214 Pages / Poetry
Free Compositions focuses on music, the aspect of melos we find in recitation. It is also concerned with composition on a painted canvas as enacting that “voice” as well. The interrelation between speaking and pitched tonality modulates the “freedom” each of these texts seeks at the level of their performance. On the musical side, thilleman conjures the cabaret techniques of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire in order to ballast the first of his own three compositions. With the second composition, Yeats’s fascination with Titian’s last painting, “The Flaying of Marsyas,” a signal moment we have come to term “the renaissance,” is mirrored through various page-based choreographies. In the third and final composition, the great jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s circular breathing technique integrates the idea of the poem as instrument simultaneously played alongside recitation, synthesizing the idea of composition to a temporal and spatial scale that tempts the limits of mere inscription or demarcation.
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