Learning is described by Vivier as “learning melody” and originally featured the subtitle “Ceremony of the beginning.” It is one of his most haunting creations, a genuinely transitional work in his compositional development. Learning is a sequence of fifteen melodies, the beginnings of each of which are signaled by a tap on the claves; a gong stroke indicates the beginning of the five unequal sections into which the fifteen melodies are grouped. Also notated in the score are the occasional movements of the players onstage, and their desired facial expression (“neutral, even impassive”). The whole piece has the feeling of a strange ritual being enacted for an unknown purpose.
© Bob Gilmore
Note reproduced by permission of the author.