"Activism always involves a kind of coalition building, but the kind of community art is capable of building extends further, to the dead and the unborn."
"Mysterium." This was the answer Leo Svirsky gave me some time ago, when I asked what his end goal with music was. Began by Russian symbolist Alexander Scriabin in 1903, Mysterium, is an unfinished musical work that the composer worked on until his death in 1915. The piece included an orchestra, a large mixed choir, an instrument with visual effects, dancers, a procession, and incense. It was to be over a week long, take place in the foothills of the Himalayas, bring about the end of the world, and replace humanity with "nobler beings." Listening to Svirsky speak about the present state of music, politics, and culture, one senses that such a spirit of upheaval is alive and kicking. Born in 1988, this young composer—much like his interviewer, guitarist and composer Michael Pisaro—pursues Mysterium's reconfiguration of the world, but by opposite means: quietude. Eschewing Scriabin's dreams of bombast in favor of meditative privacy, Svirsky searches for what can be heard in the unheard. With works for piano, orchestra, and ensemble, Svirsky lights corners of hidden musical worlds with a palm sheltering the flame.
—Britton Powell[ Read More ]