Paul Moravec quotes

Paul Moravec

I had the oppor­tu­nity to hear a lec­ture by Paul Moravec last week on the topic of music and mem­ory. He’s the 2004 Puiltzer Prize win­ner, so I was hon­ored to be able to lis­ten to what he had to say, some of which was quite quotable!

For instance, he said “Time is the medium of music.” How so? Well, because we can’t make sense of music with­out being able to remem­ber music from ear­lier in the com­po­si­tion. We were also encour­aged to make sense of music that is in our own mem­ory, from child­hood, per­haps, and con­sider how it affects us as com­posers today.

When we see some­thing with our eyes, we try to make sense of it. When we hear music. it goes more directly to the sub­con­scious. Think about how that affects us over the years when we hear a great piece of music again and again.

We got into a con­ver­sa­tion about how music should have a cer­tain inevitabil­ity to it. Paul Moravec added: “But if it’s inevitable and you can see it com­ing a mile away, what good is that?”

And finally: “A bridge will col­lapse if all the ten­sion goes out of it. So will a composition.”

Some things to think about!

About Richard D. Russell

This was written by Richard D. Russell, New York City based composer of fine music.