Golden Fur in Sydney

Here is a really weird review by Rachel Orzech of the concert Golden Fur did for New Music Network in Sydney last weekend, containing music by Liza Lim, Kate Neal, Alvin Lucier, Jaap Blonk and Marco Fusinato. It’s weird in the sense that Orzech seems fairly confident in her assertions of what the ‘average listener’ would like to have been done differently, but doesn’t criticise the musicianship in any way whatsoever. In my experience, the ‘average listener’ at a concert of this sort of repertoire is there to, er, listen. Maybe they know what a pure wave oscillator is, and maybe they don’t, but ultimately this is utterly irrelevant to the success or otherwise of the work.

In the case of the Marco Fusinato piece, while it might be both interesting and informative to see the artworks that constitue the score, having these visible during the performance of the work would, I think, prove overly limiting in terms of how the audience is then invited to interact with the sounds themselves. The audience would effectively be encouraged to listen for a 1:1 relationship between image and sound, which is never a constructive way to listen to a performance, regardless of the work.

I don’t know. Maybe things like emphasising concert structure, or explaining how a piece works are actually important. But they can’t possibly be remotely so important as the sounds themselves. And, as I said at the start, I just find Orzech’s almost myopic focus on issues such as lack of eye contact or explanatory verbiage really… weird.

Golden Fur is something to experience with your ears and your mind. Everything else is sundry. And I wish I’d been there.

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