.
...And it's hello babe with your guardian eyes so blue
Hey my baby don't you know our love is true.

Coming closer with our eyes, a distance falls around our bodies.
Out in the garden, the moon seems very bright,
Six saintly shrouded men move across the lawn slowly.
The seventh walks in front with a cross held high in hand.
...And it's hey babe your supper's waiting for you.
Hey my baby, don't you know our love is true.

I've been so far from here,
Far from your warm arms.
It's good to feel you again,
It's been a long long time. Hasn't it?

II. The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man

I know a farmer who looks after the farm.
With water clear, he cares for all his harvest.
I know a fireman who looks after the fire.

You, can't you see he's fooled you all.
Yes, he's here again, can't you see he's fooled you all.
Share his peace,
Sign the lease.
He's a supersonic scientist,
He's the guaranteed eternal sanctuary man.
Look, look into my mouth he cries,
And all the children lost down many paths,
I bet my life you'll walk inside
Hand in hand,
gland in gland
With a spoonful of miracle,
He's the guaranteed eternal sanctuary man.
We will rock you, rock you little snake,
We will keep you snug and warm.

III. Ikhnaton and Itsacon and their Band of Merry Men

Wearing feelings on our faces while our faces took a rest,
We walked across the fields to see the children of the West,
But we saw a host of dark skinned warriors
standing still below the ground,
Waiting for battle.

The fight's begun, they've been released.
Killing foe for peace...bang, bang, bang. Bang, bang, bang...
And they're giving me a wonderful potion,
'Cos I cannot contain my emotion.
And even though I'm feeling good,
Something tells me I'd better activate my prayer capsule.

Today's a day to celebrate, the foe have met their fate.
The order for rejoicing and dancing has come from our warlord.

IV. How Dare I Be so Beautiful?

Wandering through the chaos the battle has left,
We climb up a mountain of human flesh,
To a plateau of green grass, and green trees full of life.
A young figure sits still by a pool,
He's been stamped "Human Bacon" by some butchery tool.
(He is you)
Social Security took care of this lad.
We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower.
A flower?

V. Willow Farm

If you go down to Willow Farm,
to look for butterflies, flutterbyes, gutterflies
Open your eyes, it's full of surprise, everyone lies,
like the focks on the rocks,
and the musical box.
Oh, there's Mum & Dad, and good and bad,
and everyone's happy to be here.

There's Winston Churchill dressed in drag,
he used to be a British flag, plastic bag, what a drag.
The frog was a prince, the prince was a brick, the brick was an egg,
the egg was a bird.
(Fly away you sweet little thing, they're hard on your tail)
Hadn't you heard?
(They're going to change you into a human being!)
Yes, we're happy as fish and gorgeous as geese,
and wonderfully clean in the morning.

We've got everything, we're growing everything,
We've got some in
We've got some out
We've got some wild things floating about
Everyone, we're changing everyone,
you name them all,
We've had them here,
And the real stars are still to appear.

ALL CHANGE!

Feel your body melt;
Mum to mud to mad to dad
Dad diddley office, Dad diddley office,
You're all full of ball.

Dad to dam to dum to mum
Mum diddley washing, Mum diddley washing,
You're all full of ball.

Let me hear you lies, we're living this up to the eyes.
Ooee-ooee-ooee-oowaa
Momma I want you now.

And as you listen to my voice
To look for hidden doors, tidy floors, more applause.
You've been here all the time,
Like it or not, like what you got,
You're under the soil (the soil, the soil),
Yes, deep in the soil (the soil, the soil, the soil!).
So we'll end with a whistle and end with a bang
and all of us fit in our places.

VI. Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet)

With the guards of Magog, swarming around,
The Pied Piper takes his children underground.
Dragons coming out of the sea,
Shimmering silver head of wisdom looking at me.
He brings down the fire from the skies,
You can tell he's doing well by the look in human eyes.
Better not compromise.
It won't be easy.

666 is no longer alone,
He's getting out the marrow in your back bone,
And the seven trumpets blowing sweet rock and roll,
Gonna blow right down inside your soul.
Pythagoras with the looking glass reflects the full moon,
In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.

And it's hey babe, with your guardian eyes so blue,
Hey my baby, don't you know our love is true,
I've been so far from here,
Far from your loving arms,
Now I'm back again, and babe it's gonna work out fine.

VII. As Sure as Eggs is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)

Can't you feel our souls ignite
Shedding ever changing colours, in the darkness of the fading night,
Like the river joins the ocean, as the germ in a seed grows
We have finally been freed to get back home.

There's an angel standing in the sun, and he's crying with a loud voice,
"This is the supper of the mighty one",
Lord of Lords,
King of Kings,
Has returned to lead his children home,
To take them to the new Jerusalem.

Tony Banks – organ, acoustic and electric pianos, mellotron, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Phil Collins – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Peter Gabriel – lead vocals, flute, oboe, percussion
Steve Hackett – electric and acoustic guitars
Mike Rutherford – bass guitar, bass pedals, cello, acoustic guitar, backing vocals.

*