Monday 14 February 2000

Gustavs Ninth Symphony is accompanying

Gustav's Ninth Symphony is accompanying this entry. This follows Jonathan Elias' "The Prayer Cycle", a choral symphony in 9 movements and all of them adagios. A Christmas gift from Jeff Fayman to Toyah & myself, and one thoroughly enjoyed.

Calls so far today include DGM, BTV & KC. Our promoter for Israel is concerned that we play traditional repertoire for the fans of "classic rock". My response was to offer to cancel the shows, as the present Crimson is not the music he thought he was buying. Our promoter's reply: would we at least play "Schizoid Man"? My suggestion to Richard is to simply cancel the visit: we're not on the same page with our promoter here. No blame for either party.

Toyah is packing for our visit to California & "The Prayer Cycle" is playing. One of today's jobs has been completing notes for the CC release of July 1st. 1974, NY Central Park, in accordance with instructions from Hugh the Fierce. Excerpt

There are several aspects which contribute to a "successful" musical performance, and music is only one of them. Sometimes only a moderate performance is sufficient to bring audience and performer, at the right time and place, into a world where there is no separation (we become aware of this when we leave it). At other times a stunning performance somehow misses the audience completely. It might miss members of the group as well. And perhaps a particular performance for one player may be their Road to Damascus (alternatively Calvary) while no-one else, onstage or off, notices the change of state.

Sometimes angels descend from the heavens on chariots of fire blowing trumpets of gold in your ear. Baby Blue, I was there. This is where your life will never, can never, be the same again. You will be haunted by the experience until you find a way of returning to that sacred place. Even then you will continue to be haunted.

But mostly, the life of the working musician is wretched. This is part of the price we pay to live in the hope that music may once more lean over and take us into its confidence. Probably the life of a true audient, seeking an uncompromised event, is also hard.

Few musicians I have worked with have been able to lay aside their demand for personal satisfaction in the music they play. Fewer still have been able to listen past themselves to the music of the whole band. Only the rare ones are able to pass a reliable judgement on the merits of any particular performance.

That is, the performer is generally able to say whether they enjoyed a performance or not, but not whether the performance was "good" or not. To go beyond this, and place a performance's value in a wider social / cultural / musical context, is so far beyond most critics that we should question whether a performer is any more capable.

So, what is presented below is personal, subjective, limited, conditioned. The guitarist's experience of the show is not a reflection of any inherent value in the music performed that evening, simply to state that something magical occurred during the performance that evening in Central Park. I am unable to say whether this is evident in the music or performance, or was apparent to the audience.

The magic continued into the recording of "Red", lead me outside the music industry and away from King Crimson, and then seven years later directed me back in again. King Crimson's "good fairy" was more apparent to me in 1981 than in 1969. But that is another story.

Background to the Journal extracts.

The journal was written as an exercise, to throw light on the nature and characteristics of this creature I inhabit, and a piece of work to develop a practice and discipline. The journal records details of that practice, and my dreams. Much of it touches on other people, their actions, opinions and ideas expressed confidentially to me. All of it is personal, and was not intended for publication.

Toyah has treated me to a superb Chinese meal, possibly the most enjoyable I've eaten, as a Valentine treat. She is presently soaking in the bath while e-frenzy erupts beneath her, partly as a result of inappropriate venues in Germany (too large). It amazes me that, despite clear & repeated declarations on my behalf regarding suitable venues for this next Crim & its repertoire, this can happen.

Also today, regardless of concerns from our promoter in Israel that we are not a "classic rock" act, the venues there are also too large. I have suggested that we simply cancel the visit.