After Friday's gig I've been thinking a bit more about time-frames for music.
On Friday, we played for about half-an-hour and then I said "that's it." The audience seemed very happy. But we'd not done long enough, even though I'd felt we'd played a very coherent set and for long enough. We then had to play a bit more [15 minutes to fill the time allocated to us], which was fine, but for me felt disconnected from the rest of the set. I'll find out when the recording comes along.
And I began to think: why shouldn't improvised music stop when it's finished? Are we actually applying extra constraints by setting time limits for performances, where the performance is shorter than the time limit? The reverse [having more music than the time allotted] is fairly common. And of course the trio is perfectly capable of doing an hour or more of continuous or continual music, and has done so on several occasions. But what if thirty minutes is "just right"?
Some of this has come from just doing Orrery, where I'd got my timing for thirty minutes down to a tee. And in that piece, a lot of music happens: half-an-hour is exactly "right" for the work. The construction for the work allows me to extend the piece for longer or shorter as required: but to be honest, longer than three-quarters of an hour feels ridiculous. It just doesn't need that kind of time. Everybody's Reading uses a music map just like Orrery does; and is a trio piece. But there was no way it could have been thirty minutes—it needed more [mainly because it is movement-based], and thus we played for forty-five minutes.
But then there is also the audience. I wonder if the audience felt like they hadn't had their full share when I called time on our set [it was part of a triple bill]—or if they were happy at what we had played with no consideration of the length of time. The audience may have asked more because they liked what they heard, and not because our set was too short.