La petite girafe travaille a la domicile. —
A story with the little giraffe
This is not going to end up as a new corona-blog. In the course of setting up my new homepage I figured out that the last story with the little giraffe dates back to 2019. What a desaster. I have made the most ambitious LPG-plans for 2020, but it all has come different. As we’ve finally headed back to working from home I’m getting overtaken by the feeling that this should be a somewhat familiar situation to a composers. Of course it is—and of course it isn’t.
Krzysztof Penderecki, the great Polish composer who passed away but a few months ago, was also known for sketching some of his compositional ideas on small tables in coffee houses, which has influenced his way of notating his music. Other than that, composers usually love to ponder over their ideas in peaceul seclusion. Silence helps us because it wouldn’t distort the sounds that we bear in our minds before we write them down, unless we consider that silence itself can be regarded as music. If I listened to the silence in a way I listen to music by John Cage, it would definitely distort my thoughs while composing a new piece. Nonetheless I daresay that I believe it is easier to think of a nice microtonally tuned harmonic progression when there’s less obvious noise around oneself than in a coffee house.
I’m definitely missing having a cup of coffee at the Baristas across from our university building or the unhurriedly homelike Kaiserfeld in Graz these days, though. Art is not only something meant to be shared with as many people as possible but art will also not become seen, if people do not come together. People come together in concert halls and people meet and talk about music and art at places such as the Kaiserfeld. Thus, even my work as a composer cannot be done entirely from home. The act of composing is done at home, whereas bringing a new work to the audience isn’t.
Well, as 2021 nears, let’s be optimistic. Here you are some thirteen giraffe-like plans for the coming year that cannot be done at home:
- Drink a cappuccino at Kaiserfeld’s.
- Go to see a film at the cinema and grumble about it afterwards.
- Argue Ferneyhough’s notation with other musicians—accompanied by a pint of Guinness in order to entirely understand what this is all about.
- Turn the pages for a pianist at a concert
- Go to a vernissage and ask the artist a silly question.
- Hand out flyers at various public places.
- Play on an old organ (not in concert).
- Play on a singing bowl (in concert).
- Visit the Funeral Museum Vienna.
- Try to sell a replica of Kircher’s Maltese Observatory on a flea market.
- Visit Italy.
- Go to the Kunsthaus in Graz and purchase a little friend for the little giraffe.
- Travel to Kapfenberg by train, see if they have finally rebuilt the station there and go back again (there’s nothing special about Kapfenberg).
Radio Interview in Ö1 Zeit-Ton
New pieces for the piano by Richard Düner, Gianluca Iadema and Christoph Renhart have recently been released on CD by the label VMS. The radio station Ö1 presented the new compositions in their programme “Zeit-Ton” on Wednesday past (August 26, 2020). Presentator Rainer Elstner spoke with me about the works. You can listen to the interview and to extracts of the new CD here:
XXI Orakel der Nacht in Graz
Looking ahead optimistically, there is a somewhat good chance of performing the first book of my work “XXI Oracles Of The Night” for piano solo on October 18th in Graz. This concert—originally scheduled for April—will feature works of Styrian composers played by themselves. Meanwhile the second book of this 21-part-cycle is in the making and will feature again lots of new and unexpected sounds for the piano (and some instruments extending it) and unconventional techniques for the player. Stay tuned (-;
CD released: Piano pieces by Dünser, Renhart and Iadema
In the last summer I recorded my work XXI Oracles Of The Night that was written in 2018. It has now been been released on a new CD that features pieces for piano solo by Richard Dünser and Gianluca Iadema alongside my work. The works by Dünser and Iadema are played by the renowned Austrian pianist Doris Adam.
or get a copy via: firstname.lastname@example.org
New ÖGZM Website online
With great pleasure I’d like to announce that the new webiste of the Austrian Society for Contemporary Music (ÖGZM) went online. Feel free to discover it at oegzm.at.
I feel honoured that I have been entrusted with the redesign of the website and I do hope that you’ll like the new layout.
for baritone and ensemble (2020)
»Marley was dead: to begin with.« So beginnt Charles Dickens eine seiner bekanntesten Erzählungen, die wörtlich betrachtet eigentlich ›ein Weihnachtslied‹ bedeutet. Tot, oder sagen wir besser: abgedroschen, abgeschrieben und vom vielen Verfilmen völlig ausgeleiert, ist heute im Grunde alles, was auch immer dieses bis hin zu einer fernsehvertauglichten Bill Murray-Auskitschung plattgewalzerte Adventmärchen auch nur anzustreifen drohte. Warum also hier beginnen?
Weihnachten kommt alle Jahre wieder, komme was wolle. So tot der alte Marley auch scheint — nämlich »dead as a door-nail« — so lebendig spukt er immer noch als allgegenwärtiger Geist herum. Die Welt war immer schon die Mühsamste und ausgerechnet zu Weihnachten erwartet man selbst von den grantelndsten Menschen einen Mindesthang zu überschwänglichem Glücksgetue. Dazu werden schwere Geschütze aufgefahren: Glockengebrüll, funkelndes, kerzenlichtumflattertes Strohgestirn und ein gar himmlischer Nebel aus Pathos und Lakritze. Alles Humbug! In meiner Musik hört man all die Zutaten des Humbugs so miteinander vermengt, dass sich daraus eine eigene Dramaturgie entspinnt. Diese verläuft entlang ausgewählter Textstellen aus Dickens‘ Roman. Der Erzähler verfällt dabei immer mehr seiner eigenen Geschichte und verwandelt sich am Ende selbst in den Geist seiner eigenen Figur.
»Marley’s Ghost« entstand 2017 für den Bariton Georg Klimbacher und den Pianisten Andreas Fröschl, die die Musik im selben Jahr im Arnold Schönberg Center in Wien zur Uraufführung brachten. Die Fassung für Bariton und Ensemble schrieb ich Anfang 2020. Die Orchestrierung bedeutet dabei zugleich eine Neugestaltung in vielerlei Hinsicht: Eine Ausdifferenzierung in klangfarblichen Schichten führte an vielen Stellen zu einer harmonischen Neuausleuchtung oder zu satztechnischen Wucherungen. Eine besondere Herausforderung stellte die Übersetzung jener Schattierungen in eine orchestrale Sprache dar, die durch eine erweiterte Spieltechnik im Klavier quasi bereits vorskizziert war. Die Realisierung dieser erweiterten Version »Dickens’schen Humbugs« wurde maßgeblich von Morgana Petrik angeregt, der die neue Fassung herzlich gewidmet ist.
flute, clarinet in Bb, soprano saxophone (also baritone saxophone), horn, tenor trombone, percussion (1 player), piano, violin, viola, violoncello, double bass
bass drum, large suspended cympa, timpani, vibraphone, glockenspiel, maracas
scheduled for March 21, 2021 • Graz, J.-J.-Fux-Konservatorium • Ensemble Zeitfluss • Edo Micic, conductor • Georg klimbacher, baritone
scheduled for March 22, 2021 • Wien, Ehrbar-Saal • Ensemble Zeitfluss • Edo Micic, conductor • Georg klimbacher, baritone
Giraffenbuch 2019 —
A review of the little giraffe’s adventures in 2019.
The little giraffe was put together in october 2019. Since then it has survived several accidents including broken legs (most frequent injury by far), broken tails, broken necks and spines (a little less frequent) and complete deconstruction (in order fit into a transport box bound for Brussels). At the beginning of 2020 it fell down (again) severely and some parts of it was suck up by a vacuum cleaner in further consequence. Fortunately the producers of LPG have foresightfully added several extra building blocks to the construction set, thus it could be repaired in the meantime and has readied itself for the next adventures.
Uraufführung von «A Gnomic Inventory» im Wiener Musikverein
December 26, 2019
Am 16. Dezember brachte der Wiener Concert Verein unter der Leitung von Claus Peter Flor «A Gnomic Inventory» zur Uraufführung. Die Uraufführung des 13-minütigen Werks für Kammerorchester im ausverkauften Brahms-Saal fand große Zustimmung.
Zum Stück: In sechs aneinander gereihten musikalischen Bildern umspinnt mein gnomisches Inventar verschiedene Themenbereiche, die sich als fragiler Faden durch alle Ebenen der Komposition ziehen. Hören wir uns durch die mondumdunkelte Nacht, durch die Girlanden flackernden Kerzenscheins, durchs Geflirr der Pulsare am Nachthimmel und harren wir der dreizehn Gongschläge, die zum martialischen Verderben laden, um am Ende alle triumpfgebeulten Versprechungen auszuschlagen—so als ob beim Holst-Zitat die Miene des Bleistifts bricht, ohne dass es noch zu Ende geschrieben vom Papier schimmert.
Das Werk entstand im Sommer 2019 mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch die SKE.
The Adventure In The Christmas Tree —
A story with the little giraffe
Christmas is almost over. ‘Tis about time to recap what has happened in the past hours. As giraffes are not typically involved in Christmas ceremonies, I though it would turn out to be a somewhat tough task to write about something Christmassy linked to the little giraffe. Guess what! Stories arise from fir trees and there is even absolutely no need to touch upon Christmas songs.
The day before Christmas, our Christmas tree—a fir with fluffy needles—was already mounted in the dining room not being brightened up in the usual festive way yet. The idea that burst into my mind was the following: It might make a funny picture to place the little giraffe on the very top of the fir tree, virtually acting as the only decorative element of the sawn down indoor plant.
This is what I did. Or let’s put it this way: This is what went awry instead of resulting in a nice picture for my blog. We have already discussed at this place, that the little giraffe is a rather frangible animal. Small injuries such as broken legs or a fallen off tail are usually mended on the fly. If the little giraffe happens to be totalled or if it suffers multiple organ failure, it might become necessary to consult the construction manual.
During the photo session on the fir tree, the little giraffe first fell of its assigned twig. In the course of the tumble, it lost two legs and the tail. One might not assume that such an accident was to be considered serious, because obviously it would not have been necessary to look into the construction manual to restore its vital functions. What troubled me was the fact that one leg and the body of the little giraffe landed safely on the floor, but the other leg and the tail got lost in the limbs of the fir tree.
Any Christmas tree displays itself as a perfect cloak of invisibility for little giraffes’ appendages. After having scanned the fir for more than half an hour I went over to looking for another solution to have our little giraffe bounced back. We have to take into consideration at this point that construction sets for little giraffe like animals contain more components than actually needed. I had a quick look at the spare parts stock just to find out that only one part of an extra tibia was left. A little giraffe never ever breaks its shins. Two of these bone fragments would have made my day, but one solemn splinter proved useless.
I tried to shake the fir tree in order to hear something falling down other than a needle. I even fetched my smart phone in order to illuminate every corner of the tree. Finally the lost pieces of plastic have somehow made it all the way down to the floor too and the giraffe was repaired successfully.
Hoping that you will excuse me for not providing you a better picture of the little giraffe towering over the giant Christmas tree for some obvious reasons I’d like to wish you happy reading—
Season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year!