When I began to work on the project this week, I was completely blank. I had no idea what to do. I sat down at the piano and let me fingers decide what to play. The played the opening chord of this piece - a stack of perfect fourths going down from F. This is a common jazz voicing that could represent an F6, Bb major 7, D minor 11, and even a few more chords. It's something I play all the time in a jazz setting. But as I played it this time, for some reason I listened to it more carefully. I listened to the interaction of the notes with each other, and the overtones of the piano, which I've loved listening to and enjoyed considering in composition ever since I discovered the music of Morton Feldman.
Now as I sat and enjoyed this sound this week, I had to figure out a way to create it within the Messiaen Project. Similar to last week's piece, I discovered that I could construct this chord out of two transpositions of mode three, one transposition written in the upper staff, the other in the lower staff. I discovered that three perfect fourth structures of three notes each could be constructed in each mode and I decided to play around with these. They have a very hard sound to my ears. I soon began adding other notes of the modes to shade the color of the chords. This developed into a melody which I decided to play softly, in the background of these very loud, hard chords built of fourths and fifths. The idea is that the melody shades the sound of the chords, and highlights different overtones. It is my hope that the listener finds themselves listening to the piano in a different way than usual - cluing into the overtones. Ideally that would happen without reading this first. There is a big difference in the sound of the recording verses sitting on the piano bench. I hope that difference doesn't completely obliterate the idea.
You're probably thinking that the title of this piece has something to do with an iPhone charger or something. Well, not exactly. In macrobiotics we are taught that the home should be a recharging station. You come home an get refreshed. This is done by creating a nice, natural environment, free of stress, with green plants and natural materials. This proves to be trickier than one would think, especially for freelancers who work out of their homes. The work is always there waiting to be done, even when it's relaxation and rejuvenation time. Emails can be sent at any hour, which could be seen as another side effect of the amazing convenient internet.
Anyway, this week I found myself in need of an adequate recharging station. I developed a sore throat, which for me will typically turn into a head cold. This usually happens once a twice a winter for me. So this week I knew I needed to lay low and not get stressed out, that the cold didn't get the best of me. And I found that I was happily able to do this in our apartment. Even while my wife went about her work, I was able to relax in the other room, and it's been lovely. My health is improving and I haven't felt stressed. This is an important realization for me, and I'm convinced that this sore throat happened so that I could learn that this apartment can be a relaxing place. And I must say that I feel gratitude for both this minor illness and our apartment.
In the aftermath of last week's post, which was read by many, I've had several conversations with friends and family, and I've reflected a great deal on how I was feeling. It's sometimes easy to forget about what I've been given in this life. I am thankful for all of you friends, family, and colleagues. I'm thankful for music and the ability to express myself via the piano. I'm thankful for the ups and downs that life brings. I'm thankful for having an adequate recharging station when I need it.