Mar 092010

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Radio 3 broadcast, (8th January 2010)


The primary tension for me was (and is) between freedom and repression. I missed WR Mysteries of the Organism, but in the sexual realm it was during the late 1970’s that I saw Ai No Corida at the cinema in Notting Hill (the 1976 Japanese film based on a true story from 1930’s Japan). In fact I got to see it twice before the film was banned, the second time with two women. I remember we were not turned on.


But shocked we certainly were, the shock of meeting an example of ‘utmost concreteness’ (to use Uncle Wally’s phrase) with the sex on screen being very much for real, along with a way of being in a film which was not on the face of it pornographic -  ‘to be is to communicate’ like Mikhail Mikhailovitch Bakhtin said – only contradictory. It was beautiful but it wasn’t sexy, and so on, and so on. Only contradictions. It just did not make any sense.


After that my tension around freedom and repression remained in a confused state for the next two decades (remember the Falklands War, remember the fall of Communism, and the invasion of Kuwait and the first Iraq War), and beyond that. But in recent times I have begun to follow the tension through. Now there is also pretension, attention, and contention. I have begun to argue back.


A week ago I wrote about ‘where immense life is possible’ being for Valentin Silvestrov the ‘area of the Coda’, in other words repetitions, doublings back, and discontinuities. And capriciousness. For instance, during that BBC Radio 3 broadcast in January I was listening to Kirill Karabits describe the music of Silvestrov’s Serenade for Strings, like the figure and ground of a powerful personal memory which emerges from and descends back into chaos, except with his strong Ukrainian accent ‘chaos’ was not the word I heard him say.