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A New Recording

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A New Recording —
A story with the little giraffe

Shh, listen! The little giraffe unboxed the big green headphones and is enjoying a first sonic impression of a new piece. Let’s have a look at how an audio recording emerges from the silence of a formerly white paper.

Recordings are definitely a crucial part in documenting a composer‘s work. Too often it occurs that a piece is written only for a particular event. Once the work is premiered, it would disappear into the abyss of oblivion. That is not exactly the intention of many of the composers who are affected by the very phenomenon. There are a couple of ways of how to face that issue. One good approach is to record the works. Not only can a good recording be shard via the internet or broadcasted by a radio station, it also documents the first interpretation the piece which is very often developed in a close collaboration with the composer. Sometimes composers conduct their music themselves or play it on the instrument that is most familiar to them. It is still interesting, for instance, to listen to Stravinky’s own interpretation of his famous ballet Le Sacre du Printemps, although there might be better and more enthralling versions conducted by Boulez. Undoubtedly Stravinsky’s interpretation remains a very important and historically relevant source all the same. By the bye, Le Sacre du Printemps has never had to fight for its omnipresence of course: It burst into being already at its premiere, accompanied by one of the most notorious scandals in the recent chapters of music history.

Let’s jump back into the 21st century. Last year, in 2018, I started to compose a cycle of 21 oracles for the piano. In the same summer I finished the first book which I dedicated to Richard Dünser, my teacher in composition, to his 60th birthday. On this occasion a CD with works by Richard Dünser and his students is scheduled to be released in the coming months and my first book of oracles will be part of the disc. I rehearsed the work for nearly a whole year until I dared to stage it for the first time in June 2019. It is always a somewhat good idea to play a new work several times in public or at least for some invited friends before recording it. The premiere which took place in the Alte Schmiede in Vienna was quite successful—I even sold some of my ORF portrait CDs at the event—so I felt optimistic enough to record it at the end of July in Graz.

Everything went fine and the recording session ended up in a stack of some hours of uncut material. It was a somewhat brilliant idea to keep records accurately of all the takes that were poor and those few that might be considered usable. At the end of the day the cut version looked like a rag rug, but thanks to the ingenious tonmeister Simon Dünser it does sound brilliant now and makes me very much looking forward not only to holding the CD in my hands, but primarily also to feeding it my CD drive.

By the way, in the meantime I fixed two concerts in 2020 on March 15 in Graz and on April 25 near Zagreb, where I will play the work live and where I will hopefully sell some more CDs—the new ones as well.