Saturday, June 10, 2006

A walk in the woods

from an interview, Lawrence Weschler on Norman O. Brown*:

... I took a walk with him—this must have been 10 or 15 years ago—in the forest outside Santa Cruz. And he was saying, “It’s all been a huge mistake.” I said, “What’s been a mistake?” He said “Freud, Marx, wrong, wrong, wrong.” I said, “What are you talking about.” “Chance,” he said. “I never took chance seriously enough. [John] Cage should have been my master.”

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*I was also fortunate to have Brown as a teacher. I will forever be in his debt: he was patient with my words, he presented me to John Cage, and blessed my graduate study with a recommendation to go to Wesleyan. Officially "Professor of Humanities", and originally a classicist, in the end that which he taught his students, following the example of Charles Olson, was posture, and if composing is about anything at all, it's about posture. Try this: the next time you play or listen to a piece of music, ask yourself if the composer has posture? Has she or he taken a stance towards sounds or silence? Towards the world, towards you, the listener? Does the composer love the world enough to risk the inherently violent act of putting sounds into it in order to change it?

1 comment:

Secret Rapture said...

I corresponded with Brown for years and discuss him extensively on my site.

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