Program Notes from Premier of One Musician/One Magician, March 2010

Program Notes

Welcome to the maiden voyage of One Musician/One Magician! For the past several months, Jeff and I have been amusing ourselves by exploring the intersections of our respective arts, and we are delighted to present some of our findings today.

Our primary goal is to create music you can see and magic you can hear. We began with the premise that both magicians and musicians create illusions of weight, space, and time. The parallels and possibilities were so immediately apparent that it was a bit of a challenge to decide where to start.

Magic plays with pattern, expectation and surprise to achieve its effects, and most composers and improvisers hope to achieve similar goals in their music. Both magic and music are disciplines rooted in the imaginations of performers and audience alike. One large and obvious difference, however, is that music is entirely invisible. All of the elements that make music work (i.e. form, phrasing, repetition, variation, tension, resolution) may or may not be heard, felt, or perceived in the mind of the listener. For the magician’s audience, it is much easier to see that a coin has appeared or vanished, a juggling pattern has been disrupted, or a deck of cards seems to defy gravity. So, by attaching a visual to various musical elements (beat, accent, phrase, form, for example) it is my hope that the kinesthetic imagination can be activated.

The soundtrack for today’s performance comes from composer Claude Debussy and jazz pianist Chick Corea. Debussy’s Children’s Corner Suite evokes soaring mountains, adventurous (and sleepy) elephants, skittish dolls and comic cakewalks. Each piece is a study in itself of a specific aspect of time, space and energy. Corea has written some wonderfully evocative pieces as well, many of which seem to me to be more ‘about’ children than ‘for’ them. We have found these pieces especially conducive to juggling balls, vanishing coins, and gravity-defying cards. Today, we are using Corea’s music to introduce the magic tricks which will be tied to specific musical elements. The listener will then have the opportunity to continue the fun in his or her own imagination to the music of Debussy. Enjoy the show!

Michael

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