CADAQUÉSAN LANDSCAPE (2017) 6'
piano, mechanical music box and two metronomes
No.111 - View Score
(Also available for 4 hands)
Salvador Dalí’s 1931 painting The Persistence of Memory served as the inspiration for this composition, firstly with its famous melting clocks characterised by multiple phasing metronomes, but more importantly, for the overarching sense of anxiety induced in me when observing much of Dalí’s work. In Cadaquésan Landscape I try to recreate the desperation I expect to experience should I ever stumble upon a similar formation to Dalí’s scene, which he depicts on a beach likely representing the Cap de Creus, in Spain’s municipal region of Cadaqués. I am fascinated by the (im)possibility of finding such a setting and construction in the real world, with it also inspiring my 2012 installation, Clockwork Études.
Dalí believed that the world is comprised of both soft and hard aspects, somewhat akin to how the human body has soft flesh and hard bones, or how consciousness goes from the softness of sleep into the hardness of waking reality. In this composition, there is a point when the second metronome (which shifts out of time) ceases to be a delayed shadow of the first, and instead establishes a back-beat, until it continues shifting forwards to form a foreshadow and eventually resolves back into synchronicity. I can never determine the precise instances of these shifts, however. There is seemingly an indefinable moment where hardness softens.
I have often had dreams in which previously unheard music has played. However, upon waking the details are mostly irretrievable. The interrupted use of a music box in this work portrays this difficulty in recollection, with the performer teasing out individual notes so as to hide the full nature of the content hidden within the music box’s cylinder. What remains to a thread when the passing of time is obstructed or never truly allowed to flow?
Coincidentally, while writing the piece, Dalí’s body was exhumed in order to collect samples for a paternity test. The embalmer (who also helped with the exhumation) was said to be delighted that the artist’s moustache was still intact and in his preferred ‘10 past 10’ position. It seems that time was impeded there also...
09.09.17 - Phyllis Chen at Museum Speelklok, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Utrecht WP
13.12.17 - Margaret Leng Tan and Adam Tendler at Roulette, New York US
19.08.18 - Pedja Muzijevic at Union Hall, Rockport
12.10.18 - Pedja Muzijevic at Strathcona Music Building, McGill University CAN
21.10.18 - Pedja Muzijevic, Music Room, The Phillips Collection, Washington DC
12/13.12.18 - Pedja Muzijevic, Koerner Recital Hall, Vancouver Academy of Music
14.12.18 - Pedja Muzijevic, Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver
James Joslin © 2021