Gigs, dance, art

October 2nd, 2010: Pierre Berthet

@instants chavirés

Pierre Berthet performed Tom Johnson’s Galileo, a work for 5 pendulums of precisely defined lengths. There’s a clear system there, which was evident pretty quickly. First he used each of the pendulums alone, then two, and so on until all five were in play, using every combination in a predictable sequence. There are more details here.

It looked very challenging to play, but the precision of the system also allowed it to fall into the background. The resonating pendulums had a nice feel, even though some didn’t sound as well as the others.

As usual with that kind of music, the interesting part for me lies in the choices. Even knowing that a pendulum would only be struck just after it reached its closest point to the performer, that still leaves a lot of decisions about how to do that, and there’s also a selection as to which pendulum to strike. Here there’s the simple fact that the performer cannot possibly do some sequences, but even having five that could strike on each swing would just ruin the thing. So that what may sound like a dry formula that constraints creativity turns out to be something completely different. If anything it opens up a rich rhythmic universe. I still felt it was a bit on the stilted side because of the strict sequence, but within each part, especially later with more pendulums in play, it worked well.


October 10, 2010 - Posted by | Music | ,

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