What is your Superpower?
Having a kid and playing modern board games where it is teamwork against the forces of chance or evil (not everyone for him/herself like in my day), it is easy to fall into this kind of thinking. Because these days, everyone is special, right? No one is supposed to get left behind. Everybody has their […]
I have been meaning to keep an online account of my adventures with Georges Aperghis’ piccolo solo “The Dong with a Luminous Nose”, but it’s already three weeks before the performance and I haven’t written much. There are practical reasons for this – one is we ironed out the final version with cuts and tempo […]
In the Middle
Thoughts provoked by working on the middle section of a large piece. Today I focused on pages 14 – 16 (of 21) of Aperghis’ the Dong. What goes on in a composer’s mind at this point? Was it a middle point when it was conceived? How will I survive to the end? How do I […]
Using Harmonics: Making Difficult Intervals Even Harder! Why?
If you have a difficult interval in any kind of musical passage, playing the second note as a harmonic makes it even more difficult. You have to put more effort into directing the air and controlling the air speed. Once you have done that though, going back to the original passage without the harmonic seems […]
Tongue Trippin’ in Munich 3 – a Quetzalcoatlus Dances
When you perform a theatrical piece like Stockhausen’s Zungenspitzentanz for the first time, you may have that need of, just, please, one more rehearsal, one more run-through, just so I don’t mess this up! Immediately after that first performance you may still want to ask: Could I just try that again? Now? At least that […]
Tongue Trippen’ in Munich 2
If I were to write my memoirs, I would refer to this summer as the Siberian Summer. It is astonishingly cold here in Munich; however, our tiny hotel room accommodates us well, and we keep each other warm. On stage, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the spotlights blaze and the astonishing playing, especially from […]
Here’s a comparison photo of three piccolos: (left) a Pearl Grenadite, (center) a Philipp Hammig with an August Richard Hammig headjoint, and (right) an Anton Braun. The photo is pretty bad and overexposed, but you can see the difference in length and taper. Notice that although each piccolo was built to A= 442 specs, that […]
Tips for Complex Rhythms à la Ferneyhough’s Superscriptio
Below is some advice for works by composers (such as Brian Ferneyhough) who use complex rhythms not based on pulse-centered activity. I spoke with Mr. Ferneyhough about this subject and he was very clear that in his music, the measure is a “domain of a certain energy quotient” not related to a pulse. In other […]