Vindication of the body

Vindication of the body
On the performance of Barbara Borowicz and ‌Bartosz Sałdan
by Kamyar Salavati

Borowicz and Sałdan’s repertoire, except its premier pieces which were generally composed by fellow citizens of the performers, emphasized on “body” as an integrated part of the music. One of the famous prior performances of Borowicz is Stockhausen’s Harlekin, written for clarinet and dance; in which the sound of the dancer’s steps becomes part of the music. Having this in mind, considering such pieces by her and Sałdan was not surprising.

Temazcal, the most famous piece of its composer Álvarez is a piece for two Maracas and tape (electroacoustic sounds). Maraca which is a bit similar to finger-bell in Iranian music would be put in the player’s hands and upon playing instead of the shape of an instrument the movements of the player will be seen. Here, regardless of the relationship between the recorded sounds and player’s performance, and of course somewhat ambiguous dramatic development of the piece, it is the movements of the player that gives meaning to the piece. Meanings that of course can be different or paradoxical. In Sałdan’s performance though, this interpretive/role playing side seemed less central. Proteus by Jesus Torres too was written for percussions; instruments in which the body (chest and abdomen) have become an integral and inseparable part of them. Also, in Ceci n’est une balle that was written for body percussion, in addition to recorded sounds emphasized on the sounds of the performer’s body.

In these pieces body, which is one of the old companions of the European music (and from a certain point with development of specialization in classical music and its performance in concert halls parted its way), is being vindicated. Therefor it is not surprising that these embodied pieces had strong relationship with traditions other than European classical music; traditions in which the body is a part of their performance. As a result, this performance had a severely multi-colored structure: Temazcal strongly rooted in South American music, Proteus with signs of Spanish music, Ceci n’est une balle with references to popular music and street theaters, and Reflection No. 6 inspired by music of Japan.

This review is written for The Fourth Tehran Contemporary Music Festival. All rights reserved for