To describe the earliest notated music in Europe, my father, a performer and student of early keyboard music, quoted his mentor: “Music awaiting a composer,” Wesley Kuhnle called it. Kuhnle meant that at each performance, the performer becomes the composer. The marked indications on the page are so minimal, the expressive development, through techniques of improvisation, depends on the performer’s training, temperament, and relation to the notes at that particular moment.
I find myself drawn more and more to the Baroque and earlier music played in my childhood household, the patterns, repetitions, and subtle variations of my father’s improvisatory practice re-shading the rhythms, dynamics, and melodic lines. I find my interests as a poet and reader of poetry increasingly analogous to the demands and conduct of such music.