Heuristic Imitations


I came across the phrase "heuristic imitations" while reading a book about Stravinsky. It prompted the question, “How did Stravinsky write his neoclassical music?” How does one delve into an aesthetic world as a model? There are two modes of thought in creative production: the "intuitive" and the "methodical". Romantics tend to believe that the intuitive is the ascendant factor in "inspired" artistic achievement, but most often the rare moment of transcendent vision is the cumulative effect of a "methodical" process.

Heuristic Imitations dwells on the processes that allow us to continue learning and making inspired decisions even as biological growth is matched and contained by a counterpoint of deterioration. It contemplates the heuristics that imitate our early experience of ‘transcendent inspiration’, incorporating a method which sees the music of violin and piano as a model rather than an inspiration, but leaving room for intuition - that sense of right or good that is drawn from the complex and, as yet, unquantifiable, abstractions of the human brain.

In four movements (optimization, decision, compatibility and necessity) the piece attempts to create a bridge between aesthetic models, the musical expressions of the Romantic and the Baroque periods and their transition into contemporary expression. The piece’s ornamentation draws from the ‘lightness’ of the romantic period’s intimate and somehow mundane, salon aesthetic, an aesthetic born of humanist optimism and social awakening. But, like the music of the Baroque, it sorts through possible permutations that, once lain out, coalesce before the minds eye to reveal a sense of underlying purpose. What appears to be ornamentation are, in fact, fragments of a pre-existing architecture that the piece’s structure merely provides a housing for.

Heuristic Imitations was commissioned by Continuum Contemporary Music with financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Michael Oesterle CA

Michael Oesterle, born in 1968, is a Canadian composer who lives in Deux-Montagnes Québec.

Michael Oesterle