Writings about Music
The words, "Azure Pure", taken from ancient Chinese poetry, appeal to me because they represent my best musical intentions. One central course is how I endeavor to have every composition be unique rather than repeating or copying a previous effort. This requires the listener to hear anew as opposed to expecting a familiar sonic experience. Even for myself, I sometimes go back to listen to an earlier work, and find myself impatient because the content and form are so dissimilar to what I’ve just completed. Such cleansing of the aural palette is something we’re sometimes too preoccupied to do, but it is the most rewarding way to hear music.
That said, my slow-moving, sparely orchestrated compositions, in addition to inherent intellectual components, are largely meditative entities, and may even be best listened to while reclining. And if one falls asleep, going too far into a relaxed state, that’s fine, too. Maybe the next time you will hear the entire piece!
Even more, its gratifying to hear from others how even my tumultuous, complexly voiced compositions may be meditative as well, if one recognizes such multitudinous, even frenzied utterances as simply another form of beauty.
Elaborating on the above, a review of my music perceptably states: "Yet while all of the productions have certain things in common, what's equally significant is that Robinson consistently finds a way to individuate each one from the next; stated otherwise, his music retains the capacity to surprise, decades on from when it first appeared. " This is a quality I pride myself on - not repeating or copying myself, instead delving deep to find new aspects of my musical imagination and feelings. Thus, if one listens to my music and expects it to be similar to other music, they will be disappointed and lose patience. And the same holds true if one listens to any composition of mine expecting it to sound like one of my pieces they're already familiar with. In fact, this sometimes frustrates even myself because there are occasions when I go back to listen to an earlier work, and find I must completely reorient my listening expectations because the content and form is so different from what I've completed most recently.
King Tching Thang, more commonly known as Confucius, was said to have these words engraved on his bathing tub:
I interpret this to apply to music composition and the performances I create representing an aesthetic ideal.
- Michael Robinson, February 2019, Los Angeles
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Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).