Reply To: Encounter in the Wild from an LH/RH Perspective

  • Peter Barus

    January 5, 2023 at 2:50 am

    Don, this reminded me of an interview with Phillip Glass that stunned me.

    Nadia Boulanger had taught Glass about the relationship of technique and style. It happened when she assigned him an exercise in harmony. He followed all the rules of voicing, and constructed the passage correctly. Still she shook her head. “But Mademoiselle Boulanger, every note is correct,” he protested. “I know,” she replied, “But it is still wrong.”

    Ancient Zen masters nod approvingly. Correct, but still wrong!

    It was then, Glass said, that he understood what she was teaching him. “Before you can have a style, you have to have technique,” he recalled. “It is the only basis for choice, otherwise you just have a series of accidents.” But it’s more than the sum of its parts: not a question of attaining a voice through technique. “It’s getting rid of the thing,” he explained.

    Reading “The Matter With Things,” there’s an astonishing passage about beauty being the supreme measure of any great achievement, whether philosophical, mathematical, scientific, literary, or artistic.