Thought provoking "In C" concert offered Sunday
Many people are familiar with the improvisational excitement abundant within the pitches and rhythms of jazz music. But how many people recognize the poetic improvisation that is woven into the tapestry of classical music?
On Sunday, (Feb. 24) at 7:30 p.m. in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, MSU's Division of Music will be hosting a recital of Terry Riley’s minimalist classical piece, "In C," organized by Erik Anderson, associate music professor, and performed by over 25 musicians of all ages. This ensemble collaborates as a single musical voice, using everything from symphonic, classical instruments to electric instruments more commonly associated with rock and roll. The result will truly be a one-of-a-kind event.
"One of the principle tenets to this piece is that small changes over long periods of time take on greater meaning," explained Anderson. "Over long periods of time there are subtle changes in the rhythmic vocabulary and pitch as a whole - accidentals (different notes) are introduced seemingly surreptitiously, eventually adopted and brought to life by the other members of the ensemble, kind of like improvisation in jazz. With every member of the ensemble proceeding through the 53 measures independently - stopping, starting and repeating at will--nothing is predictable and no two performances are ever the same."
In the 1960's Reilly developed the minimalist style using repetitive ideas, which at the time stood in stark contrast to the complexity of classical music of the time. The effect is a testament to the essence of disciplined classical poetic improvisation, producing an hypnotic, trance-like state that excites the imagination.
Anderson organized a performance of "In C" eight years ago, performed by an ensemble of 10 stringed instruments. He said he had been toying with the idea for the past few years and introducing it to students in various classes and workshops.
"When approached in a disciplined way, this experience really demonstrates all the best skills of communication, listening and musical expression," Anderson explained. "Unlike other, more complex pieces of music, with this event it really doesn’t matter the level of musical sophistication. This piece offers everyone a thought provoking experience that can’t be readily categorized."