Gradus for Fux, Tesla, and Milo the Wrestler (Three Rungs) is a piano composition in perpetual progress. The score, in a nutshell is: “learn to play the piano one note at a time.” Since 2002, that is more or less what Neal Kosaly-Meyer has been doing, first working through all the A’s and all combinations of all the A’s, devoting a lengthy improvisation session to each A and to each combination. Since completing combinations of the A’s, E’s, C#’s, G’s and B’s have been added to the mix. In performance, a two hour time-frame is divided into sections of 60′, 40′ and 20′, and each section is assigned either a single pitch, a pair of pitches, or a set of three or more pitches, currently selected from the total set of all the A’s, E’s, C#’s, G’s and B’s (37 pitches total). Silence is also an extremely important element in Gradus and is considered in the Cagean sense: all the unintended environmental sounds which occur in the course of the performance. Assuming nice weather, the windows will be open to let in more of that kind of silence.
(photo: James Holt)