Something Understood - Freedom and Control
Mark Tully considers the paradox that boundaries and controls can create a sense of freedom and creativity. A sonnet, or a sonata are bound by prescribed form, but in the hands of Wordsworth, or Beethoven they can transcend the rules they depend on.
Using a diverse range of music from Olivier Messiaen, to Ravi Shankar, Humphrey Littleton and the mathematically constructed work of Iannis Xenakis, Mark Tully discovers that structure usually, though not always, allows extemporization which creates something much greater than the original form.
And with the help of the words of others like Bertrand Russell and Stephen Fry who have maintained that constraints enable, or are even necessary for creativity; he suggests that rhythm controls not only music and poetry, but the natural world around us, and can also influence our own spiritual lives.
So do we all need fixed boundaries within which to operate with free will, and is freedom always dependent on control?
This programme is the first of two parts, in the second of which, Freedom From Control , Mark Tully interrogates the opposite view that, for some, true creativity is the result of abandoning all boundaries.
Presenter: Mark Tully
Producer: Adam Fowler
An Unique production for BBC Radio 4.