Sound Art / Spoken Word
Edition Wandelweiser co-founder Jürg Frey presents the starkly beautiful minimalism of ’24 Wörter’, a song cycle based around the album’s evocative song titles, and performed by the trio of Regula Konrad (soprano), Andrew Nathaniel McIntosh (violin), and Dante Boon (piano). They’re mostly very succinct works with no detectable fat to trim, forming a gorgeous, dreamlike archipelago of experimental contemporary classical compositions...
“Jürg Frey in conversation with Thomas Adank:
JF: The 24 words are the titles of the individual pieces, and they are at the same time the entire text. They are also a list that shows how the piece gets from a beginning to an end. It is, in a sense, a cycle not simply a collection of pieces - a cycle which begins, makes a journey and ends at a different place.
TA: If I had to categorize this list of words, it seems to me they are addressed to quite different areas. Herzeleid (Heartbreak) for example, sounds old-fashioned, Einsamkeitsmangel (Lack of Loneliness) almost sounds like a neologism, as do Halbschlafphantasie, (Half-Sleep Fantasy) Sehnsuchtslandschaft (Landscape of Longing), Vergessenheitsvogel (Bird of Oblivion). Others, such as Tod (Death), Schlaf (Sleep), Glück (Happiness), Wind (Wind), are very often used in everyday life. Did you, as you compiled this list, consider these categories? Or did you tell yourself a story that made these words necessary?
JF: I was thinking in categories. At first I really wanted to make an even more rigid sequence. As it now stands, with the long words at the end and the short words in the middle, you can still feel a little of this structure; also at the beginning, which has many words with "e" and "ei". However, now it is not so strict. The words developed lives of their own, and this displaced some of the original structure. Some are everyday words, others are made by combining words, and some words found individual paths into the piece, including some very personal things. L'oiseau d'oubli ("Vergessenheitsvogel",Bird of Oblivion) comes from Edmond Jabès and is a tribute to this author I adore. But I also think that here Jabès has given me the perfect word.
Dante Boon / pianoRegula Konrad / vocalsAndrew Nathaniel Mcintosh / violin
Recorded 16.17 September 2013, Aarau, Schweiz.
Jürg Frey - 24 Wörter
Composer Eva-Maria Houben in a collaborative work with bass flutist Rebecca Lane and bass clarinetist Samuel Dunscomb, the composer performing on piano and orgran, for two renderings of "Observing Objects", a patient work of long notes and tones interspersed with silence, lower registers in the winds balanced by the piano or organ's upper register.
Samuel Dunscombe / bass clarinetRebecca Lane / bass fluteEva-Maria Houben / organ, piano
1. Observing Objects - 28:18
2. Observing Objects - 28:18
Eva-Maria Houben. Rebecca Lane. Samuel Dunscombe - observing objects
The piece originated from a field recording at Mentryville Park in Southern California; alone, in the same location, and as the sun was rising, which was transcribed by Martin and Amy Golden, Ben Levinson, Davy Sumner, and Ryan Gaston using Martin's system of notating silence. All slightly different, these five transcriptions were then combined into a score in which performers could wander while reading at their own pace(s) left to right.
1. so softly that it came, a wild dim chatter, meaningless - 72:00
LUKE MARTIN - so softly that it came, a wild dim chatter, meaningless
"'Air" is yet another utterly impressive offering from, in my opinion, one of the most consistently extraordinary composers at work today, one who continues to unveil new facets of her persona. Hear it." - Brian Olewnick
"And if you would ask me for a statement to composing, to my composing – I would answer: listening becomes the awareness of fading sound. Fading sound is the link between life and art; between perception in daily life and perception while performing, while composing. And the awareness of fading sound may become the awareness of presence.I am pianist and – in addition – organist. As organist I never forget that the organ is a wind-instrument. My pieces for organ and my “installations” for organ (the installations last many hours) ask: Am I realizing a piece? There is hardly anything you may hear in the church. The organ releases as a jewel each single sound; each stream of air; each noise: disappearing into the space of the hall. The listener will find the way to listening: in this particular room with this particular organ and its streams of sound/ air/ wind. All sound, all streams of air and noises are quiet; sometimes hardly recognizable. The sound of music; the noise of music; the sound and noise of everyday life: they cut into each other. Both sound and noise of music do not depend on silence as with a piece of music. Both sound and noise do not need any silent location: they are quiet themselves; their quietness creates silent rooms, which welcome all sounds. It is organ the machine and human beings working together. Man cannot breathe sounds of almost eternal duration; but the organ must not be considered a machine. My pieces for organ require the player: moving the keys; make the winds stream. Sounds, wind, noises of the organ as a wind-instrument and the silence at sacred spaces: not a coincidence. Churches’ sacred spaces turn into locations for people to nothing more than just be there and breathe; where people can listen – unhindered by any possible meaning of sounds and streams of air. In spite of the fact that the organ may have an endless breath – I composed one of my first organ pieces dazwischen (between) (2000) with two drones – you can hear “nearly nothing” by listening to the streams of air." - Eva-Maria Houben
Recorded 2014, ref. church Elgg, Switzerland (ein schlummer), Hardstudios Winterthur, Switzerland (aufhören; atmen V: flutes), St Margareta, Dortmund-Eichlinghofen (atmen 5, organ)
Eva Maria Houben - Air - works for flutes and organ
"Madrid born composer, painter and sculptor Maria De Alvear wrote Besando El Tiempo in 1995. Public awareness of her music had grown a few years earlier with pianist Hildegard Kleeb’s excellent, intense and flinty interpretation of her spartan score En Amor Duro (hatART CD). Revisiting that encounter with tough love might be good preparation for the testing experience of listening to flautist Antoine Beuger on this stark and protracted new release. De Alvear’s refusal to dress instrumental sound in anything more than rudimentary musical trappings is disarming. The flute player often seems to have become absorbed by some private ritual, meandering in quiet introspection, picking over simple phrases at considerable length, all the while grappling with the task of kissing time set out in the title." - The Wire
1. Besando El Tiempo (7./8.2.1995) 46:032. Besando El Tiempo (9./10.2.1995) 47:19
Recorded: Haan (2015/2016)
Maria de alvear - besando el tiempo
"Issued under Bondi's name, he's joined by his Diatribes partner D'Incise on this composition, the former playing Indian harmonium, melodica, harmonica and pitch pipes, the latter Indian harmonium, electric organ and melodica. From the instrumentation alone, you get the idea that you're going to be experiencing, among other things, some rich drone-oriented music and yes, that's one aspect of 'euhesma, 2017'. Euhesma, incidentally, is a genus of bee and one wonders whether at least part of the piece is a meditation on that species' apparent decline in the world." - Brian Olewnick
1. Euhesma, 2017 - 40:18
Cyril Bondi / harmonium, melodica, harmonica, pitch pipesd'incise / harmonium, organ, melodica
Cyril Bondi - Euhesma, 2017
"recently, I have become interested in the idea of music blending with the environment the listener is in, rather than the music creating its own environment. In listen, I have recorded a balance of sounds that occur naturally throughout the day and others created intentionally in imitation of those sounds.
the piece is comprised of four field recordings, collected in an area near my current home (Avon, CT) at different times of the day. I listened to each of the recordings and isolated sounds that I found interesting and then attempted to recreate them intentionally. I accomplish this either by shutting a door, opening a mailbox, turning on a sink, etc.
I also imitate sounds by finding a similar instrumental sound (such as rubbing hands on a bass drum to create a wind-like sound). the instrumental sounds are mixed very low and may even been inaudible in most listening situations.the last compositional element is the human voice, sparsely utilized and becoming more so throughout the piece. none of the sounds have been electronically processed in any way. this work may be listened to in any environment.
listen was originally conceived as a headphone piece; however, using speakers or other playback methods may be interesting as well. it is my hope that listen can remind listeners to pay attention to their environment's sounds not only when listening to this piece but, when listening in general."
- kevin, spring 2015
Kevin Good / electronics
Andrey Stolyarov, Jean Carlo Urena Gonzalez, Jianpeng Feng, Ken Steen, Libby Cohen, Mike Jones, Robert Carl, Sayun Chang, Yudong Wong / voices
recorded: avon, ct (usa), 3/22/2015
Kevin Good - Listen
Soprano vocalist Irene Kurka performs two works works by Antoine Beuger, and one each by Christopher Fox, Eva-Maria Houben, and Thomas Stiegler, accompanied by Antoine Beuger on flute for his composition "Chants de Passage"; 5 beautiful, unhurried works that bring the delicate beauty of each compositions, and of Kurka's refined voice, to a resonant foreground.
1. Antoine Beuger - Un Lieu Pour Faire Sonner L’éternité - 8:402. Christopher Fox - Too Far: Showing And Telling - 12:383. Eva-Maria Houben - Images II - 19:254. Thomas Stiegler - Treibgut IV - 10:335. Antoine Beuger - Chants de Passage - 24:13
Recorded 31/08 - 03/09.2015 munster heilsbronn. Read all texts here.
Chants - Irene Kurka
"Marianne Schuppe continues to reimagine songs and their relation to tone and melody, here in a series of 11 songs realized with voice, lute, and uber bows, creating delicate accompaniment to her lucid movements between pure sound and words, singing and speaking her lyrics of succinct phrases rich in subtle intimation and evocative imagery; beautiful.
"nosongs" takes the ideas and qualities of Schuppe's previous work and distils and refines them into an even more potent brew. These most tenuous of songs are also song at its most compelling." - Nathan Thomas, Fluid Radio
Marianne Schuppe - nosongs
Waeckerlé’s Ode (owed) to O subjects Pauline Réage’s well known novel of sexualised self- abasement to a set of deformations that translate it into the sphere of acoustic sounding.
"Reading through and reading from a book of words to a single letter, to breath and silence.picking words attached to her, then caressing her with our breath, just enough to taste her, sometimes distracted, held back even by the flavour of other words, our self-consciousness temporarily abolished by the vertigo of another's language.each one of us had to find a way among the multiple reading paths created by eye and mind wandering the pages from one O to another, navigating between erotic literature, conceptual writing and verbal score." - EW(story of) was performed from pauline réage’s book Story of O (1954), (looking for) from (reading) O score in emmanuelle waeckerlé’s Reading (story of) O(Uniformbooks , 2015).O(nly) and O(hh) from eponymous scores available from http://www.ewaeckerle.com/moiedition/books"To a greater or lesser extent, everyone depends on stories, on novels, to discover the manifold truth of life. Only such stories, read sometimes in a trance, have the power to confront a person with his fate. This is why we must keep passionately striving after what constitutes a story."George Bataille, Blue of Noon, appendix: The author's foreword (1957)
"So, whether one is looking for a powerful feminist expression, a series of innovative text experiments, or a slab of avant-garde bliss, Ode (owed) to O delivers it in an exciting way." - Free Jazz Blog
Emmanuelle Waeckerlé - Ode (owed) to O
A sine tone disappears gradually as silences are inserted into it, which grow - over a duration of 20 minutes - in both number and length. In each case, a silence of 10 minutes is added to the end of this process.
A sine wave disappears successively, as more and more breastfeeding takes place over a period of 20 minutes. This process is followed by a silence of 10 minutes.
1. sine tone 1 - 30:00
2. sine tone 2 - 30:00
Christoph Korn - SIMEON
The German composer Eva-Maria Houben, a member of the increasingly influential Wandelweiser Group, seems to view notes less as musical building blocks than as discrete entities with complex life cycles, and absence as a substantive presence. Her newest disc on the group’s label is an excellent entry point, pairing her spacious, mantralike “Traumverloren I” (“Lost in Dreams I”) and Piano Sonata No. 10 (“Les Cloches du Songe: Traumglocken — Dream Bells”), a sequence of finely wrought tributes to Mussorgsky, Enescu, Schumann, Liszt and Messiaen. (Steve Smith)
1. ‘Traumverloren I' (lost in dreams I) (2010)
2. ’Klaviersonate nr. 10' (sonata for piano no. 10) (2013), 'les cloches du songe' (traumglocken - dream bells)
3. I: in memoriam modest mussorgsky
4. II: in memoriam george enescu
5. III: in memoriam robert schumann
6. IV: in memoriam franz liszt7: V: in memoriam olivier messiaen
Eva Maria Houben - lost in dreams - works for piano
“The string quartet sounds sometimes like the silence of a square, a room, a wall or a landscape. The music is silent, but not absent. It is not speechless, and it also does not move with virtuosity bordering on silence. The music gets its vitality and its radiance, not from gesture and figuration, but in quiet presence – everything is there: colours, sensations, shadows, durations. The music is silent architecture.
The music has different emotional and architectural sonic spaces. Voluminous and fallow land, lightness and heaviness of materials, intimacy and being lost appear and disappear. And there are lines between which one crosses quietly. This music is created by simple and clear procedures; however, the requirement for the precision increases. Elemental materials and constructions are thereby perceived as a sensation, and mindfulness consists in hanging these sensations in balance before they have arrived at the limitations of expressiveness.
Unhörbare Zeiten (inaudible times) are empty volumes in the music. Durations without sounds define their own entity and develop their architectural presence. One should add nothing to these empty volumes, neither in composition nor while listening. They should remain open, light and serene. I am working with audible and inaudible durations that appear partly simultaneously and partly consecutively. They give the piece lucidity and transparency, as well as materiality and solidity. There are sometimes almost spatial or bodily deci- sions to achieve a balance of the material, of the feeling for the piece, and of the compositional technique, and to create, from an initial idea of something limitless - a music with energy and breath.”
“Rarely is music so gorgeously listenable also so explorative, rarely does music with one eye of music’s traditions sound so thoroughly modern. This is out there on its own.” - The Watchful Ear
Jürg Frey - String Quartet No. 3 / Unhörbare Zeit
Eleven songs for voice and lute by the Swiss singer and composer Marianne Schuppe. Schuppe is part of the Wandelweiser collective and is known for her interpretation of works by Morton Feldman. Using the voice and sustained e-bow, Schuppe presents her first Wandelweiser solo record - eleven ‘songs’ which deconstruct melody, diction, duration and timbre. Engaged in an element of drone, ‘slow songs’ is part folk, part chant, part landscape - a stand out record in the Wandelweiser catalogue.
"The richness and detail that other artists appearing on Wandelweiser achieve with complex harmony is here achieved with a single note. This can clearly be heard by comparing the two versions of the songs ‘key’ and ‘pretty ride’: while the two versions are in different keys, the insides of the notes are also a whole different story." - Fluid Radio
I see a deerI see a deer in a shield behind the trees in my sighthe is simplynot to be here with my kindwondering to bejust betweenon his shoulder he carries some lightwith an openingI haven't seenhim for long on his chairon his Hochsitzeven though it ispouring away some rain towipe out the writings in timecables go throughno rare earth to lure himsome batteries are with some risksome gazellas are with shieldsas one colouris amendedhe is standing kind ofhungry
Marianne Schuppe / voice, lute
Recorded: August 26-28th, 2015, Le Puid, France by Willy Daum. e-bows by Peter Vittali. Mixed and mastered by Willy Daum. Special thanks to Peter Vittali and Antoine Beuger
Marianne Schuppe - Slow Songs
The MaDam Electroacoustic Improvisation Collective based in Spain performs the first in Pisaro's 34 piece Harmony Series, which attempts to create the conditions for a harmonic situation without giving any actual notes, just numbers, durations of tones, and pauses; this work is based on "swell piece (for alison knowles)" (1967) by James Tenney.
colectivo maDam / voice
sometimes (harmony series no. 1) - 69:00
1. I2. II3. III 4. IV---
Recorded by Alvaro Barriuso at Teatro Pradillo in Madrid, September 4th 2013. Mastered by Wade Matthews and Alvaro Barriuso.
Michael Pisaro - sometimes
Huge collection of gorgeous organ compositions by Eva-Maria Houben, performed by Carson Cooman---Tracklisting:sonatina no. 1 (2016)01. lento sognante (dreamily slow)02. come un’ ombra movente (like a moving shadow)03. con una leggerezza fantasiosa (with an odd lightness)
sonatina no. 2 (2016)04. sogni confusi (confused dreams)05. come un leggero vapore iridato (like a rainbow-colored mist)06. con una lenta e grave eleganza (with a dignified and slow elegance)
sonatina no. 3 (2016)07. sognante / ”sogno marittimo” (dreamy / “sea-dream”)08. come un inno. da molto lontano: uscendo dalla foschia (like a hymn. from very far away: appearing out of the fog)09.con una grande dolcezza (with great tenderness)10. drones (2014)
Carson Cooman / organ ---recorded in hoofdorgel, laurenskerk, rotterdam (netherlands) august / september 2016.organ is a marcussen & son, 1973; model by jiri zurek, 2012
Eva-Maria Houben - Organ Sonatinas and Drones
The score of "Stones" consists of just a few lines of text:
Make sounds with stones, draw sounds out of stones, using a number of sizes and kinds (and colours); for the most part discretely; sometimes in rapid sequences. For the most part striking stones wfth stones, but also stones on other surfaces (inside the open head of a drum, for instance) or other than struck (bowed, for instance, or amplified). Do not break anything. Christian Wolff, STONES, (from: Prose Collection, 1968-74)
Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble:
Antoine BeugerJürg FreyChico MelloMichael PisaroBurkard SchlothauerKunsu ShimThomas Stiegler---Recorded by Peter Hecker at atelier bubu, Berlin, 1995. Executive Producer - Peter Hecker.
Christian Wolff - Stones
Three works - two for large ensembles of performers on sax, guitar, clarinet, voice, percussion, horn, flute, vibes, and objects that belie the size of the group in its fragile presences, with a shorter trio of Frey, Greg Stuart and Erik Carlson transitioning the large pieces; compositions conceived as both short presences within abundant orchestration.
We tend to connect the aspect of structure with safety and stability;the ephemeral, in contrast, in something uncertain and fleeting, something not easy to grasp. thus structure and ephemerality seem to be opposites. in a musical work, though, the can coexist equivalently.one on the one hand, the sum of constructive processes and clear formal decisions leads to a clear architecture.consistently taking it into spheres of lightness and evanescence.the persuasive, coercing power immanent to structure must be avoided. structure then becomes fragile and permeable, allowing the ephemeral to unfold its presence, and, in this presence, to evoke a gleam of permanence.a substantial part of my work takes place in this intermediate zone.a structure hardly touched gives rise to a music that simply wants sensation. a breeze, light and shadow,spaces of colour, a glimpse, a landscape.
- Jürg Frey, sketchbook, 2007.
University Of South Carolina Emperimental Music Workshop Ensemble are:
Jürg Frey / clarinetPhilip Snyder / fluteRachel Whelan / flute, pianoJames Easteppe / guitarJohn Kammerer / hornBailey Seabury / percussionBrian Bethea / saxophoneGreg Stuart / vibraphone, percussionErik Carlson / violinNikil Sairam / violinLogan McLean / voiceMichael Halbrook / objectsAJ Karp / objectsBrooke Rosenberg / objectsChris Ruggiero / objectsDrake Strobel / objectsEric Dennis / objectsJessica Russell / objectsKallam Ashmore / objectsLauren Phillips / objectsMichael Halbrook / objectsNeil Thomas / objectsOlivia Smithson / objects
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jeff Francis at Columbia, SC, April 2016. Made possible by a grant from SC honours college through generous support of jeannette and marshall winn ’74.
Jürg Frey – Ephemeral Constructions