|||

christian wolff and writing music

In October 2010 I listened to Adrian Heathfield and Jonathan Burrows in dialogue as part of Performance Matters at Toynbee Studios in London. They read – or perhaps performed – an email exchange that had occurred between them in the months leading up to the event.

At some point in the evening, Jonathan quoted composer Christian Wolff’s four dictums for writing music1:

  • A composition must make possible the freedom and dignity of the performer.
  • It should allow both concentration and release.
  • No sound or noise is preferable to any other sound or noise.
  • Listeners should be as free as the players

What I like about these ideas is the overwhelming sense of respect within them: respect for artists, respect for audiences, and respect for the work itself.

The full exchange between Heathfield and Burrows can be read at http://www.jonathanburrows.info/#/text/?id=102&t=content


  1. These were published in Audio Culture: Readings In Modern Music, a book edited by Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (2004).↩︎

Up next arfaot and dramaturgy in sassari I’m currently working with Igor Urzelai and Moreno Solinas – igor and moreno — on their latest project A Room For All Our Tomorrows (ARFAOT). We are Attention, friendship and dramaturgy
Latest posts belonging is stronger than facts Now: 25 July 2021 weakness of the flesh choreography and explaining jokes 2004 and 2021 elvis legs grateful love the infinite game and choreography choosing to pay Now: 17 April 2021 the eyes of the other loneliness, uncertainty and boredom better left unsaid 120fps le mani lil making postcards before they love sneaky aspects of group deliberation informational heartbeats what gordon parks saw rhoneisms ideology mean world syndrome dream baby dream and joy xkcd hug count the families if then else nobody the competency model the art of reading question your teaspoons