Tracks are now covered
Metal turned to stone
New city discovered
To be with all yet alone
Afraid to destroy
Even in bad weather
Travelers have joy
City sounds reduced
Life now awakened
It’s cruel not to love
The High Line above
– Shivani Sharma
Link to Piece:
John W. Cleary
This piece is meant to be accompanied by a recording of the Highline Park in New York City. The domain for the recording is free, but should include the “bits” of conversations from passing groups or individuals. The music should be of equal volume to the recording, almost to emulate a street performer in his environment. The recording should precede and continue after the piano for about 30 seconds, as if the piano is being inserted into the environment.
This piece lacks structure and form. Although notated in meter, the piece is meant to taken completely out of time. Dynamics should match the contour of the piano line as well as the volume of the accompanying recording. All chords and runs in the piece should be articulated in quick, yet emotional, “sweeps.” Ideally, the Pianist should take the recording himself, in order to experience the beauty of this setting, and accurately portray it in the piece.
– John W. Cleary 2011
A lone trumpet player sits beneath the overpass along the Highline. He traveled there alone, and he will travel home alone. He creates for the sole purpose of his own enjoyment; no instrument case lies in front of him. He’s not begging for money, but rather for redemption of the artistic community in which he resides. The loss of such great musicians and talent, the closing of the Chelsea Hotel, and the increasing digitization of music haunt his mind.
This man yearns to be part of the past, to be remembered as a great musician. His improvisation goes unnoticed by many. They take it in stride, his music, like a permanent installment in a museum to a time long gone. Those that do notice listen without observing. There is no one standing in front of him, and it is difficult for him to discern those listening from those simply walking through. This interaction truly represents the community of the neighborhood of Chelsea. Creation and improvisation for the sake of itself is abundant. Therefore, this musician can feel validated in himself despite not ever discovering who is experiencing his music.
Highline Creative Response (Video)
Amid abandoned railroad tracks,
Concrete ubiquity, and iron kingdom,
Wild weeds grow tall and erect
On New York’s High Line.
Standing proudly as warriors,
This green battalion fights its gray foe,
Portending its army’s endurance, longevity,
And ultimate underdog triumph
Over city’s suppressive tendencies.
When the industrial empire falls,
And NYC relegated an urban legend,
Nature will reign freely,
Covering Times Square,
Occupying Wall Street,
Starring on Broadway,
With the tallest tree titled king.
Suppressed, yet invigorated,
Leaf beats rock, paper, steel,
In an eventual victory.