Powerful vs. Powerless
"Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all.”
Monday, February 14, 2011
New York is still bustling with festivals, festivals, festivals! This week in particular, there's some impressive programming courtesy of one of our favorite chamber ensembles, eighth blackbird. The versatile sextet has set up a short festival, called Tune-In beginning this Wednesday at the Park Ave Armory, based on Stravinsky's famous quote: "Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all.”
They then set up a kind of a debate-team-style pair of core shows; one concert argues Stravinsky's side (called powerless), and one argues the just the opposite (powerful). This is a pretty cool idea, but even cooler is their lineup! We're talking Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, John Cage, Louis Andriessen, Kurt Schwitters, David T. Little, Stefan Weisman, Matt Marks, John Luther Adams, Bora Yoon, I could keep going!
This week's shows will be inspired by this really cool set of events. There will be a lot of John Luther Adams! But also a ton of performances by the stellar ensembles involved in the proceedings.
How do you feel about Stravinsky's quote? I find it almost enraging, actually! I am one of the biggest Stravinsky fans I know, and yet this quote seems totally out of place given the way his music moves me. What do you think?