FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 1989-2004


Bert Noglik


JUNE 20th, '88

June, three days before the beginning of summer. Daylight lasting well into the evening. A premiere is about to take place: Cecil Taylor's first appearance in the GDR. The grand piano on the well lit stage. Silence. From the background, voices and steps can be heard. Cecil Taylor has arrived. His presence gives a suspended feeling of time throughout the length of the concert. The word 'concert' seems to be an inadequate description. Cecil Taylor starts off by dancing, reciting, singing. He checks out the space, filling it with the characteristic dynamic of his music, expanding, contracting, above all opening out. Taylor is there, both as poet and pianist, a complete personality. The concert turns into a performance of magical intensity. Musically, Taylor flashes all his skills as a piano player - a kind of pianistic resume, always allowing for further development. Improvisation as a life process. Progression, hesitation, pushing, stagnation, powerful increase and thoughtful, casual questioning. Unbelievable how gentle Taylor's touch can be. The power in his music is not due to the so called aggressiveness, but to the sensitivity, as well as the vulnerability. One feels he is at one - with the room, the audience. The dense notes and changes can actually be felt physically, decipherable through concentrated awareness. The encores - miniatures, character studies, balanced experiences. Taylor breathes life into the piano and causes the whole room to vibrate. Once asked by a British interviewer what he felt about the use of the word 'erotic' in connection with one of his concerts, Taylor replied: "Ha! That's a good word. Yes - loving, joyful, celebration!". In Taylor's music the all-enveloping sensuosness melts together with wisdom. - Something radiated out from Cecil Taylor's concert in the 'Kammerspiele' of the 'Deutsches Theater'. Mindful contemplation of the contradictions and the surrender to the march of time. The depth of experience as in one of André Breton's descriptions: "Beauty must be like a QUIVER, otherwise it can't exist."

Translation: Paul Lytton

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