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nearly - fast für Klarinette, Marimba und Klavier (2008; ensemble mosaik; live recording)

Harald Muenz on July 19, 2011 10:17

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    Harald Muenz
    nearly – fast (2008)
    For clarinet/bass clarinet, marimba and piano In memoriam Karlheinz Stockhausen

    Commissioned by Cologne Society for Contemporary Music
    Ensemble Mosaik: Christian Vogel - cl/bcl, Roland Neffe - mar, Ernst Surberg - pi

    Score link:

    Here, as in many of my pieces, I constructed at an early compositional stage a sort of scaffolding of numbers, which I then responded to compositionally in varying degrees. It is no coincidence that this strict principle in nearly - fast is particularly evident even on a surface level: the piece was a commission for a Stockhausen Memorial Concert in 2008, thus taking its inspiration from his Kreuzspiel; even the instrumental line-up is partly similar. The piece is a kind of utopia, three individuals doing something similar in parallel at different speeds. These speed rates often change between the instruments, and the way these three are overlaid suggests they are sometimes bringing common objects into focus. A grid of pulses is laid down that subdivides the quavers of a continuous ¾ in 4, 5 or 6 equal parts resulting in up to three different pulsations (that is 12, 15 or 18 beats per bar). Until the middle of the piece one after the other of the attacks is omitted; after this the bars are gradually replenished with pulses, so that the overall form results in a thinning and subsequent re-densification process. In the spirit of Stockhausen, pitches and intervals are developed from permuted arrangements of 4:5:6. However, permutations of numbers are substituted for the principle of a rhythmic row, and my harmonic base in nearly - fast is never a 12-tone series, but bizarre chords built from 4, 5 or 6 semitone-steps, which produce deliberate doubled notes and octaves from the outset. In strict serialism, these intervals would have been frowned upon as "wrong", whereas I welcome them as "bright spots" that I allow subsequently to grow rampant into fields of resonances and overtones. (Harald Muenz / Bob Gilmore)


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