in memoriam José Maceda


5 may of this year 2004 José Maceda died
i feel the window of 40years dialogue closed

i met him first at Xenakis' home in Paris in 1964
then heard him conducting his own Agungan together with Xenakis' Achorripsis 2 years later at the Music East-West in Manila
knew for the first time the tranquil atmosphere with many gongs rustling
every living times in tropical rain forest
the space in peace waving in balance of all these

Maceda was a pianist studied in France and America
i heard from him
once looking over terraced field in the Philippines
he wondered if Beethoven's piano sonatas have anything to do with this landscape
then he went back to America to study musicological methods
recorded island musics in the Philippines and Indonesia
and discovered the principle of changes through repetition
of drone and melody in his word

the lineup of people striking cracked bamboo tubes on a mountain trail
a melody rises among the minute time lags
Maceda called it a screen
delicate tonal changes from the opaque layers of resonances after sounds themselves so simple
and slow progress calms the mind and an awareness awakes

Maceda began composing when he was over 50 years old
using instruments he has collected from different places in asia
teaching patiently the complex rhythms to non-musician students
music was born sounded familiar in some ways but never exited before

he enjoyed conducting his own music
since he spent most of his time as a musicologist scholar
he rehearsed one hour for each musician
spending far more hours himself
then one last rehearsal with everyone together
this was his way
his hands in conducting were not the counting and controlling hands
but the hands feeling the sounds and creating more free space in between
when performing one is lost in repetitions
Maceda himself also
then an assistant with a large number plate shows everyone every 10 seconds
i served as the assistant for the many performances in Japan

he composed not only for ensemble of many bamboo and gongs
difficult to perform outside of the Philippines
but also for western orchestra or for the ensemble of 5 pianos
the emphasis was on ambiguity complexity and color
rather than on tempered or generally tuned transparent and meager sounds
perspectives of time with no beginning no end and space of coexistence without strife

i met Xenakis for the last time in 1997 in Kyoto
then i was with Maceda
our topic was the possibility of another logic than Aristotelian logic of tautology and discrimination

while writing this thinking of Maceda
i feel again that there is a clue here to go beyond this world of wars
music is immediately near the body but impossible to bind
as long as another view and another possibility of nature space time and multitude is open
the window of dialogue to Maceda's work will be still open



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