The minor fall and the major lift - Music, power and the composer's black art
Andrew Schultz is currently Professor of Music and Head of the School of English, Media and Performing Arts at the University of New South Wales. His music covers a broad range and has been performed, recorded and broadcast by leading groups and musicians internationally. Schultz has held posts and residencies including as Head of Composition and Music Studies at the Guildhall School of Music (London), Professor of Composition and Dean of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong (Australia), a visiting lecturer at the Norwegian Academy of Music (Oslo) and Osaka School of Music (Japan), Artist in Residence – Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), and Visiting Fellow – Institute for Advanced Musical Studies, University of London. He has also served as Chair of the Arts NSW Music Committee, Chair of the Australian Music Centre Board and Editor of the Biographical Directory of Australian Composers.
What is it about those rare and fleeting moments of musical beauty that fully captivate a listener’s attention? Does a composer calculate such junctures or are they happy accidents? How could a composer shape and guide the listener’s experience to create these events? Does detailed analysis of the notes tell us all we need to know to explain them? From Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major, Opus 109 to Leonard Cohen’s song, Hallelujah, as in many other works before and since, there are precise moments where a listener may experience a superb glimpse of ‘musical truth’. Understanding how and why they happen calls for an awareness of the psychoacoustic and social contexts for the musical experience and has unavoidable aesthetic implications for the way a composer thinks about music.