The Turner Prize artist making a mockery of classical music

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IcedNote
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The Turner Prize artist making a mockery of classical music

Post by IcedNote » Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:09 pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/what-to- ... -to-music/
Are there any barriers left for the Turner Prize to break? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. None of the short-listed artists in previous years has ever offered a piece of music. This year, Janice Kerbel, a Canadian-born artist now living in the UK, has done exactly that.

Or has she? Granted, her piece displays all the signs of being a real piece of music. Doug, as Kerbel’s piece is called, has to be performed live, by a group of singers, with a conductor. There’s a proper score, written with the usual apparatus of notes, staves and bar-lines, divided into nine movements. These tell the story in rhyming verse of a character named Doug, who suffers one tragi-comic mishap after another.

It’s the score and the use of trained musicians that separates Kerbel’s piece from the numerous “sound installations” found in contemporary art galleries nowadays, or from work by artists including Susan Philipz (Turner prize-winner in 2010) who use musical elements such as singing in their artworks.

Dig a little deeper, though, and doubts may start to creep in. Kerbel says her piece has to be done in the appropriate context of a contemporary art gallery. Performing it in a concert hall wouldn’t be quite right. The reason, she says, is that although she’s using the materials of music, she doesn’t want to surrender to them entirely. She wants to hold them at a distance, so as not to slip into conventional ways of being "musical". This is why she learned just enough music theory to be able to compose the piece, without burdening herself with classical music’s vast inherited culture.

A plausible-sounding idea. But remember the old adage: "If it quacks like a duck, and flies like a duck, then it’s a duck". Kerbel’s piece behaves just like a piece of music, and that forces us to treat it like one. And by the standards we apply to a piece of music, this one is simply not very good.

It often sounds as if it were composed by a computer armed with a peculiarly unsophisticated composing algorithm. The vocal parts are full of ungainly leaps and very rapid rhythms, which must make it excruciatingly hard to sing.

To mutter under one’s breath, “Well, this just sounds like a really awkwardly-written piece, but I must put that feeling aside, because I’m missing the point,” won’t solve the problem. That would be an example of what Jean-Paul Sartre called "bad faith", i.e. being false to one’s true feelings, in order to keep up with the trendy crowd.

I don’t want to accuse Kerbel herself of bad faith. I think her attempt to break through to a different way of using musical materials is completely sincere. But the awkward results are a warning that the language and materials of music won’t passively submit to being pushed around, with no regard for their essential nature. They need to be treated with respect, or they’ll take their revenge.
:roll: :roll: :roll:

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

jbuck919
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Re: The Turner Prize artist making a mockery of classical mu

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:51 pm

Of course no one has submitted a piece of music for the Turner Prize before. It is specifically for the visual arts, and sufficiently controversial within those bounds without the need to go outside them. Her outrageous apologia aside, it seems to me that she should be disqualified out of hand for breaking a basic rule of the competition.

Here is some of Kerbel's visual art, juxtaposed with samples from other artists, most of whom seem to me to have more to offer than Kerbel.

http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/201 ... -jeffries/

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

stenka razin
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Re: The Turner Prize artist making a mockery of classical mu

Post by stenka razin » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:01 pm

Where is the music? :roll:

Regards,
Mel :shock:
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John F
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Re: The Turner Prize artist making a mockery of classical mu

Post by John F » Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:57 pm

There's a YouTube clip about "Doug," with this caption:
Canadian artist Janice Kerbel’s operatic work DOUG takes the fictional character through nine imagined catastrophes. The character originally debuted in the form of a blog and is typical of Kerbel’s use of conventional modes of narrative in order to craft elaborate, fictional forms, or as she puts it to ‘see if there’s a way to inhabit some kind of existing language’.

Her precisely constructed works often take the form of audio recordings, performance and printed matter. DOUG is an operatic piece comprising of nine songs for six voices. Song titles include ‘Fall’ ‘Choke’ ‘Crash’ ‘Strike’ and ‘Sink’. Voice, rhythmic verse and the structures inherent in music are used to give shape to the disastrous events that befall him.
The clip contains no music at all, just Kerbel yammering on about it.
John Francis

barney
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Re: The Turner Prize artist making a mockery of classical mu

Post by barney » Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:19 am

stenka razin wrote:Where is the music? :roll:

Regards,
Mel :shock:
Don't know about the Turner prize, but the CD in your signature is a marvellous bit of music. I listened to it two nights ago. What a great piece the Ravel G major is, and widely played these days.

stenka razin
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Re: The Turner Prize artist making a mockery of classical mu

Post by stenka razin » Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:39 am

barney wrote:
stenka razin wrote:Where is the music? :roll:

Regards,
Mel :shock:
Don't know about the Turner prize, but the CD in your signature is a marvellous bit of music. I listened to it two nights ago. What a great piece the Ravel G major is, and widely played these days.
barney, I totally agree, Ms. Wang is sensational in the two Ravel Concertos and especially in the G Major.

Regards,
Mel 8)

P.S. My new cover is the brilliant Ms. Rana who should have won the Cliburn prize, but here is a pic of her brand new first CD cover from Warners. I look forward to hearing her performance. 8)
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