The Art Of Simplicity With Stuart Maconie

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01I Have Nothing To Say And I Am Saying It2020111520210613 (R3)"

In art, less is often more. Music in particular can be at its most transcendent, fascinating, beautiful and rewarding when it doesn’t over-adorn or over complicate. Over two episodes, broadcaster Stuart Maconie explores the ways composers have found inspiration in the principles of simplicity. Bearing in mind that simplicity is not the same as simple, simplified or simplistic, Stuart examines how the simplest seeming music is often underpinned by rigorous philosophy, new ideas or conceptual thought.

The first episode focuses on simplicity in its most obvious form, in small and sparse sonic worlds. “I have nothing to say and I am saying it” said John Cage of his music, a little disingenuously. But Cage’s ideas have forged a distinctly modernist aesthetic. There is a powerful mystery and charge that comes from an absence of exposition and explanation. It is the mystery that comes when much is left out. This ethos can be heard in the static, lengthy beauty of Morton Feldman’s string quartets, Eliane Radigue’s suite Occam’s Ocean, which focuses on the simplest and gentlest factors in creating sound, and the chilly beauty of the modern Wandelweiser group of composers.

Produced by Rebecca Gaskell

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Exploring ways composers have found inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

Stuart Maconie looks at how musicians find inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

"

01I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It2020111520210613 (R3)In art, less is often more. Music in particular can be at its most transcendent, fascinating, beautiful and rewarding when it doesn’t over-adorn or over complicate. Over two episodes, broadcaster Stuart Maconie explores the ways composers have found inspiration in the principles of simplicity. Bearing in mind that simplicity is not the same as simple, simplified or simplistic, Stuart examines how the simplest seeming music is often underpinned by rigorous philosophy, new ideas or conceptual thought.

The first episode focuses on simplicity in its most obvious form, in small and sparse sonic worlds. “I have nothing to say and I am saying it� said John Cage of his music, a little disingenuously. But Cage’s ideas have forged a distinctly modernist aesthetic. There is a powerful mystery and charge that comes from an absence of exposition and explanation. It is the mystery that comes when much is left out. This ethos can be heard in the static, lengthy beauty of Morton Feldman’s string quartets, Eliane Radigue’s suite Occam’s Ocean, which focuses on the simplest and gentlest factors in creating sound, and the chilly beauty of the modern Wandelweiser group of composers.

Produced by Rebecca Gaskell
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Exploring ways composers have found inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

Stuart Maconie looks at how musicians find inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

01I Have Nothing To Say And I Am Saying It2020111520210613 (R3)In art, less is often more. Music in particular can be at its most transcendent, fascinating, beautiful and rewarding when it doesn’t over-adorn or over complicate. Over two episodes, broadcaster Stuart Maconie explores the ways composers have found inspiration in the principles of simplicity. Bearing in mind that simplicity is not the same as simple, simplified or simplistic, Stuart examines how the simplest seeming music is often underpinned by rigorous philosophy, new ideas or conceptual thought.

The first episode focuses on simplicity in its most obvious form, in small and sparse sonic worlds. “I have nothing to say and I am saying it� said John Cage of his music, a little disingenuously. But Cage’s ideas have forged a distinctly modernist aesthetic. There is a powerful mystery and charge that comes from an absence of exposition and explanation. It is the mystery that comes when much is left out. This ethos can be heard in the static, lengthy beauty of Morton Feldman’s string quartets, Eliane Radigue’s suite Occam’s Ocean, which focuses on the simplest and gentlest factors in creating sound, and the chilly beauty of the modern Wandelweiser group of composers.

Produced by Rebecca Gaskell

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Exploring ways composers have found inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

Stuart Maconie looks at how musicians find inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

02The Grand Scheme Of Things2020112220210620 (R3)"

Broadcaster Stuart Maconie is fascinated by the way composers and musicians have found inspiration and innovation in the principles of simplicity. In this two-part series, he investigates how the idea of purity and taking things back to basics has meant different things at different times.

Episode two looks at how simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean small forces and sparse sonic worlds, that simple music can also emulate monolithic austerity and colossal form. These techniques are heard in pieces like Ellen Arkbro’s immersive organ drones and their awe-inspiring, massive escarpments of sound. The grandness of simplicity is also found in the works of the so-called holy minimalists, composers like Arvo Part who have used techniques of frugality of expression, silence and stasis to evoke the mystical or divine.

‘Simple’ music can exude a freshness that can be bright or grave, vivacious or solemn and is not the same as easy listening. It is never tricksy, dry or freighted with self-regard, but above all else, music. Pure and simple.

Produced by Rebecca Gaskell

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Simple music that emulates monolithic austerity and colossal form.

Stuart Maconie looks at how musicians find inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

"

02The Grand Scheme of Things2020112220210620 (R3)Broadcaster Stuart Maconie is fascinated by the way composers and musicians have found inspiration and innovation in the principles of simplicity. In this two-part series, he investigates how the idea of purity and taking things back to basics has meant different things at different times.

Episode two looks at how simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean small forces and sparse sonic worlds, that simple music can also emulate monolithic austerity and colossal form. These techniques are heard in pieces like Ellen Arkbro’s immersive organ drones and their awe-inspiring, massive escarpments of sound. The grandness of simplicity is also found in the works of the so-called holy minimalists, composers like Arvo Part who have used techniques of frugality of expression, silence and stasis to evoke the mystical or divine.

‘Simple’ music can exude a freshness that can be bright or grave, vivacious or solemn and is not the same as easy listening. It is never tricksy, dry or freighted with self-regard, but above all else, music. Pure and simple.

Produced by Rebecca Gaskell
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Simple music that emulates monolithic austerity and colossal form.

Stuart Maconie looks at how musicians find inspiration in the principles of simplicity.

02The Grand Scheme Of Things2020112220210620 (R3)Broadcaster Stuart Maconie is fascinated by the way composers and musicians have found inspiration and innovation in the principles of simplicity. In this two-part series, he investigates how the idea of purity and taking things back to basics has meant different things at different times.

Episode two looks at how simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean small forces and sparse sonic worlds, that simple music can also emulate monolithic austerity and colossal form. These techniques are heard in pieces like Ellen Arkbro’s immersive organ drones and their awe-inspiring, massive escarpments of sound. The grandness of simplicity is also found in the works of the so-called holy minimalists, composers like Arvo Part who have used techniques of frugality of expression, silence and stasis to evoke the mystical or divine.

‘Simple’ music can exude a freshness that can be bright or grave, vivacious or solemn and is not the same as easy listening. It is never tricksy, dry or freighted with self-regard, but above all else, music. Pure and simple.

Produced by Rebecca Gaskell

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

Simple music that emulates monolithic austerity and colossal form.

Stuart Maconie looks at how musicians find inspiration in the principles of simplicity.