MusingMuso Posted February 10, 2008 Share Posted February 10, 2008 It's so long ago since I studied the works of these two organ-composers with any degree of seriousness; not really having an organ which I can play such things on. However, it seems to me that both men had a fascination with musical ideas and rhtyhms far beyond France and Europe: in the case of Messaien, it included a study of Indian-Hindi talus rhyhms and bird-song. I forget the exact influences on Alain, but the end-products are eloquent testimony to a remarkable imagination and great orginality. When I listen to much contemporary music (from France or elsewhere) it seems to be so stuck in the mould of French music; though I am sure that there are notable exceptions. Wasn't Arabian music an inspiration to Satie? It seems to me, that great things can happen when musical motifs and ideas are used creatively and blended with the indigenous music familiar to a particular composer, but perhaps music has reached a certain cul-de-sac, where eveything has been done before at least once. On the other hand, I have an absolutely superb piece on CD, which I think was probably improvised originally, but which is so striking and so different, I listen to it quite regularly. I refer to a CD recording made by Joyce Jones at the vast instrument of West Point Military Academy, New Jersey, USA, on which she plays the meditation on a Japanese popular melody, which without digging out the CD case, I think is called "Aka Tombo". It is THE most atmospheric and beautiful work, whether it is written down or not, with all sorts of hints at Zen Buddhism, mysterious bells and wind-chimes (etc). What I find remarkable is not only the use of Japanese modes, as one might expect, but the way it is blended beautifully with what I can only describe as French impressionistic harmony. The other day, I heard during the night, some Persian solo-vocal music, and this too had an ethereal, haunting quality which I found quite fascinating. My question is this: what unusual music or foreign native style could provide the sort of inspiration for new organ-music; perhaps music which may yield something as unusual and original as that composed by Messaien, Satie or Alain? MM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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