Re[2]:The New Complexity

Philly the Kid (
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 10:13:15 -0500

>Just wondering - does this mean you are a fan of the so called New
>Complexity (Dench, Dillon, Ferneyhough, et al)?

About 10 years ago, I had 6 lessons and several seminars with Ferneyhough
when he first came to teach in America. He reminded me of a the "mad
scientist" with his hair flyin and highwater pants...he was without a doubt
an extremely brilliant guy, and I found him stimulating. I made 2 caseetes
worth of dubs of performances of his music from his private stash and spent
a lot of time listening to those tapes. I watched as performers prepared
his pieces and I flat out asked him the usual "dumb" questions that every
interviewr has asked, things like fdo you really think a human being can
count those rhythms? and so then, does it matter...his answers were
interesting and this simplified paraphrase a decade later probably doesn't
do justice, but it seemed it had a lot to do with putting the performer in
a certain mental stance toward the score...and for him, like many
composers, he had a need for a certain kind of logic and order. He built
his scores in layered tiers. By time you got to the finished composite
there was a great deal going on and the musci was very dense.

Now interestingly, at that time he had no interest in microtunings or
computers or other instruments than the Western European orchestral set. (
I don't know what he is up to nowadays?)

I found that if a performer really really tried to be faithful to his
printed music page - and worked closely with the composer - the end result
was that the preformer was forced to play in a manner that caused them to
actually change their body language. It looked like voodoo. In a sense, he
was getting a result that might be found in other improvised musics and
with musicians that come to music making from a different premise - but he
was getting many of the same resutls - I found it very interesting and I
enjoyed listening to his music and could separate it from other composers
who have dense a complex rhythmic stuff going on. It is however, unlikely
that I would listen to this music exclusively or in all situaions that I
desire a music listening experience.

ANyway - I don't know baout the New Complexity and I don't even know if its
new, but perhaps you can say what you feel about it?