The exciting relation between chance and determination used to be an issue of discussion in the avantgarde music scene of the 60’ties. Composers were “addicted“ to complex structures. An ensured and understandable perception for listeners was not a point of much consideration for them. Complexity was estimated as an ultimate truth for itself, no matter if anyone could grasp what they had notated in their scores. The so-called serialism and aleatoric were the two opposite points of stylistic invention during this time.
Today this period of modernism is a historical phenomenon at best, quoted and presented for a small interested
audience in rare concerts.
The musical concepts have of that time failed to become an established part of the concert business, just because they were to difficult to be perceived as beautiful works of art. They had denied common textures of tension and alleviation of tension in music, which had been a crucial part of dramaturgy in compositions for many centuries. The audience was too much accustomed to dialectic structures providing us us with an inner guideline for our sensation of music.
Still, the issue of chance and determination could be an issue worth caring for in making music and in interpreting music. Nowadays performers try to controll every ever so tiny detail of their play. Nothing is left to chance. The results must be perfect to its ultimate ends –
a trend which meanwihile leads to equalised outputs at concert halls. Everything sparkles, everything is grandious,
everything is overwhelmed with virtuosity, an artistical gift every listener is more than familiar with. Nothing could cause an affaire or a scandal at the musical events and if so, the scandal
is probaly part of a media strategy for the artist’s public image. The audience of today is perfectly trained to be enthusiastic, coming across as a feature of easygoing understatement
“celebrated“ by a globalized bourgeoisie.
How can we escape the tediousness? The answer is rather simple. We need mistakes. An exicting process of musical interpretation needs the tension between a perfectly controlled performance and a simultaneous freedom to make it different at every moment during the real time of the event. If professional performers aim to extinguish any playful possibility and any fresh risk of their musical plan, they will stifle their own charism. The tension between determination and chance should be used make things lively and we should not ignore that chance in our addiction to be perfect.