Almost 40 years ago I dedicated myself to new music -- to the fundamental questioning of all musical conventions, new sounds, new forms of performance, new ideas. I decided that would be my life. I discovered it in 1982 at the Institut für Neue Musik at the Freiburger Musikhochschule, at an intense time. I composed without thinking about it as a career path. I was studying chemistry, not composition.
Somehow, I suspected that becoming a professional composer would force me to enter a new music culture that was so established that opportunities to be open and the exploratory were only available to a few. When I was a student, new music was already 40 years old. not only had most of the conventions been broken for decades, but the cultural scene had also become defined, promoting young composers in a standardized way and with standardized biographies. Adapting to this culture was the key to professional success and didn’t have anything necessarily to do with the promises of new music.
Composition has remained my life’s work to this day, but i’ve never made it my job. The promise of freedom in new music has always been important to me. This free- dom also includes living a curriculum vitae on my own terms, moving away from the composition task for years if necessary, and then approaching it again with full commit- ment. It includes composing works without waiting for a commission. It also includes not being guided by performance opportunities, which most composers reduce in the course of their lives. I’ve always been bound to composing works out of necessity.
Of course, this has serious consequences. As a composer I have no income. The works are not performed for some time. They stay in your head or on paper. That first happened to me when I was 40 years old. I hadn’t foreseen it, even though it was predictable. I had composed the huge work From trachila, without commission. It had to be performed in a large setting, and it had to be an hour of music. I had frustrating experiences that I shared with many colleagues. during this time, I made decisions that I have made again and again since. I discovered the possibility of making studio productions of my works affordable with the help of digital techniques and thus making my music audible without it being performed. I call it hyper-realistic recording. First, I record the work voice-by-voice and passage-by-passage with a single musician. Errors can be discussed and corrected immediately. Exact rhythmic synchronization is not required – here, too, you can save time. Fast or almost unplayable passages are slowed down or recorded in parts in order to accelerate them again on the computer or to put them together afterwards. Pitch errors can also be corrected afterwards. During months of work, the thousands of sound snippets are assembled into a complete re- cording. Finally, the recording is spatialized and placed in a concert hall with artificial reverb. In this way, a perfect interpretation is achieved that could otherwise only be achieved with extreme effort in normal production. A specially developed software environment makes the work efficient by sorting and preassembling the recordings.
This procedure is a real experiment and at the same time a big taboo-breaker. It has received frequent criticism from all sides that the moments of interaction between the musicians is missing. Most often, critics predict that the music will sound mechanical due to the digitally exact time grid.
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released June 30, 2021
Yulianna Vaydner (soprano), Nick Reed, Pascal Pons (percussion) (1)
LENsemble Vilnius, Vykintas Baltakas (conduncting) (2)
We believe that Free Improvisation and Contemporary Classical Music are just two dialects of the same language. That is why
we start this series within the NoBusinessRecords Label: to create more synergy between these musical circles and to create opportunities for fans in both aesthetics to discover one another’s treasures in music.
supported by 6 fans who also own “Thomas Hummel - For Vykintas”
Joelle Leandre's large ensemble work Can You Hear Me? is an exercise in the 21st century understanding of musical form. It is one of those pieces that is difficult to describe - you just have to hear it for yourself... if you can? Christopher Moklebust