Castaway

Like many artists I tend to be protective of my work until it is complete. Picasso toiled for seasons and changed painting styles several times before unveiling the most grotesque masterpiece the world had seen in El Bordel, later renamed to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

avignon

Like Picasso, I’m aware that critics are part of the creative game and I generally have no interest in attracting them until the work is complete lest a novel idea be diluted with the thoughts of others. The question, then, is this; when is a piece of work complete? Some critics argued that Picasso’s mockery of modern art was, indeed, incomplete, which implies that maybe completeness is all about personal perception. How can a critic say that Picasso’s painting was incomplete when Picasso himself had packed up the paint and cleaned the brushes? It seems fair to say that, overall, Picasso’s work was not complete but he would not continue that work on the canvas of El Bordel.

Mozart’s Requiem, on the other hand, marked the end of the line for the great composer. His death made sure that there was to be no more work. And yet the world wonders, was it complete? It is common knowledge that Mozart’s friend and pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr ‘filled in the holes’ for his dying friend. Had Mozart lived longer would we have a different masterpiece? Completion was a result of his death and not a desire of the composer to move on to new work.

While all this talk about ‘completeness’ is interesting to ponder, the fact remains that the world is a better place with great works like Requiem and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Their level of completeness doesn’t change what they are or the enjoyment they give us.

With my own work, in which I am certainly not intending to draw any parallels to the aforementioned geniuses, there are pieces in various states of completeness. In particular and as I mentioned in a previous post, I recorded a number of tracks over the course of a few months in early 2000 at a little place called Melville Park Studio. I have kept them hidden away from any real critics because they were incomplete. I have not changed a flawed note on these roughly-mixed recordings since 2000 so it is with great trepidation that I have decided to cast them away and move on. In my mind they are unfinished because they ultimately don’t sound as I intended them. For example, this track has some tuning issues that were to be reworked and I had hoped to add percussion. But they represent a time in my own musical development that I have hopefully passed and I think it would be a disservice to my own work to go back and change anything with the ideas I have today. Therefore, they are complete. Besides, what good will they serve if nobody ever has a chance to enjoy or criticize them?

So, here is the third track, not that they are in any particular order, to Castaway. The track is made up of two traditional tunes. The first is called Devany’s Goat and the second is called The Morning Star.

In keeping with the theme of incompleteness, I whipped up some cover art for this internet album.

castaway

I don’t really think the image has much to do with Castaway except for the fact that it was a picture that was taken of me a couple years prior to these recordings. The photographer’s name was Jessica Strauss.

In addition, some have asked if it is possible to buy this recording. It is not. It has never been printed and I don’t really expect it ever will be.

5 thoughts on “Castaway

  1. Tara

    You are brilliant…. keep the wheels turning. You produce excellent work.. and as they say–a stitch in time…its grand..partaking in any activity in which one exerts his or her faculties to do or perform something altogether-bearing sustained physical or mental effort while overcoming obstacles (such as prioritizing time with kids, housework..etc..)to achieve an objective or result rocks–even if it may not be done-done.
    God, I need to practice my Irish music!!
    God Bless xox
    Tara

  2. Bob Griffin

    The world is full of critics but those that do only to forge ahead keeping in mind that the critics can only view and not create. You are truly an inspiration to all. I thoroghly enjoy all that you do and I’m truly impressed with your many talents. All the best – Bob G.

  3. Kim

    You are one hell of a musician, Greg! I just stumbled across you site today while searching for hammered dulcimer blogs. I’ve downloaded a few of your tunes and the sheet music. I hope you don’t mind.

    I haven’t played in a while and I never was great but I’ve been feeling a tiny tickle that’s telling me to get it out, tune it up, and try to remember how to play it! Learning one of your tunes seems like a good place to start (after I remember which strings are which notes).

    I guess I’m your newest fan. I check back often. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Full speed ahead and damn the critics!

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