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Miguel Costa 09467574

Intimacy of Creativity Report


For this report, I have chosen to review Matthew Tommasinis piece, Awaken This Feeling. This is in no way a self-interested endeavor. I have chosen to review this piece because it strikes me as perhaps the most moving of the pieces that appeared in the Intimacy of Creativity. This is because as a piece about continual failure in the process of getting somewhere it reflects the entire scientific endeavor. As an engineer, my interpretation of this piece gives me a message that resonates with my views and experiences. As the professor explained, the title is derived from a statement of Einsteins, where he links art, science and religion as forces that are compelling to mankind because they appeal to the primordial feelings that drive us all. With that in mind, this piece can be interpreted as illustrating the most primal, instinctual elements of a search for enlightenment. The piece opens on a single scale piano that starts as almost homage to Pachelbels Canon, with a similar melody to the opening of that piece. However, a stark contrast emerges as the scale begins to descend exponentially, giving an early implication of failure, overlaid with an eerie wail from the string quartet. Interestingly, the characteristic descending scale itself is rising, to give a feeling of reaching out. Simultaneously, the brokenness of melody shows the incompleteness of each endeavor, and seems to imply progress through a series of small failures. A sense of communication is then established between the members of the quartet. The message at this point seems to be somewhere between a feeling of exhilaration and a struggle. One gets the impression of a search for order. In this sense each successive movement seems to illustrate a new, different attempt. The quartet begins to operate in a question and answer format with one violin starting each part and the trio answering. Eventually they begin to cooperate as a whole and even move into sync, moving into rapid arpeggiation. At this point there is a constant transition between high, distinct, concerto-style sequences that are reminiscent of Bach and harsh, almost sibilant juxtaposition of various instruments. The string quartet shifts in and out of phase, playing descending scales in polyphonic registers. Whenever the quartet is in phase an incredible synchronization between members of the quartet is necessary. There are abrupt halts at the end of each sequence, with sequence beginning again with renewed vigor. The dynamics have been modified since the original rehearsals to better fit the pieces mood. Along the progression of the piece, the quartet has been always accompanied by a relatively energetic sequence on piano, always present in the background (the cosmic forces?). The fact that the piece started on the piano implies that the quartet is the voice of the efforts of the individual in the search for enlightenment. There is a sudden midway lull in the piece with low notes from piano and lonely accompaniment by a single violin. Each time the lull shortens and accompaniment becomes more frantic, involving more of the other members of the quartet. The violin solos have been tweaked since rehearsals, better bringing out the harsher notes the instrument is capable of and adding to the mood.

Miguel Costa 09467574 The piece then resumes its original structure with variations. The piano is now providing strong, low notes in accompaniment to the quartet, almost like bells. Important to note is that in the rehearsals the piano was originally understated, this has been altered to better highlight the role of the piano. Now the low notes ring out strongly and distinctly. The quartet begins to break out of phase as the piece becomes more and more energetic while retaining some semblance of the original structure. It culminates in a chaotic, overlapping pattern for a rousing conclusion, the eureka moment. Dynamics and instrumental work have been refined since the rehearsals, resulting in a more expressive piece as a whole. The pre-concert open discussions were a crucial step in the creative process, giving the piece and performers small tweaks to better align the many components of the piece with the composers message. Overall this has been an exciting piece to listen to with its various tempos and scale changes, along with the rich textures that appeared with powerful dynamics. I found it significantly easier to follow than the other postmodern pieces. In this sense this is a piece that deserves merit for telling both a compelling message and being easy to enjoy.