Youth, to paraphrase some smart geezer, may be wasted on the young. But music doesn't have to be. (Jon Pareles, "Out of Tune With the Times?" in New York Times, 1988-04-24)
The danger ... is that the illusion of infinite choice may well belie the forces of coercion and manipulation which steer that choice, and the fact that despite the appearance of greater autonomy, our choices are increasingly similar to those of everyone else around us. (Stephen Purcell, "The Impact of New Forms of Public Performance," in Shakespeare and the Digital World, ed. Carson and Kirwan, 2014, p. 222)
[Hamlet] is brilliantly constructed moment by moment to convey a sense at once of a hopeless stasis, of endless talk and nothing decisive happening, and of a machine hurtling helplessly towards a conclusion at once longed for and fought against.
This doubleness is felt by every viewer and reader, but it is very difficult to hold on to. For if we try to understand the play, to fathom its deepest springs, we lose the sense of its unfolding in time, while if we focus on its relentless forward motion we feel ourselves being carried not towards understanding but away from it. And all the while this double movement precisely mirrors Hamlet's own experience. (Gabriel Josipovici, Hamlet: Fold on Fold, Yale Univ. Press, 2016, p. 8)
The central, medium-independent content of free improvisation is the improviser’s disclosure of him- or herself, from the first person perspective. ...
Think of how music can convey an emotion such as agitation—with rapid flurries of notes, loud dynamics, dissonant pitch combinations it can model the restlessness and unease of an agitated emotional state. ... What is being represented is the state of the improviser, the first person perspective on the performance, in the medium of organized sound. ...
The expressive part of free improvisation’s content can be described—we can say of a player that his line is agitated or her harmonies are anxious—but in itself it isn’t description. Through the agitated line or anxious harmonies the performer isn’t describing his or her state but rather is expressing it.The only caveat I would have for that is: don't underestimate the power of acting. My playing may be agitated, but I may be pretending, not expressing....
Out in the middle of the glaring night, somewhere disguised in echo and phase-interference, chimes had begun to sound, a harmonic-minor nocturne too desolately precise to be attributable to human timing and muscle-power, more likely one of the clockwork carillons peculiar to this part of Belgium, replacing a live carillonneur, whose art was said to be in decline.... (p. 562)Now, that's a damn sentence. I am constantly stunned and enchanted by his writing here, which rivals Gravity's Rainbow in its strange power. Here's some more:
It was said that great tunnels like the Simplon or St.-Gotthard were haunted, that when the train entered and the light of the world, day or night, had to be abandoned for the time of passage however brief, and the mineral roar made conversation impossible, then certain spirits who once had chosen to surrender into the fierce intestinal darkness of the mountain would reappear among the paying passengers, take empty seats, drink negligibly from the engraved glassware in the dining cars, assume themselves into the rising shapes of tobacco smoke, whisper a propaganda of memory and redemption to salesmen, tourists, the resolutely idle, the uncleansably rich, and other practitioners of forgetfulness, who could not sense the visitors with anything like the clarity of fugitives, exiles, mourners, and spies--all those, that is, who had reached agreement, even occasions of intimacy, with Time. (p. 659)
The writers who influenced me [among them Joyce and Flann O'Brien] did so because of the deeper influence of genetic coding. They agreed with my own artistic necessities, which are: an obsessive concern with formal structure, a dislike of the replication of experience, a love of digression and embroidery, a great pleasure in false or ambiguous information, a desire to invent problems that only the invention of new forms can solve, and a joy in making mountains out of molehills. (from "Genetic Coding," in Something Said: Essays, p. 265)