Austrian Contemporary Music Festival

Saturday, Sept. 18, 1999, 8 pm at Clapp Recital Hall


Cambiamenti Helmut DENCKER

Christine Bellomy, clarinet
Stephen Shepherd, violin
Chia-yi Lee, piano

Konversatorium über
"Fast ein Rondo"

Barry Hillam, trumpet I
Brian Umlah, trumpet II
Catharine Jackson, horn
Todd Lippert, trombone
Andrey Kharlamov, bass trombone

"...über den Atem, die Stille
und die Zerbrechlichkeit..."
Georg F. HAAS

Catharine Jackson, horn I
Steve Schultz, horn II
Barry Hillam, trumpet I
Brian Umlah, trumpet II
Todd Lippert, trombone I
Andrey Kharlamov, trombone II
Robert Yeats, bass tuba
Lucia Matos, conductor

Differenz/Wiederholung I Bernhard LANG

Kara DeRaad, flute
James Ellis, violoncello
David Gompper, piano

a un moment de terre perdu Beat FURRER

Lauren Panfili, flute
Michelle Fox, clarinet I
Annette Machetta, clarinet II
Jane Williams, saxophone
Barry Hillam, trumpet
Todd Lippert, trombone I
Andrey Kharlamov, trombone II
Robert Yeats, tuba
Brett Paschal, percussion I
Tim Shaw, percussion II
Sara Mueske, piano
Alicia Huang, violin
Jacqueline Schmidt, viola
Cora Kuyvenhoven, violoncello I
Eric Coyne, violoncello II
Anton Hatwich, double bass
David Gompper, conductor



Notes & Bios




The title means transformation, change, turnabout and points to the creation of the work. Even through the title might reflect the structural method of composition, it is built rather freely. Cambiamenti is a musical diary which originated between August and October 1998 and in which everything possible and impossible was formed to an event in sound, not isolated in a sequence, but at different times in the composition appearing in a different form.

Helmut DENCKER (b. 1944, Husum, Germany) began his musical studies in Hamburg at the Klaerschen Conservatory. From 1968-71 he was a student of church music at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck. After many years of working in north German churches, he studied composition with Andrej Dobrowolski at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, and in 1975 received the diploma in composition.

In the 70s and 80s he was intensively occupied with information aesthetics, french structuralism and electronic music - the realization of numerous software projects and computer music languages. Since 1976 he has been a teacher of music history of the 20th century, music theory and electronic music at the University of Music in Graz. He has received many awards and prizes, including the Dr. Edurard Coudenhove Prize (1975), a state scholarship of the Republic of Austria (1976), an art sponsoring prize of Graz (1977) and a special award at the International Competition Musica Nova 93-Prague.

Gerd Kühr

Konversatorium Über "Fast Ein Rondo"

The title of this brass quintet, written in 1982, refers to the form subtitled "almost a rondo". The music that returns in the solo passages of the individual instruments are, however, not equal. It is organized by a more or less freely used variation technique, which also dominates the tutti passages, especially concerning the rhythm.

The theme consists of seven tones and is introduced in various ways. The solo passages can be considered as monologues, whereas the tutti passages become dialogues, discussions between the instruments. This aspect is noted in the title Konversatorium.

The divertimento character, which is usual for this kind of instrumentation, is not reflected in this brass quintet.

Gerd Kühr, a professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Graz, received the world premiere of his opera Tod und Teufel in Graz last night, September 17th. He studied composition with Hans Werner Henze, and worked for a number of opera companies, including Cologne and Graz.

He was born in Maria Luggau in Carinthia, Austrian in 1952. He studied history and music education, orchestral conducting with Wimberger and composition with Doppelbauer in Salzburg from 1972-1979. From 1979 to 1984, he taught music theory in Cologne and was the coach at the Cologne Opera. For three years (1980-83) he studied with Henze and worked with him on several projects, including the elaboration of the Viennese version of his ballet "Orpheus". For two years (1984-86) he worked for the Graz Opera, and since 1985 has held a teaching position at the Graz University of Music and Drama.

The world premiere of his opera Stallerhof, based on a play by KRötz, took place at the Munich Biennale in 1988. From 1987 to 1989 Kühr was the artistic director of the Youth Music Festival in Deutschlandsberg, part of the Styrian Autumn Festival. A year later he was invited to return as artistic director of the composition workshop of the Munich Biennale. From 1992-1994 he taught composition as a guest professor at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and since 1994, has been teaching composition in Graz. Two concerts of his works will be mounted at the Salzburg Festival 2000.


"... Über den Atem, die Stille und die Zerbrechlichkeit..."
("...on breath, silence and fragility...")

Versuch für 7 Blechblasinstrumente (1994)
(An essay on 7 brass instruments)

The acoustical properties of brass instruments inspired the particular harmonic system used in this work. While the system reflects the interval structure of the overtone spectrum (including deviations from the tempered twelve-tone scale), it is based on combined tones and minutely graded interval progressions. Suspensions and slow glissandi, which move within the smallest of intervals, play a central role in this piece.

Georg Friedrich Haas (b. 1953, Graz) studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Graz in composition with Gösta Neuwirth and piano and pedagogy with Doris Wolf. Since 1978 he been teaching at the Hochschule as an instructor, and since 1989 as an associate professor in counterpoint, contemporary composition techniques, analysis, and introduction to microtonal music. Haas completed two years of postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna with Friedrich Cerha, participated in the Darmstädter Ferienkursen (1980, 1988 and 1990), and the computer music course at IRCAM (1991). He received a fellowship from the Salzburg Festival (1992-93), awarded the Sandoz Prize (1992) and a music grant from the National Ministry of Science, Research, and Culture (1995). He has published musiological articles on the works of Luigi Nono, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Alois Hába, and Pierre Boulez.

Haas' works have been on the programs of the following festivals: Wien Modern (Vienna), Musikprotokoll (Graz), Witten, Huddersfield, Royaumont, Venice Biennial, Festival d'Automne (Paris), as well as at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse. He lives in Vienna and composes in a cottage in Fischbach, Styria.


Difference/Repetition 1

"The head is the organ of exchange but the heart is the amorous organ of repetition" G.Deleuze

Based on the scribblings and erratic writings of the preceding solo pieces "Schrift 1-3" and the confrontation with Martin Arnolds loop aestethics this piece was written as the starting point of a new series.

If there is any theme to be found within the piece its the interplay of different repetitions, of repeated differences contained within the loose form of a notated improvisation: found structures, tiny objects, brought into view by the augmenting effect of repetition, continuously being forgotten and recovered.

Bernhard Lang (b. 1957, Linz Austria). After finishing high school and piano studies at the Bruckner Konservatorium, he moved to Graz to study jazz piano, arranging and classical piano. Between 1977 and 1981 he worked with various jazz bands, the most important being the "Erich Zann Septett." After having finished his piano studies he started to study composition with the Polish composer Andrej Dobrowolsky, who introduced him to contemporary techniques of composition. He also studied with H.M.Pressl who taught him counterpoint and introduced him to the work of Hauer.

Since 1988 he has been working as a teacher for theory of harmony and counterpoint at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz. At Graz he also met G'sta Neuwirth who was to become one of his main influences and who taught him for many years outside the institution. Georg Friedrich Haas introduced him into microtonal music and commissioned a quartertone piece for Musikprotokoll 1988.

In the meantime his pieces have been performed at the Steirische Herbst Festival (1984 and 1988, 1991 and 1995) at the Moscow Alternativa Festival and Moscow Modern Festival, Biennale Hannover 1997, Tage Absoluter Musik Allentsteig I and II, Klangarten I and IV and others. He worked with several Artist Groups: Intro-Spection Graz, Fond, Klangarten Wien.

Now he is also member of Improvisations group Picknick mit Weismann. He occasionally does studio work for various bands (Fetish 69). His future projects include commissioned pieces for Ensemble Recherche, George Crumb Trio and Klangforum Wien (Musikprotokoll 1999/Salzburger Festspiele 2000). In 1998 he was a guest lecturer with Peter Weibels Media class in Vienna, and divides his time between Vienna and Graz.


A Un Moment de Terre Perdue
(To a Moment of Lost Earth)

Four simple types of temporal progression - an accelerando, a rellentando, and two regular sequences have been nested into each other in such a way that the greatest possible measure of regularity can arise within their inevitable irregularities. Using this tension between rhythmically different configurations, already containing patterns, Furrer applies several different transformationa to derive a line-oriented grid.

Articulating pauses and insertions which prolong the announced structure are the only devices by which the composer disturbs the rhythmic framework. Taking one of the three layers at a time as the source of the impulse, and using the encompassing framework, Beat Furrer achieves a continuously shifting three-part process of composed preparation, (non-) realization of the impulse, and resonances. The "non" in parentheses expresses one of the steps of the composer's work which ruptures the tripartite formal structure reflected in the three instrumental groups. Only in the injured, the insecure, the paradoxical does he find that strength which gives to the flickering search for something hidden in the tones the relevance of a connection to the extra-musical. It is this contradiction which makes Beat Furrer's music into "encoded messages of life." (Peter Oswald)

For the fading resonance of the impulses is not the dying of exhausted energy. Rather, precisely this point in the motif is the moment of maximum tension before an expected climax. In the same way, the impulse which is central at any moment is not always realized by the production of a sound but often, it is performed in a series of short pauses prepared by crescendi.

In the formal development of the opening ten measures, which with their dense hocket-like interweave and a multitude of sound types used later on remind us of an exposition, and in the end of the composition marked by unstable sound characters, we discover an enlargement of the small-set structures that can also be found in certain aspects of harmonic development.

Beat Furrer (b. 1954, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) received his first musical education at the local music school, where he was taught the piano. In 1975 he moved to Vienna, where he studied conducting with Otmar Suitner and composition with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati.

In 1984 he won prizes at Köln, Biennale Venice and the Festival d'Automne, Paris. The following year he founded the Klangforum Wien. With a commission by the Staatsoper Wien he wrote his first opera The Blind, based on Maeterlincks piece of the same name and Platons cave-parable. This opera received its first performance in 1989 at the Festival Wien Modern. In 1991 Claudio Abbado performed his piece Face de la Chaleur for flute and orchestra at the Wiener Musikverein. Since 1991 Furrer has been a Professor for Composition at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz. In 1994 his opera Narcissus was performed in the Steirische Herbst Festival.