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George Benjamin | Buscar algo preciso y auténtico


25/04/2016

George Benjamin | To search for something precise and authentic Ruth Prieto, for ComposerSpeaks, interviews composer George Benjamin

George Benjamin | To search for something precise and authentic

Ruth Prieto, for ComposerSpeaks, interviews composer George Benjamin
 
"My main obsession when working is to avoid the generic and search for something precise and authentic, to attempt to balance the instant within the largest structural frame, to evolve the technical means which lead to the best results in each instance, to be (very) patient – and, always, to hear."


 
1. Ruth Prieto: Which characteristic defines you best? 

George Benjamin: I would prefer not to know.
 
2. R.P.: What is composition for you in this day and age? 

George Benjamin: Composition.

3. R.P.: What inspires you as a composer and why? 

George Benjamin: I wish I knew! One thing is for sure: the words of my operatic collaborator, Martin Crimp, do seem to ignite my imagination.
 
4. R.P.:
What is your main obsession when working? 

George Benjamin: To avoid the generic and search for something precise and authentic, to attempt to balance the instant within the largest structural frame, to evolve the technical means which lead to the best results in each instance, to be (very) patient – and, always, to hear.
 
5. R.P.: Could you describe your creative process? 

George Benjamin: Considerable confusion leading (gradually) to the semblance of clarity.
 
6. R.P.: What are you working on now? 

George Benjamin: An opera.
 
7. R.P.: Can you define «contemporary»? and in which way George Benjamin is “contemporary”? 

George Benjamin: “Of today” - that suffices.
 
8. R.P.: If you had not been a composer, what would you like to have been? 

George Benjamin: An architect. But I would not like to be forced to deal with politicians, patrons, town planners, safety regulations etc.
 
9. R.P.: What are your musical roots (real or imaginary)? 

George Benjamin: My parents loved music but were not musicians, but there have never been musicians within the family. As a young child my first great musical love was Beethoven.
 
10. R.P.: In this personal "inventory" that we all have of noises, sounds, music and songs, what can you tell us about your soundscape? 

George Benjamin: Thunder has always obsessed and fascinated me, probably more than any other noise in nature. But I love music above any other sound.
 
11. R.: What is silence? 

George Benjamin: The absence of sound, the expectant space before sound is uttered, the gap between sounds, the resonant space after sound has receded, what remains when all sound is annihilated... and, perhaps above all: the place where music can be internally imagined, recalled and comprehended in all its depth.
 
12. R.P.: Have you got a composer of reference or someone who made a special impression on you as a composer? 

George Benjamin: Too many – though I should mention a few exceptional musicians who have personally and directly made an impact on my life: Messiaen, Boulez, Ligeti, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Bernard Foccroulle.
 
13. R.P.: Have you got any eccentricities when composing? 

George Benjamin: Far too many to mention!
 
14. R.P.: What do you expect from the future? 

George Benjamin: To write more – and hopefully better – music.
 
15. R.P.: What have you not yet been asked to do in music? 

George Benjamin: There is one thing I would very much like to achieve – though, until (perhaps) I have succeeded in this ambition, I would prefer to keep it private.
 
16. R.P.: What could you tell me about George Benjamin? 

George Benjamin: Please ask my family, friends, colleagues or students…

London, April, 2016

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