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<nettime> Metal, metallurgy, music
Josephine Bosma on Sat, 26 Sep 1998 00:32:06 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Metal, metallurgy, music

"The brasses enter into music!  What does this entail in music?
If we succeed in posing the problem well- this is precisely why
I must take up again, in closely related terms, what Richard
said?if we perceive this problem well, then perhaps we may
perceive the resurgence of ancient myths that have no
connection with Berlioz or Wagner, and perhaps we will
understand more clearly how a blacksmith-music link is forged.
What happens when the brasses burst into music?  We suddenly
locate a type of sonority, but this type of sonority, if I were
to try to situate things, after Wagner and Berlioz we start
speaking of metallic sonority. Varese constructs a theory of
metallic sonorities.  But what?'s odd is that Varese straddles
the great Berlioz-Wagner tradition of brasses and electronic
music which he is one of the first to found and already to
extend [effectuer].  There is certainly a relation.  Music has
been made possible only by a kind of current of metallic music.
We would need to find out why.  Couldn't we speak of a kind of
metallization, which of course doesn't at all exhaust the whole
history of western music from the 19th century on, but isn't
there a kind of process of metallization marked for us in a
huge, visible way, made obvious by this eruption of brasses?
But that is at the instrumental level.  Isn't it this, among
other things, which , I'm not saying "determined," it's obviously
not the entry of the brasses into music which would have
determined it'I'm saying that there's a series of things which
occur concomitantly, at the same time:  the irruption of
brasses, a totally new problem of orchestration, orchestration
as a creative dimension, as forming part of the musical
composition itself, where the musician, the creator in music
becomes an orchestrator.  The piano, from a certain moment on,
is metallized.  There's the formation of a metallic framework,
and the strings are metallic.  Doesn't the metallization of the
piano coincide with a change in style, in the manner of
playing?  Couldn't one correlate, even quite vaguely, the
irruption of the brasses into music, that is to say the advent
of a kind of metallic synthesis, the creative importance that
orchestration takes on, the evolution of other instruments of
the piano type, advent of new styles, the preparation of
electronic music. And on what basis could one say that a kind of
metallic line and musical line are wed, become entangled, even
if it means separating anew;  it's not a matter of remaining
there since, in my view, this will basically prepare the advent
of an electronic music.  But perhaps it was necessary to pass
that way.  But at that very moment, [there is] no question of
saying that the crystal is finished, the crystalline line in
music continues.  At no time is Mozart surpassed by the
brasses, that goes without saying, but it's going to reappear
in a completely different form.  Varese is very much at a
crossroads:  he invokes at the same time notions like those of
prisms, metallic sonorities, which lead on to electronic music.
Just as the crystalline line passes by way of a whole complex
conception of prisms, the metallic line passes by way of a
whole complex conception of "ionization," and all that will get
entangled and it will be like the genealogical lines of an
electronic music.  Therefore it's very complicated, and it all
has interest only if you understand that these are not
metaphors.  It's not a matter of saying that Mozart's music is
like a crystal, that would only be of minimal interest, it's a
matter of saying that the crystal is an active operator in
Mozart's techniques as well as in the conception of music that
Mozart constructs for himself, in the same way that metal is an
active operator in the conception of music that musicians like
Wagner, like Berlioz, like Varese, like the "electronicians"
[Electroniciens] construct for themselves."

Gilles Deleuze
27 February 1979
Metal, metallurgy, music, Husserl, Simondon
Translated by Timothy S. Murphy
murphyx {AT} ucla.edu

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