Levi Raleigh Brown
The label “Half-Cultivated Music” is taken from Thoreau’s Walden, in which he describes his bean fields as being “the connecting link between the wild and cultivated fields”, in that he cares for the plants but in many ways allows them to grow freely, without careful calculations and methods aimed at a maximum harvest, thus making it a “half-cultivated field”. This struck me as an effective way of expressing an idea which I consider in much of my work. I feel that as humans, we have a natural tendency to want to control everything, from our own daily environments and plans to the natural world. This endeavor is something which we ultimately fail at. We cannot control everything, and in many cases we cause more harm than good in trying to do so, yet at the same time the longing for order and control is part of what makes us human. It seems to me that finding a balance within this is an issue of immediate importance, for the sake of ourselves and the world we inhabit.
While many of my pieces explore this idea programmatically with a story or text attached, here the focus is on the balance between those musical elements which I aim to control, and those which I allow to be free and spontaneous, which I believe can allow for interesting musical results (and, let’s be honest, it’s also just plain fun to do)! The balance I hope to find here is one where I provide the music with structure and order we can grasp, but which does not restrict the spontaneity and sense of authenticity that I feel arises with improvisation.