However, the proven form of the solo concerto with comments on the pieces will not change.
The 6 themes and the composer in charge:
A breakdown by year has not yet been made here. For each theme there is a short text by me, in the course of time it is supplemented by texts of the composers and their programmes.
The entrance fee for both concerts is 10/6 Euro that can be paid following this link: https://paypal.me/matlorenzcello/10. Or you can use bank transfer, you'll get my number at this link. You can download your program-booklet here.
The individual is inseparable from the society in which he or she lives.
In the 20th and 21st century one might have to say: in which it suffers.
More precisely: The image that the individual gains from himself or herself, from the experience of the society in which he or she finds himself or herself, is unsolvable. In the self-representation and the representation of others, we may perhaps find a clue as to how the social as an exterior "migrates" into the interior of the individual or is reflected there.
But in this area there is no easy map and no clear road map. And crude judgments a la Being determines consciousness do not reach very deeply.
A possible indication of familiarity or strangeness in a social biotope, of local movement or constancy, of social contact density or isolation may be derived from the biography. From voluntary or forced relocations a reference to political or social violence to which someone was or is exposed. From the self-certificates evidence for resistance or adaptation.
But can the interplay of self- versus foreign determination really be evaluated and fathomed neatly in a life? This is not the case, but it is possible to gain a sensitivity for circumstances that influence the work and creation of a person. Whether the person in question with his work, e. g. his artistic work, then also "really" wanted to express something of the surrounding conditions and their impact is almost secondary in this kind of consideration. For they have entered the work anyway, knowingly or unknowingly.
In the compilation of compositions that I have made under the aspect of politics/society for the concert series "heteronomous", it is perhaps only on the fringes (?), maybe not at all (?), maybe nothing else (?) as about "political" music. One will most likely suspect the political in Nikolaus A. Huber's "Der Ausrufer steigen ins Innere" (The Exclamator Climbs Inside) - but especially since Huber has always expressed himself in commentaries and interviews as a composer with political aspirations. But what about the "Four Studies" by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, a music of silence? Is this gesture of music an expression equivalent for the author's final silence in an unbearable world of life in a materially saturated but ideologically corrupted country? We don't know. But we are mindful and open to the fact that this silence might also mean "in reality" a loud saying no. With compositions by Younghi Pagh-Paan, Uros Rojko and Görgy Ligeti, authors whose lives are determined by exile or migration experiences come into view. Here, then, lies a social aspect that affects the life and work of an artist, open to the surface. It would be interesting to follow the traces that have been found in Ligeti's Sonata for Cello solo (1948 - 53) from his post-war experience in now socialist-organized Hungary. Or how traditional (in the truest sense of the word) manifests itself in "AAGA I" by the Korean composer Younghi Pagh-Paan, or in the laconic "Ja" of the Slovenian composer Uros Rojko, who has been commuting between Germany and his hometown Ljubliana for years. And finally, it remains to be asked how much or how little "GDR music" lies in Friedrich Goldmann's "Cellomusik" from 1974, beyond all technical, formal and analytical perspectives.
Thus, the search for the political-social in art does not seem obsolete at all. It cannot be expected to answer all the questions. However, it can serve to (better) do justice to reality - and thus also to the contradictory reality of a work of art and its author.
(Nikolaus Brass)Homepage Nikolaus Brass
Many rightly claim that art, and with it music, is always political. Just as rightly, however, it is questioned whether it is possible for music to convey a clear (political-social) message through music. Right and left rock music, for example, differ more in their lyrics than in the music itself.
How much can New Music nevertheless succeed in taking up political processes? Are there pieces that formulate certain questions unambiguously or of which musicians are certain that the particularities of a work clearly pose questions in the direction of society and politics? Does music by "political" composers (such as Nono, Nikolaus A. Huber, Henze) differ from that of their colleagues (and why)?
In our society, musicians (unless they have sufficient resources from other sources) live within the framework of the cultural business. The selection of composition commissions, of played pieces and programme concepts is not least always dependent on economic issues. Even to the question of whether all those involved in the music business can devote sufficient time to the individual project or whether economic reasons force them to accept any possible project (and thus have too much work). Or the aspect that certain requests require a "yes" in order to strengthen or maintain one's own reputation, which in turn has financial consequences.
So there are (at least) two fields that could be reflected in music: On the one hand, the economy as a whole and, on the other, the specific question of the economic dependence of one's own actions.
Science allows humans to understand the world around us. Science gives us the tools to make sense of how we, and the world, work. It reveals where we came from, how everything began - indeed, science also tells us how everything will end [idea explored in Wilson/Na kraju (at the end)].
Science uncovers the mysteries behind the processes of life and gives us the knowledge to understand those processes [Korać/Decomposition // Mulvey/Syzygy (has both astronomical and biological meanings)]. Science itself is the process of inquiry and exploration, of pushing and breaking boundaries and discovering the New [Saunders & Lim, explorations of instrument]. Science continues to give us advances and inventions that make life better, more comfortable, and more interesting [reflected in Ueno/Age of Aircraft].
My programme reflects all these aspects of science, and even includes a connection to those literary and cinematic genres (Science Fiction!) which take scientific ideas and extrapolate them far beyond their stated possibilities [Lim/Invisibility].
(Ian Wilson)Homepage Ian Wilson
In the Middle Ages music belongs within the septem artes liberales to the quadrivium, along with mathematics, arithmetic and astronomy. In the trivium, grammar, rhetoric and dialectic are contrasted. This is astonishing, because trivium is actually about the humanities - in modern terms - but music stands together with the natural sciences. According to today's understanding, the classification would have been assumed to be different.
In our culture, science and technology are interlinked. Does this mean that taking up new techniques is also a reference to science? Is making large amounts of data audible already music? Is it even worthwhile to let science flow into music? Where does a connection between music and (natural) science show up in today's pieces?
Art certainly has something to do with expression. In music, this is often reduced to the expression of emotions. But expression can mean much more than that. One can express one's opinion and there are mathematical expressions, just to mention two more examples.
How can music do that, express emotions? Can it be precise, or does it get stuck in general? And what can music express beyond emotions? How one-dimensional is the idea of emotional expression possibly?
In contrast to language, which has found a use in writing that does without the voice and its sound, "sound" is elementary in music. With every musical learning and practicing, the sound of the instrument, or of the voice, with every selection and combination of certain instruments or voices and registers, with every use of an instrument or voice in a certain pitch and dynamic, the sound is decided. The weight of the decision on sound over other aspects of a musical piece naturally varies from piece to piece and from composer to composer. It is seldom possible to determine analytically in retrospect at what point in time and in what context the decision about the sound quality of a piece was made during the composition process.
At the latest with Luigi Russolo's Intonarumori and Varèse's Ionisation, but even more so with the development of electronic sound production, the field of musically usable sounds has expanded to include everything audible. Where "sound" serves not only as a distinguishing feature of a certain product - be it the specific tone of a pop group, be it the car brand with a door noise design - the emphasis of a "sound" as a primary specific feature of a music usually requires a reduction in other areas. "Sound culture", "sound art", "Klangkunst" are terms that are intended to indicate such reductions, especially in the field of electronic music. But of course the transitions are fluid.
Alvin Lucier is a composer who is primarily interested in acoustic phenomena. His piece "Glacier" is based on a graph of the development of the melting of 30 glaciers between 1980 and 2004. The curve is converted directly into a descending tone curve from f1 to C. For each year he prescribes one minute of playing time. The piece thus consists of a very slow, not quite even glissando over the four strings of the cello, which are bowed evenly and continuously. Several aspects of "sound" become audible in this piece. Many small details become clear in the "normal" sound of the cello: each string sounds a little different, you hear the differences between fingered and empty strings and between upstroke and downstroke, the bow changes become events. Added to this are the resonances of the room, which reacts a little differently to each pitch.
Johannes Schöllhorn works in a similarly reduced, less continuous manner, yet also with a long, almost imperceptible development. "Grisaille" describes a painting that is limited to grey, white and black. This technique was used above all in medieval panel painting. Their shadow effect leads to an almost spatial effect. Schöllhorn's piece has a very slow pulse, which is marked by small figures or long tones. If he uses mainly harmonics at the beginning and a few notes bowed on the bridge, this sonority shifts gradually throughout the piece to notes bowed over the fingerboard, which sound fuller, softer and less rich in overtones.
With Michael Maierhof's "splitting 27" we leave the realm of "normal" cello sounds. He uses a "splitter" - a plastic glass with several free-swinging glass marbles - which is used as an alienator of the sound. With this Maierhof achieves surfaces of split sounds that are rubbing, clinking, brittling, creaking, broken. Maierhof arranges these areas rhythmically into longer processes. The characteristics of his "sounds" are reminiscent of electronically generated sounds.
"Morgenlachen" also has similar sounds, but here they are produced without extra tools just with the cello and the bow, and thus remain much quieter. Here Schmidt-Mechau dissects the usual playing movements of cello playing and reassembles them in a new way, resulting in completely unusual movements. He only notes the movements, the "sounds" themselves remain a result that can vary from player to player.
The Uruguayan composer, Graciela Paraskevaídis, remains close to the social and political conditions of our present with her compositions and seeks to make this connection clear with her "sounds". In her composition "... Il remoto silenzio" she uses extracts from two poems by Cesare Pavese as a poetic reference:
... Il remoto silenzio
... muto, nel buio
Ci saranno altri giorni,
ci saranno altre voci.
... The distant silence
... silent, in the dark
There will be other days,
there will be other voices.
We all have an idea of what a cello sounds like. Regardless of whether the cello is used "as usually", or whether so-called new ways of playing play a role, or whether it is used as an experimental field for previously unheard sounds: Perhaps because I am a cellist, I am always seduced by the sound of the cello.
Where is the sound while composing respectively in the finished piece? Is it, so to speak, the surface that results from a deeper structure? Or is it the starting point that gives birth to a certain structure of the work out of itself? Are there any differences between pieces that emanate from the one or the other - can you still recognize that in the finished piece at all? Can pure sound become the carrier of content?
The contrast between "work" and "process" can certainly be questioned. Each individual work is always also a process: be it as a score (work1) on the basis of its genesis, which can never be "momentary" and always contains open-endedness and ramifications, even if in the end a supposedly final version confronts us. But also the work as the sounding result of the rehearsal work (work2) is at the same time completed and process. Many particularly elaborate compositions that have been completed "work-wise" have been created in processes lasting years or even decades and are thus only a selection of the materials created, used, selected and discarded for the composition, and every composition, however "processually" openly revealed, is a "work" (at the latest) at the moment of its performance, even if, in the case of a graphic or aleatoric composition for example, it can never be reproduced in any way.
Beyond that, however, the work in the sense of the complete works of an artistically active personality (work3) is itself a process that encompasses the entire creative biography and from which every single work1 that appears to be completed and noted out is only a fragmentary excerpt.
The program conception is based on this dialectic. First of all, it contains two pieces each by the three selected composers, as it were "samples" or "sampling moments" of the overall biographical continuum, as excerpts from the process that manifests itself as a work3. This may already give the impression that the differences between the early and later pieces by Scelsi, who supposedly composed in a processual, large-scale "flow", are greater than those between Mamlok and Shapey, who can be more clearly assigned to a "work" aesthetic. However, there are other secondary aspects behind this: Scelsi saw himself as the rebirth of a former existence, and thus in turn only as part of a larger process. Ursula Mamlok, for her part, found in Ralph Shapey the teacher best able to introduce her to that continuum (be it actual or supposed) as which Western music presents itself to us, and which in the case of Mamlok and Shapey goes back to Wolpe, Schönberg, Busoni, Liszt, Beethoven, Bach and early vocal polyphony. Shapey's Krosnick solos are part of a music-historical process, because it also refers to the history of interpretation, i. e. to the work2 aspect (and Joel Krosnick again played the world premiere of Mamlok's composition).
In addition, various aspects of the idea of processuality are important in the pieces themselves: in the form of variations (in Mamlok's Fantasy Variations), in the superimposition of three levels or individual works to form a third (in Shapey's Solo Duo Trio) and, of course, in Scelsi's works, which postulate by their form that they have neither beginning nor end, and yet of course must begin and end in every performance just as much as any other composition. The allusion to the ages in Scelsi's trilogy may be understood as a further reference to processes as well as to completed stages (in ancient Rome, as is well known, it was possible to divide the ages very precisely into twenty-year-steps).
The "instruction manual" for the program reflects all of this in its openness to how the cellist may deal with the works and their limitations. Everything is possible - from the conventional concert form, strictly divided into a programme sequence with pause, to a continuous sound band in which the boundaries of the works need not differ any more.
(Benjamin Schweitzer)Homepage Benjamin Schweitzer
Some pieces of music are clearly intended as a process, others as a finished works. Nevertheless, there are always cases in which something that one thought was a finished work is still changed (shortly after the premiere or even decades later). And occasionally there are such convincing versions of processually planned works that they are given a work character.
Is there any difference between work and process at all? Isn't music as art, apart from pre-produced music, always a process anyway, never just a work, due to the role of the performer? And what about the audience that hears a step in the process as it would hear a finished work? So is the difference noticeable except in the program booklet text? And if so, how?