Monday, January 31, 2011
Manfred Werder - stück 1998 seiten 624-626 (skiti)
Manfred Werder's music presents many an obstacle for both performer and listener. Most recently (via Will Montgomery's realization on Cathnor and Werder's own "2007 (1)" on futow) my exposure to his work has involved field recordings. Not so this one.
"stück 1998", as intrepid Wandelweiserians are aware, consists, in toto, of 4,000 pages of score, each page inscribed with 40 actions, making for 160,000 of these actions and scheduled to last, should one perform it in its entirety, for 533 hours and 20 minutes. For some reason, the trio of Jürg Frey (clarinet), Stefan Thut (cello) and Taku Unami (laptop) chose only to play three pages. These pages are included in the handsome packaging and bear evenly spaced, small type-size notations like (reading across the top row of p. 624), h2 F #A1 c4 d2
These are all notes (in German notation) and are held for six seconds, with six seconds of silence between. Very orderly, very controlled. How the sequences of notes were created, whether intentional or by chance, or some combination thereof, I've no idea. The dynamics stay in the same medium range through this rendition's 32 minutes. The static nature of the instruction obviates the sensuousness one hears in, say, late Feldman, where notes are also laid horizontally next to each other but with infinitely subtle variety in volume, touch, etc. As has been remarked elsewhere, it's very difficult, if not impossible to parse out Unami's contribution from the others; it sounds for all the world like only clarinet and cello. Toward the end, one hears voices, perhaps children, from what sounds like an adjacent room.
And that's that. I find it very hard to say much of anything about this particular recording. Given the score, I find myself thinking of it almost spatially, as one of thousands of performances of the piece, occurring spread out over space and time. This is one small nodule, one matrix of note-points, which can be imagined in a 3 & 4 dimensional array of such nodules, the white pages flitting out from the imposing stack, wafting to this or that ensemble or individual, being read and played, then migrating back to its home. It's rather like a molecule, rigid and disciplined on its own, held in check by strong forces, but when combined with its siblings, possibly part of some wondrous thing, if all but imperceptible by those of us isolated with this one shard.
Toshiya Tsunoda's blog site (skiti is his label)
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