Programme Notes

Dream Journal

for piano (2014)

My piano piece „Traumprotokoll“ (dream journal) is a suite of eleven independent, but subcutaneously related mini-bagatelles, which emerged from spontaneous improvisation and were exposed to rational criticism only in the process of formulating the details; a consolidation of fugitive moods, semiconscious memory fragments, impalpable and accidental connections.

The piece was comissioned by Till Fellner and is dedicated to him. 

A House of Mirrors III

for string quartet (2010-2014)

The idea behind A House of Mirrors is to create a musical flow, which follows an immanent compositional logic but remains unpredictable at the same time.

To realize this idea, I developed a computer-aided technique of „distorted mirrors“: a rhythmic and intervallic cell is the basis of a chain of micro-variations, which are connected by constant mirroring with slight deviations concerning intervals, durations, dynamics and modes of playing. The further course of the music is dependent on the mirroring depth (how much of the material is mirrored), on the degree of deviations (how much the material is altered) and on the number of instruments which are mirrorred together (how compact or individualized the instruments are).

In A House of Mirrors III there was no preconceived plan of the overall structure. In the first part the computer served both as a navigation instrument and as a logbook. As unpredictable as the musical flow was the decision to dispense with the computer in the second part of the piece, which works all the way back to the beginning, thus representing as a whole a mirror of the first part – this time distorted by hand.

Frescobaldi da lontano

for piano (2003-2005)

Frescobaldi da lontano is a set of variations on the capriccio cromatico con ligature al contrario by Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643). This piece is transformed by means of various techniques as fragmentation, interpolation, diastematic and rhythmic transposition, anagram or superposition. My aim was to explore several degrees of distance towards a presumably familiar text and to invent a kind of contemporary Frescobaldi style of keyboard writing.

Essay

for clarinet solo (1989)

My Essay for clarinet consists of five symmetric parts, which can be played in two different orders. The order of the sections of these parts is flexible as well but certain combinations are prescribed. The material for the first, third and fifth parts consist of four contrasting musical characters: long notes, nervous figures, singular notes with sharp accents and melodic lines. The second and fourth parts dissolve these characters into perpetual fast motion.

The title refers to the folllowing quote from Robert Musil's „The Man Without Qualities“: It was more or less in the way an essay, in the sequence of its paragraphs, explores a thing from many sides without wholly encompassing it –for a thing wholly encompassed suddenly loses its scope and melts down to a concept – that he believed he could most rightly survey and handle the world and his own life.

The piece was written in 1989, while I was still a student at the Musikhochschule in Vienna.