23. March 2020

New Music Monday #1

Concert preparations, rehearsing, the atmosphere until the last note is played and of course to inspire you as an audience – these are just a few things that we as an ensemble are missing out in the current situation.

However, in order to continue to provide you with regular listening pleasure, we release a new recording of our online label here every Monday, following our Monday concert series. Pianist Ulrich Löffler will start with Alvin Lucier‘s Nothing is Realfrom now on online available for free for one week.

>>> Download

Alvin Lucier – Nothing is Real (for piano, amplified teapot, tape recorder and miniature sound system)

Ulrich Löffler reports here about his first, unforgettable listening experience of the piece:
I remember the first time: Essen, mid-1990s. Neither did I know the name of the interpreter, nor what kind of music she played at all, a simple, strangely familiar music, melody fragments on the different registers of the piano, plus wonderful sounding pauses…
After some time the interpreter leaves the piano and conjures the music she just heard out of a teapot. She changes the sound by opening the lid sometimes half, sometimes wide, she raises and lowers the teapot, the sound disappears and comes back. I was completely captivated by the magic of this “tea ceremony” and again and again I thought very quietly “Man, I already know that”…


Extract of the score:

Give the miniature loudspeaker to the bottom of the inside of the teapot.
Route the cable from the loudspeaker out to the amplifier.
Route the output of the recorder to the input of the amplifier.
Plug the microphone into the recorder.
Amplify the teapot with a pair of closely-positioned microphones.

Play the melodic fragments of the song in order,  holding the sustaining pedal down throughout.  Let the clusters formed by the sustained notes sound from 5 to 10 seconds or longer.
Record the performance.
After the last fragment has been played, fade out and rewind the tape.  Play it back into the teapot.  From time to time, as the fragments sound and their clusters sustain, raise and lower the lid of the pot, changing the resonances and extending the melodic fragments with resonance tones, notated in parentheses.  The raising and lowering of the teapot-lid will roughly follow the contour of the resonance tone melodies.  In situations where resonance tones are not produced, directions for opening and closing the lid are simply stated.  Rhythms are free.
Once or twice during the performance pick up the pot, hold it above the surface it reats on, then gently put it back down again, making resonance dissapear and reappear.