Bernard Holland has a funny piece in today’s Times about setting out to listen to Marc-André Dalvavie’s new CD and getting mugged instead by an roving gang of French musical poseurs. A couple of choice bon mots:
So breathless were the revelations contained in this essay, called “Space, Line, Color,” it seemed for a moment the music could wait. Expounding on hearing, space and your stereo system, it reads: “while right/left movement can be recreated, front/back movement is replaced by a sensation of sound advancing or receding.” So it’s true that sound is softer when it is farther away than when it is in front of you. That will be useful the next time I come across a marching band going down the street.
Here is another verbal space walk: “Hence some of” Mr. Dalbavie’s “works do not limit their musical space to the concert platform, but extend to the entire hall,” he writes. “The defocalisation thus achieved calls into question the spatial hierarchy resulting from any frontal presentation of the music.”
I sure wish Gabrieli had thought about that 450 years ago; imagine the antiphonal music he could have written, with sound flying from every direction at people standing in the middle of his church.