Ladislav Železný: Before During After
rAdioCUSTICA selected 2008 | 17:17
Before During After
(an auditory form of memory)
The string is ready to sound, frozen in a state of deflection. The process of thawing slowly reveals the color and character of a sound. The cavity of an empty vessel.
Before During After is an entirely different composition than originally intended, based as it was on my ability to perfectly concentrate on audio memory. Why did it turn into something else altogether? Because I cannot predict in advance what is hidden in my memory. Put simply, I don't remember.
One way of getting at an answer is to forget "what it is supposed to be". It is worth noting that, in order for a person to remember, he first has to forget. So I tried to forget what I was doing in this direction. Besides, excessive trying usually causes one to miss one's objective. This composition is thus an experiment at completely relaxing, pushing out and subsequently releasing all possible associations such as social prejudices, ambitions and the craving for successful results which might guide me towards some specific outcome and genre. Not because the piece was created without a specific idea - that probably wouldn't even be possible - but nevertheless, the idea of audio memory which stood at its outset essentially asks to be forgotten. I am talking here about a certain aesthetic which is not achieved because of the aesthetic itself.
I once had a dream in which I met the Japanese choreographer Koosil-ja Hwang, or at least it looked like Koosil-ja but I can't say for sure whether it was her or not. She showed me and read a poem of hers, a short piece, a haiku called Before going after. I let the poem's contents dissolve among its soundscape, and it is these sounds that I remembered. The feeling which this poem evoked within me was so strong and resonated so much with the theme of the composition on which I was working, that I didn't hesitate in letting myself be inspired by it for the title of my piece.
About a month later I met an English-speaking person with whom I consulted the grammar and meaning of this phrase (within the context of the composition as well). We reached the opinion that a more apt wording would be "Before during after". The reason is simple, although it may seem "unlinguistic." The verb "going" relates to movement more than the preposition "during", which would give the prepositions "before" and "after" (as opposites) a specific chronological order. Changing "going" to "during" paradoxically eliminates the specific chronological order and concentrates the event hinted at by this phrase into a single moment - the moment of the flash of memory. Although, as someone whose mother tongue is Czech, I don't much care for English titles, I didn't want to try to overcome this aversion by translating the phrase into Czech in order not to project my verbal interpretation on Czech listeners. English is a more suitable choice in this case. The title and the feeling which it is supposed to evoke are very important for the listening experience. It is something like a prologue, a silent warm-up.