THE AMBIENT AIR . . . TO THE END OF TIME
Notes on the Program
JUDITH SHATIN (1949 - ) is known equally for her dramatic acoustic compositions and her imaginative use of computergenerated sound. Professor and Chair at the University of Virginia, she is also Director of the Virginia Center for Computer Music. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Douglass College, she holds the MM from The Juilliard School and the PhD from Princeton University. Her music has been widely performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles including the Houston and National Symphonies, as well as Continuum, Da Capo Chamber Players, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Kronos Quartet. Her music reflects an everdeveloping sensitivity to the timbral possibilities of particular instruments, be they acoustic or electronic.
Among Ms. Shatin's awards are four Composer Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Numerous other grants include those from the American Music Center, Meet the Composer, the West Virginia Arts Council and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. (She has held residencies at Bellagio, Brahmshaus, La Cite des Arts, MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo.) A twoyear retrospective of her music at Shepherd College, WV, was recently supported by a major grant from the Lila WallaceReaders Digest Arts Partners Program (199294). In addition to four residencies focusing on different aspects of her music, her commissioned piece, a folk oratorio called COAL, stepped far outside the boundaries of traditional classical music. Scored for chorus, appalachian ensemble, electronic playback and synthesizer, and with a libretto by the composer, it reflects her travels throughout the West Virginia region, and her efforts to musically touch an entire way of life. The electronic sounds were all created from the processing of sounds she harvested in a coal mine and the libretto reflects her conversations with people from all walks of life.
Beyond her contributions as a composer, Judith Shatin is a strong advocate for her fellow composers. She served from 198993 as President of American Women Composers, Inc., was for two terms a board member of the League/ISCM in New York, and currently sits on the Board of the American Composers Alliance. Recorded on CRI, Neuma, Opus 1, and New World Records, her music is published by Arsis Press, American Composers Edition, Lawson Gould Publishers, Plymouth Music and C.F. Peters Corporation.)
About Secret Ground, she writes:
The composition of Secret Ground was inspired by Martin Buber's I and Thou; the title comes directly from this source. It suggested both the exploration of shifting reciprocal relationships among the members of the quartet, and the notion of the intense presence of music, the communication in the moment. The title also refers to the traditional musical notion of the "ground," a repeating bass line that weaves the structure together. The meaning of ground is more abstract here, and refers to the designs of repetition in the pitch structure and their unfolding against a constant background line. The shifting surface relationships project dramatic change despite the constancy of this background. Secret Ground crystallizes around changing instrumental relationships, with two duets soaring out of the quartet texture, and two extended solos responding. This piece was commissioned and premiered by the Roxbury Chamber Players.
jump to top of page
SU LIAN TAN was educated in Malaysia and became a professional active flutist at the age of 14. At 17, she became both Fellow and a Licentiate of the Trinity College of Music, Longon. Since coming to the United States, she has studied chamber music with Jacob Glick at Bennington College; flute with Sue Ann Kahn, Claude Monteux and Patricia Spencer; and she has taken part in master classes with JeanPierre Rampal and Thomas Nyfenger. She has also studied composition at Princeton, Bennington College, and The Juilliard School. In addition to awards from ASCAP and Meet the Composer, Ms. Tan has held the Irving Berlin Scholarship and residency fellowships at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. She was composerin residence at the Composers' Forum of the East and will be composerinresidence at the Warebrook Festival in 1996. Her music has been or will shortly be performed by the Vermont Symphony, The Core, Mosaic, members of the San Francisco Symphony, members of the International Women's Brass Conference, Cassatt String Quartet, The Chicago Ensemble, the Princeton University Orchestra, the Princeton Chamber Ensemble, and Amici Musici (in Germany). Su Lian Tan is currently on the music faculty at Middlebury College, where she teaches composition and produces the Chamber Soloists Series and the Festival of the Human Voice. She has composed for a broad variety of ensembles and singers.
The composer writes:
Invention and Sinfonia follows the general idea of a Bach invention in its continuity. Here, the idea has a 20th Century vocabulary that draws upon South East Asian modes, bell sounds, and other musical elements from my native Malaysia. By putting Eastern and Western elements adjacent to each other, a new sound emerges.
jump to top of page
LOUISE TALMA (19061996) studied composition at the Institute of Musical Art and later studied harmony, counterpoint, fugue, composition, and organ with Nadia Boulanger from 19281939. A number of "firsts" stand out in her life: she was the first American to teach at Fontainebleau; the 1962 premiere of her opera The Alcestiad in Frankfurt am Main was the first major European production of an opera by an American woman; she was the first woman composer to be elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; she was the first woman composer to receive two Guggenheim Fellowships. Talma received honorary degrees from Hunter College, Bard College, and St. Mary of the Woods College. Her output included a large number of choral works, Toccata for Orchestra, many song cycles with piano or chamber ensembles, and a rich collection of chamber music for various instrumentations.
About the piece we hear tonight, she wrote:
The Ambient Air for flute, violin, cello and piano was composed at the MacDowell Colony between 1980 and 1983. Its four movements reflect a variety of atmospheric phenomena: echoes, rain, fog, wind. It was sparked by the song of a nightingale, heard in the patio of the American Academy in Rome in the spring of 1956, which seemed eminently suitable for the flute.
jump to top of page
Quatuor pour la fin du temps
Olivier Messiaen (1908 - 1992)
Notes by Olivier Messiaen, translated by Helen Baker.
Then I saw a mighty angel coming down from Heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and standing on sea and land, he lifted up his right hand to Heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, saying "TIME IS AT AN END"; but in the day of the trumpet call of the seventh angel, the mystery of God shall by fulfilled. (Apocalypse of St. John, X 117)
Conceived and written during my imprisonment, the Quartet for the End of Time had its first performance in Stalag VIIIA, January 15, 1941. This took place at Gorlitz, in Silesia, during an unusually cold spell. The four performers played on damaged instruments: Etienne Pasquier's cello had only three strings. The keys on my piano would fall straight down and not spring back.
While I was a prisoner, the lack of food gave me colored dreams; I was the Angel's rainbow and strange swirlings of color. As a musician I had worked with rhythm. Essentially, rhythm is change and division. To study change and division is to study Time. Timemeasured, relative, physiological and psychologicalis divided in a thousand ways, of which the most immediate for us is the perpetual transition of the future into the past. In eternity these things do not exist.
In the name of the Apocalypse, my work has been criticized for its calm and its concern with detail. My detractors forget that Apocalypse contains not only monsters and cataclysms, but also moments of silent adoration and marvelous visions of peace.
I. Crystalline liturgy
Towards three or four in the morning, a solitary bird warbles, perhaps a blackbird or a nightingale, surrounded by a haze of sound, by a halo of harmony high up in the trees. Transfer that to a religious plane: you will have the harmonious silence of Heaven. The piano provides a rhythmic ostinato (juxtaposition of three Hindu rhythms). The clarinet unfurls the song of the bird.
II. Vocalise, for the Angel who Announces the End of Time
The first part and coda evoke the strength of that powerful angel. The background: the impalpable harmonies of Heaven. Gentle, multicolored cascades of chords envelop the almost plainchantlike melody of violin and cello.
III. The Abyss of the Birds
Clarinet alone. The Abyss: it is Time, with its sadness, its lassitude. The birds serve as a contrast: they symbolize our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows and jubilant vocalises! The bird calls are written in the fantastic and gay style of the blackbird.
A little scherzo, more extroverted in character, but connected to the other movements by various melodic recalls.
V. Praise to the Eternity of Jesus
Here Jesus is considered as the Word. A broad phrase, extremely slow, in the cello, magnifies with love and reverence the eternity of the powerful and sweet Word.
VI. Dance of Fury, for the Seven Trumpets
The four instruments in unison evoke reverberations of the gongs and trumpets of the Apocalypse. Music of stone, formidable granite sonority.
VII. Tangle of Rainbows, for the Angel who Announces the End of Time
Piece dedicated to the Angel, and above all to the Rainbow which envelops him (symbol of peace, of wisdom and of every luminous and sonorous vibration. In my colored dreams, I underwent a whirling intermingling of sounds and color.
VIII. Praise to the Immortality of Jesus
A broad solo for the violin, a counterpart to the cello solo. Why this second hymn of praise? It is the second aspect of Jesus, Jesus the Man, the Word made flesh. It is all love. Its majesty builds to an intense climax, it is the ascent of man to his God, of the child of God to his Father, of the sanctified creature to Paradise.
jump to top of page
DA CAPO CHAMBER PLAYERS
A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TO JACOB DRUCKMAN
Notes on the Program
The extraordinary dynamism and leadership given to the field of new music by composer Jacob Druckman will live on through his music, his students, and the countless musical organizations which have benefited from his committed involvement. The Da Capo Chamber Players have long admired the music of Jacob Druckman. With deep regret that his untimely death last year came before we had worked with him, we are honored to present this tribute offering a glimpse of his musical world.
Jacob Druckman was born in Philadelphia in 1928. As a youth he studied piano and violin, played trumpet in jazz ensembles, and was composing by the age of 15. He received a thorough training in solfege, harmony, and counterpoint with Longy and Louis Gesensway. In the summer of 1949 he was accepted by Copland into the composition class at Berkshire Music Center and in the autumn of that year he entered the Juilliard School, where his teachers were Mennin, Persichetti, and Wagenaar. A Fulbright Fellowship (1954) took him to Paris for study at the Ecole Normale de Musique. After completing the master's degree (1956) he returned to teach at Juilliard and remained there until 1972. He also taught part time at Bard College (19617), was associated with the ColumbiaPrinceton Electronic Music Center (1967), and served for one year (19712) as director of the electronic music studio at Yale University. From 1972 to 1976 he was associate professor of composition at Brooklyn College, CUNY, and then was appointed chairman of the composition department and director of the electronic music studio at Yale.
Druckman's awards include two Guggenheim Fellowships (1957, 1968) and a Brandeis University Creative Arts Award (1975). He has had works commissioned by many leading organizations including the St. Louis SO (Mirage, 1976), the Cleveland Orchestra (Chiaroscuro, 1977), IRCAM (Animus IV,1977), the New York PO (Viola Concerto, 1978; Aureole, 1979), the Koussevitzky Foundation (String Quartet no. 3, 1981), and the Metropolitan Opera (an opera provisionally entitled Medea, 1982). Among his recorded works, are Lamia, Windows, Aureole, and Antiphonies. In 1978 he was elected to the Institute of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; he became chairman of the ComposerLibrettist Panel of the NEA in 1980 and in the same year was elected president of the Koussevitzky Foundation. In 1982 he was appointed composerinresidence with the New York PO, under a program administered by the Meet the Composer organization and partially sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. In that capacity he was artistic director of the orchestra's series of new music concerts, Horizons, in 1983 and 1984.
Druckman's early works attest to the composer's interest in the musical world of Debussy and Stravinsky and the large orchestral works of Mahler, Ravel, and Schoenberg from the turn of the century. As he began to explore more advanced techniques he became interested in the possibilities of the tape medium. The year 1966 marked an important transition: with the String Quartet no. 2 Druckman reached the limits of his adaptation of serialism, and with Animus I he began a series of works employing tape. Electronic music was a catalyst for discovering new ways of manipulating live sound as a plastic medium. At the same time Druckman began to incorporate elements of theater into his musical language, animating the central interplay between live performers and tape with dramatic, even ritualistic, scenarios. But it is a theater in which the protagonists are amalgams of sound, gesture, and persona.
In 1972 Druckman composed Windows, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize the same year. It was the first of a series of major works for full orchestra that contribute to the revival of the orchestra as a vehicle for new music. Druckman has successfully translated into the orchestral medium his delight in virtuosity and his ability to create brilliantly paced sequences of strongly colored images that have an earthy physicality and dramatic impact. Windows recalls music from the tonal past; the orchestral version of Incenters (1973) contains jazz elements and chords form the coronation scene of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, and Lamia (1974) has literal quotations from Wagner (text) and Francesco Cavalli (both text and music). This interplay of styles is more fully evolved in Mirage (which quotes Debussy), Aureole (with a melody from Bernstein's Third Symphony), and Prism (1980), a work in three movements each of which contains music from a different opera (by MarcAntoine Charpentier, Cavalli, and Luigi Cherubini) based on the myth of Medea and Jason. In the socalled new romanticism of these works Druckman goes beyond the ethos of stucturalism to a wideranging awareness of historical idioms that becomes an integral component of a new musical awareness.
(from Groves' Dictionary of American Music)
jump to top of page
The title Come Round refers to insistent, perhaps obsessive cyclic returning both in the small sense of musical materials within the work itself and in the larger sense of musical milestones in my life. The work is a large set of six variations divided into three movements. There is no "theme" in the sense of a central or original form from which the others spring, but rather six equal incarnations of the same musical materials coexisting in three successive trochees, longshort iterations of major tenths yielding the bittersweet quality of "false relation." The series of variations is twice interrupted by a ritornello which appears in almost identical form at the beginning of the second and third movements. In the larger sense of cyclic returnings, this form seems to crop up in my life every dozen or so years as though in response to some large biorhythmic wave. It seems to be accompanied by the need to write a work of considerable substance and weight.
jump to top of page
Dark Wind, a fiveminute duo for violin and cello, made its debut at the 1994 Festival de Charonne in France. Using an arch form, Druckman displays his usual mastery of texture and mood. From its ghostly opening in harmonies to its climactic interplay of arco and pizzicato, Dark Wind compellingly evokes its atmospheric title.
jump to top of page
David Lang, composer, has been commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Singers, and the American Composers Orchestra. His works are performed with regularity throughout the world by such organizations as the Kronos Quartet, the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; at Tanglewood, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Almeida, Holland, Berlin and Huddersfield Festivals; in theater productions in New York, San Francisco and London; in the choreography of Twyla Tharp and Margaret Jenkins; and at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the South Bank Center. His awards include the Rome Prize, the BMW MusicTheater Prize(Munich), a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, the Revson Fellowship with the New York Philharmonic, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the NEA. Mr. Lang is cofounder and coartistic director of Bang on a Can, an organization dedicated to adventurous new music, with presentations in New York and around the world. He is also Composer in Residence at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
David Lang holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of Iowa, receiving his doctorate from the Yale School of Music in 1989. He has studied with Jacob Druckman, Hans Werner Henze and Martin Bresnick.
jump to top of page
dance/drop is an arrangement of the two instrumental movements from my piece are you experienced? for narrator, electric tuba and large ensemble. In are you experienced? the narrator carries on an odd conversation with a imagined vision of an unconscious listener. In turns, the narrator is amusing, consoling and menacing, and sometimes gives the listener various ominous commands. dance and drop are two of those commands.
jump to top of page
AARON JAY KERNIS
Aaron Jay Kernis was born in Philadelphia on 15 January 1960. He began his musical studies on the violin; at age 12 he began teaching himself piano, and, in the following year, composition. He continued his studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Yale School of Music, working with composers as diverse as John Adams, Charles Wuorinen, and Jacob Druckman. Kernis received national acclaim for his first orchestral work, Dream of the Morning Sky, premiered by the New York Philharmonic at the 1983 Horizons Festival.
Kernis is one of the most honored young American composers. In September 1993 he began a threeyear appointment as ComposerinResidence with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Public Radio, and the Minnesota Composers Forum. His awards have included the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rome Prize, an NEA grant, a Bearns Prize, a New York Foundation for the Arts Award, and awards from BMI and ASCAP.
Recent premieres include Too Hot Toccata and an orchestration of 5 of Claude Debussy's Piano Etudes for Hugh Wolff and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Double Concerto for violinist Nadja SalernoSonnenberg and guitarist Sharon Isbin with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Hugh Wolff, the New York Chamber Symphony with Gerard Schwarz, the Aspen Festival Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and a new string quartet for the Lark Quartet will receive its premiere January 10, 1998 at Merkin Concert Hall. Kernis was featured as Visiting Guest Composer at the 1997 Winnipeg New Music Festival in late January and early February in Winnipeg, Canada. He has also assumed the position of Featured Composer at Merkin Concert Hall at the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center in New York City for the 199697 and 199798 season.
In 1995 Kernis signed a five year exclusive recording contract with the DECCA Recording Company for their ARGO CD imprint. The first CD under that contract was released in January 1997 and features Hugh Wolff and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Kernis' Second Symphony, Invisible Mosaic III and Musica Celestis. Previous to this release, in April 1996 ARGO issued a recording of Colored Field with Julie Giacobassi and the San Francisco Symphony under Alasdair's Neale's direction and Still Movement With Hymn with Pamela Frank, Paul Neubauer, Carter Brey and Christopher O'Riley.
Future commissions include a song cycle for Renee Fleming with Minnesota Orchestra and Orchestra Philharmonique de Monte Carlo and a large Symphony in celebration of the new Millennium.
jump to top of page
Air for Violin and Piano
Air is a work which arose unexpectedly out of a sudden change of mood, energy, and circumstance. I had always intended this to be comprised of a series of energetic dances based on American popular dance forms. But after the detailed and highly involved work that I put into my last two compositions (the 40minute Colored Field for English horn and orchestra and the 45minute music theatre work Goblin Market), I found myself physically unable to create music of that nature, at least for the time being. I needed, if you will, to take deep breath to slow down my musical processes for a time, and concentrate on making a simpler, more spacious kind of music that would suit the expressive and lyrical side of Joshua's artistry, rather than his exceptional virtuosity.
Air is songlike and melodic, and is the "purest" and sparest piece I've written in a few years. In has many hymn or chantlike elements, and though rooted in Eflat major, it retains a kind of plaintive quality more reminiscent of minor or modal tonalities. Formally, it combines a developing variation form with simple song form.
Air was commissioned by Joshua Bell by a consortium of three presenters; the Society for the Performing Arts in Houston, the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Texas at Austin Performing Arts Center. It is dedicated to my wife Evelyne Luest.
(Aaron Jay Kernis)
jump to top of page
Martin Bresnick (b. 1946 NYC) has composed music for chamber ensembles as well as orchestra, film and electronic media. He was recently awarded the Stoeger Prize (1996) by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for his compositions in that medium. He has received numerous prizes and commissions, among them the Rome Prize, three NEA grants, the Premio Ancona, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, Fromm Foundation and Koussevitzky commissions. A former student of Gyorgy Ligety, Martin Bresnick is currently Professor of Composition at the Yale School of Music.
for clarinet, viola, and piano
In the recent past when a composer wished to suggest a program or narrative for a composition but not reveal the contents of the program in the title, the symbol of three stars might be used instead. Perhaps the most famous example of that practice is found in Robert Schumann's Album for the Young. In his collection of colorful, often frankly programmatic pieces (The Happy Farmer, Sailor Song, etc.,) Schumann gives three works the enigmatic three stars in lieu of conventional titles. Most scholars believe those works were written for Clara. Robert, always fond of the hermetic, reckoned that Clara alone could easily divine their meanings. The world would (or would not) simply have to guess.
Janacek too, when trying to find an acceptable title for his second string quartet (he first wanted to call it Love Letters) threatened to give his work the three stars title, but finally settled on Intimate Pages. The last three of his compositions for the piano set On An Overgrown Path, however, utilize the three stars thereby hiding their suggestive programs behind the stars' orthographic veil.
And so it is with me...
* * * was premiered by musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, David Shifrin, Clarinet, Paul Neubauer, viola, and Jon Klibonoff, piano.
jump to top of page
Theatre Chamber Music
November 13, 1997, Miller Theatre
Notes on the Program
Born in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1938, Frederic Rzewski studied music at first with Charles Mackey of Springfield, and subsequently with Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, and Milton Babbitt at Harvard and Princeton universities. He went to Italy in 1960, where he studied with Luigi Dallapiccola and met Severino Gazzelloni, with whom he performed in a number of concerts, thus beginning a career as a performer of new piano music.
Rzewski's early friendship with Christian Wolff and David Behrman, and (through Wolff) his acquaintance with John Cage and David Tudor strongly influenced his development in both composition and performance. In Rome in the midsixties, together with Alvin Curran and Richard Teitelbaum, he formed the MEV (Musica Elettronica Viva) group, which quickly became known for its pioneering work in live electronics and improvisation. Bringing together both classical and jazz avantgardists (like Steve Lacy and Anthony Braxton), MEV developed an esthetic of music as a spontaneous collective process, an esthetic which was shared with other experimental groups of the same period (e.g. the Living Theatre and the Scratch Orchestra).
The experience of MEV can be felt in Rzewski's compositions of the late sixties and early seventies, which combine elements derived equally from the worlds of written and improvised music (Les Moutons de Panurge, Coming Together). During the seventies he experimented further with forms in which style and language are treated as structural elements; the bestknown work of this period is The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a 50minute set of piano variations. A number of pieces for larger ensembles written between 1979 and 1981 show a return to experimental and graphic notation (Le Silence des Espaces Infinis, The Price of Oil ), while much of the work of the eighties explores new ways of using twelvetone technique (AntigoneLegend, The Persians). A freer, more spontaneous approach to writing can be found in more recent work (Whangdoodles, Sonata). Rzewski's largestscale work to date is The Triumph of Death (19878), a twohour oratorio based on texts adapted from Peter Weiss' 1965 play Die Ermittlung (The Investigation).
Rzewski has recorded The People United; North American Ballads, and Squares; and the Sonata and De Profundis on hat ART records (CD 6066, 6089, & 6134); Four Pieces on Vanguard; and Bumps, Andante con Moto, and The Turtle and the Crane for Newport Classic. The People United has also been recorded by Ursula Oppens (Vanguard), Stephen Drury (New Albion), and Yuji Takahashi, and the Ballads by Paul Jacobs on Nonesuch. Song and Dance is recorded on Nonesuch, Coming Together on both Hungaroton and Opus One, and Antigone on CRI. Mayn Yingele is recorded by Oppens for Music & Arts. Wails, Spots, and Crusoe are recorded by the Zeitgeist group for 00 Records. A CD of music for one and two pianos (with Ursula Oppens) will be released by Music & Arts in 1997.
Work in progress: The Road, a 2 1/2hour "novel" for solo piano; the Scratch Symphony, in memory of Cornelius Cardew, will be performed at the Donaueschingen festival for performance in October, 1997.
Since 1983 Rzewski has been Professor of Composition at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Liege, Belgium. He has also taught at the Yale School of Music, the University of Cincinnati, the State University of New York at Buffalo, the California Institute of the Arts, the University of California at San Diego, Mills College, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, the Hochschule der Kuenste in Berlin, and the Hochschule fuer Musik in Karlsruhe.
jump to top of page
KATHINKA'S CHANT ALS LUCIFER'S REQUIEM
Staged solo flute scene from the opera Samstag from Licht.
In his introduction to Scene Two of his opera SATURDAY, Stockhausen writes:
SATURDAY from LIGHT is the LUCIFER DAY: day of death, night of transition to the light.
Like Lucifer, every human being dies an apparent death enchanted by the sensual nature of the music of life. Thus, LUCIFER'S REQUIEM is a requiem for every human bering who seeks the eternal LIGHT.
Kathinka's Chant protects the soul of the deceased from temptation, through musical exercises which it listens to regularly for 49 days after physical death and through which it is guided to clear consciousness.
Paul Griffiths, writing in the New York Times, describes the work:
Music examples, the kernels of the 24 "exercises for listening" that make up the main body of the piece, bedeck the stage, and the player represents a magician: costumed as a catwoman, she is part underworld divinity, part nightclub hostess. But the magic she exerts is music. As she steps around the stage so, figuratively, she steps around her melody, playing fragments over and over, exploring single notes. Most of the part is delivered sotto voce, and in this universe of faltering tone Mr. Stockhausen is able to concentrate on fine nuances: on tones, admixed with breath, or with song, and on microtones and glides.
jump to top of page