bertrand and snow in sincerity of evans
outside my window is swirl of grey and blue. the mountains appearing and disappearing, as wind brings the thin veil of floating snowflakes around the quiet afternoon.
i have much work to do however i am not able to concentrate on task on hand. this is rather unfortunate since even if i work around the clock, i will not be able to complete as many tasks i would like to. but what is the point of getting angry at the score- it wont reveal anything to me, until i take the time to sit down with it and have a real conversation.
hey score, what are you all about, really, what are you trying to tell me? i know you are just a messenger and that you probably will bring me more questions than answers. but i still want to know what you need and want to tell me. i will stay quiet and pay attention, i will try. and if i cant listen and see what you need to show me, i may as well leave you for now, rather than trying to mold you from me. you are already set in concrete form, black inks on white pages. i am the flexible being in this relationship. until i commit and take a closer look, you wont show me what you know.
instead of work, im filling this afternoon up to the rim with sound of ravel and bill evans. there's this crazy pianist by name mark ponthus at mannes school of music, new york. i was studying at the contemp. institute couple years ago, and i still remember the way he played le gibet in the concert. gaspard de la nuit is often abused work in piano world. it's flashy, it's pretty. it's all things that may be abused for competitions and egos. the gruesomeness, the sense of inevitability and sinister often gets lost as we get carried away with this exciting kinestatic sensation of playing faster and louder.
but once one goes back and look at bertrand's poetry, it becomes impossible to look at its beauty without that bitter taste in your mouth. like some magical perfume you pick up, and you first sense a deep, rich, enticing romanticism, sweet, pleasant, relaxing each strands of your muscle fibre. but when the first note finished, one is left with such foul finishing note, noxious, bitter and lingering. so unexpected and thick, that you can taste the smell. leaving you with a sense of paralysis in the very center of your brain, limbs hanging limp from post-pleasure, now paying for that pleasure. the french symbolist poets- starting with bertrand to baudelaire and marllarme, extending to the larger group called les mardistes, really knew about the price of decadent pleasure. les fleurs du mal being a prime example. not fantastic but rather, phantastic literature.
for those who wonder what gaspard is all about, there are some translation of the three poems of bertrand that ravel drew from. gaspard refers to the man in charge of the royal treasures: "Gaspard of the Night or the treasurer of the night thus creates allusions to someone in charge of all that is jewel-like, dark, mysterious, perhaps even morose," according to siglind bruhn's 1997 publication on extrinsic meaning of music of debussy, ravel and messiane.
in contrast, bill evans, my favorite jazz pianist of all times, is the epitome of sincerity. one of those few people, who looks almost shy because they are so honest. when you look at them in the eyes, they almost blush, then calmly meet your gaze with evenness and calmness, then, may be then they crack a small smile, barely there, in their eyes and just on the corner of their lips. they listen not just with ears, but with intensity of their entire body. they draw sympathetic resonance from you and once they speak, you can't help it but to drop every other thing, lean forward and listen. intimate enough to be inaudible. but clearly spoken, not rushed and not forced. and you must also listen at the same pace with them; but not a such a difficult task, since they will also speak with your pace. pulses not beating simultaneously, but together.
i never had the chance to meet evans, i was born way too late and in a different continent. but when i first heard him playing nardis, i felt as if i already knew this guy. from the audio track, he spoke clearly, surely and slowly. with intensity of warm glowing fire. steady and charismatic. listening to my favorite album of his, conversations with myself, always bring me back closer to my center. and fortunately, there are several characters who are much like evans in my life. assured, calm and quiet. as i keep running away from hype and noise, i seek out these individuals. i would love to be something close to them one day. to be able to plant my feet on ground and be able to really look at reality, without cynisism or sarcasm.
so here goes my afternoon. and i am taking a leave of absence from my own busy, work-cluttered, messy place for another hour. alternating between the sickly-sweet decadence of ravel's gaspard and embarassingly honest bill evans, i am sinking into the mud called life, enjoying both sides of one coin.
i believe it all will be fine, may be.