Stephen Goss : Perpetual Motion Machine
Doberman – Yppan : 8 pages
Stephen Goss is known the guitar word for producing guitar pieces with a very original slant to them, and this latest piece is definitely one of the most unusual ones I have ever come across.
For starters just looking at the printed page, without reading the performance guidelines at the start , you find a piece of continuous quavers , multiple changes in time signatures, and a sempre campanella, sempre laisser – vibrer instruction , and the opening instruction marked Moto Perpetuo, which is all fair enough. The music as it appears here moves at a considerable pace and all the various string markings are carefully included so that the campanella instruction can be duly followed.
However then you spot some ‘x’s and ‘y’s around the score and then when you do refer to the performance notes you find that the piece can last everything from a few seconds to several hours, and does not have a specified beginning or coda, as the player can start anywhere on the score they choose. Moreover there are a number of places where the guitarist can either jump back or forward (via the marked ‘x’s and ‘y’s ) and any fragment can be repeated as many times as the player likes regardless of the actual score. Finally the player is invited to create his or her own musical paths through the material .So therefore what you end up with here is a score that literally never sounds like it looks, as there are countless ways to perform it, and if you find that hard to assimilate just try following the recorded version on YouTube by its dedicatee Petar Culic. I am a wonderful reader and yet gave up after about 30 seconds.
Now, if you find all this stimulating, exciting, and fabulously involving, then the music itself is difficult to get at the correct speed, but for an advanced player would be little problem , but however, if you like your music to start at bar 1 and go to the coda and stop, then look somewhere else .