"The Field" Redux

This past week, the Extradition Series presented our second realization of Toshi Ichiyanagi's 1966 graphic score The Field, as part of a special concert co-presented with Notice Recordings. It sounded like this: https://youtu.be/DA0hYWn_Uo0

In April 2017, we presented our first realization of the piece, with an almost completely different ensemble. It sounded like this: https://youtu.be/eYVgABjx8Oc

Reproduced as part of John Cage’s groundbreaking 1969 book Notations, Ichiyanagi’s spare graphic score is both straightforward and enigmatic, depicting 17 shapes and patterns spread across an otherwise blank if highly textured field. A short block of text instructions asks players to “make performing rules by measuring the patterns and the white spaces in the following manner: Distance (time), Area (space), Density (speed or compactness).”

For our latest realizations, we employed the same set of detailed performance rules developed for our 2017 performance. These rules create a common understanding across the ensemble regarding (a) each symbol's meaning, in terms of the approximate type/shape/texture of sound that should be employed, and (b) how to move among those symbols. But because of the openness of those rules, the personal interpretive decisions of the various musicians, and the way the members of each ensemble reacted to one another, we achieved two completely unique interpretations.

How would you approach The Field?

Toshi Ichiyanagi,  The Field  (1966)

Toshi Ichiyanagi, The Field (1966)

Matt Hannafin