Marek Piaček: Rivers, human, bridges
The composition Rivers, People and Bridges (Rieky, ľudia, mosty / Řeky, lidé, mosty) is an electroacoustic composition inspired by the unique genius loci of two Central European cities, Bratislava and Prague, and their rivers, the Danube and the Vltava. Its basic sound material includes recordings of the real audio environment of five of Bratislava’s and five of Prague’s bridges and the surroundings of their rivers. The forty-minute composition is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia, as the common republic of the Czechs and the Slovaks. It was commissioned by Czech Radio for its programme called PremEdice Radioateliéru.
Marek Piaček: Rieky, ľudia, mosty
My creative poetry is based on my belief that sound already becomes part of music activity once the process of perceiving it starts in the author’s or listener’s mind. Music does not abandon natural sounds, it does not separate itself from them. On the contrary, it includes all of them with their infinite variability.
The music-making process, musical reality – music – to me is a generally present power and process whose essence is action. Action (in the sense of music action) is an atom of music reality happening in no-timeness. The music action keeps changing the incessant sound process into a music process. It doesn’t always need to be only motivated; it may also be aimless and caused by simple perception of sound or silence. In this way, the music-making action blurs the border between the composer and the listener.
We usually and kind of automatically separate music from the world of sound but music can’t be separated from it. It can emerge naturally and spontaneously from the very interior of the present world of sound. It can be the result of interacting perception, which makes it possible to see the beauty of the world of sound and provide this beauty with the maximum of its existence.
The practice of composition to me is only a practical aspect of any music-making process. It’s a synonym for the music action and it is also an act of refashioning real sound stories into music. Rivers, People and Bridges is such an act of discovering musicality in real sound stories.
I recorded many sounds, noises and sound situations, atmospheres and ambient sounds. I recorded and collected various extracts of my own or other musicians’ compositions, songs and symphonies connected with our Central European area – the area between the Danube and the Vltava. Each sound – a sequence of sounds and noises, a music theme, song or part of a symphony – is to me – and, hopefully, for the listener as well – a music event and a building block of composition. Those who take part in it should not deal with the value of a music event (its length, density, seriousness, originality, origin and quality). Instead, they should be inspired by it and include it in their own personal music-making process.
Each sequence of sounds is an event that creates meaning. When connected, they create other sequences of events generating other meanings. In the composer’s mind these meanings differ from those in the listener’s mind. The non-reducing correlation of music / sound events creates an infinite and unique universe of meanings. The richness of these universes’ structures is influenced by the value system of each listener, the participant in the music-making process. The more we are capable of perceiving these events without assessing them, i.e. without limits and openly, the more meanings they create for us…
After finishing Rivers, People and Bridges I found myself in silence for a moment. However, once I opened the door and went to the city streets, I was in the middle of the same sound reality in which I had been making this composition all the time, but it was intensified by the experience of creating the composition.
In conclusion, as part of a kind of creative listening game, I offer one of the possible coincidences of meanings of the events included in the composition – of course, without putting them in order by importance, and so without assessing them.
…port bridge – software max/msp – beginning – trains – prehistoric ocean – creatures – (alien) satellite – a builder’s creation and birth – subversive beaver – steam train – the ruler’s arrival and welcoming – white noise – ruler’s rejection – children playing – river – the wind bringing extracts from a Central European symphony – barking dogs – travelling caravan – ships and boats – building – subversive beaver – workmen and tools – falls – river – different bridges and connections – the fifth – trams – more max/msp – danzón – cars – footsteps – traffic – muzak – hypermarket – tram – café – muzak – Charles bridge – glass harp – tourists – tuning – amateur opera – other tourists – urban folklore – philosopher – more tourists – freedom, peace – singing and playing children – hey! engagé brass band – silence – the universe – piece – the end – begin…