André Ruschkowski



Program notes

Composers Edition Vol. I


 

SVELT

1988, 12:30 Min.


SVELT was composed from March to December 1988 in the studio of the Zeiss-Großplanetarium Berlin, for a special program about the creation and movement of the planetary system. The word svelt is used in the fine arts for the designation of delicate and slender forms. In this sense it used here too - for the description of the sound character in this piece.
SVELT was made for performance in the new planetarium in Berlin. 89 loudspeakers, which could be combined into separate groups, were placed in the hemispherical domed performance room. I used for this piece eight groups, placed around the listeners, to allow different placement of the sounds and also movement through space. This - combined with the special design of the sound material - provided a feeling of the great expanse of space.
The sound material in this piece is of both electronic and concrete origin. The purely electronic sounds are made with FM synthesis in order to use the advantage of FM synthesis: the diverse influence at the creation of sounds, but with special care to avoid the cliches of FM sound synthesis.
The piece is divided into six parts which are connected by short interludes. The whole electronic sound material is generated from 12 different basic sounds. These sounds are distributed in four different pitch classes. Only the few different basic sounds in these four classes are varied. The variation techniques include mostly different types of modulation, extremely slight variations of pitch, or variations of the envelopes.
The overlapping, articulation and mixing of these kinds of modification and also the transition between electronic and concrete sounds, are the main compositional elements of the piece. The first performance of the concert version of this piece was on May, 21th 1989 during the 2nd workshop for electroacoustic music in the theater im palast, Berlin.
Sound Technician: Thomas Graichen

 

SUB ROSA (RIMBAUD IS THE POET II)

1991/92, 15:00 Min.

The stereophonic realisation of this tape composition was made in the Electronic Studio of the Technische Universität Berlin and the "Mozarteum" in Salzburg. I worked on it from the Summer of 1991 until the beginning of 1992.
Only vocal sounds, both song and speech, were used for the raw material of the piece. This material is dominated by different levels of approximation to the original timbre of vowels and consonants used in the poetic texture.
The musical work is directly related to a poetical text, in this case the last four parts of the poem vowels by Arthur Rimbaud. There are different translations into German. The most famous one was made by Stefan George in the beginning of our century. There is another more recent translation by Hans Therre and Rainer G. Schmidt.
In Sub Rosa the verbal material was not converted into music in any conventional way. It determines the composition in two specific ways, which I have previously used in my tape compositions "Zeichen" (1989), based on the poem by Ernst Jandl and "Rimbaud Is The Poet I" (1989/90), using the first (A-) part of the Rimbaud poem vowels. On one hand, the structure of the text provides the foundation for the musical structure in that the kind and accumulation of speech sounds find their equivalents in the construction and order of the electronically modified vowel sounds. On the other hand, the meaning of the text was taken as the ground for an associative interpretation by musical means. In this way the associative interpretation is understandable as a counterpoint to the work on the structural level.
In Sub Rosa, to obtain a richer and more complex texture, the two different translations are used simultaneously as the structural and associative ground. The final musical form is a result of strong and close interaction between the structural and the associative (meaning) levels of the two poetical texts.

 

AUTOLOGOUS

1991, 11:25 Min.

The stereophonic realisation of AUTOLOGOUS was done in November, 1991, at the Elektronisches Studio of the Technische Universität Berlin.
The title refers to the derivation of both sound material and sound structure from a common source.
The starting point was a graphic structure realised on a Commodore AMIGA with the painting program dPaint. The optical patterns were transformed into MIDI signals by means of another program, the Grafik-Sequenzer (developed in the Studio für elektronische Klangerzeugung at the Musikhochschule Dresden). In that way the graphics determined the musical sounds in the piece.
In spite of that the piece is not an "acoustical picture". The sound structure generated by that method was only 30 seconds long. Its inner structure was used as a universal sound element and as the source for the further musical elaboration of the piece. In this way the basic structure of the "optical/acoustical" element dominates the musical form of the piece, too.
The actual sounds are elaborated from several different vocal sibilants. The musical elaboration of the structures was done by means of electronic transformation techniques, like filtering, modulation, transposition and time stretching.
The first performance was on February 12, 1992 at the New Music Festival INVENTIONEN'92 at the Academy of Arts in Berlin.

 

RIMBAUD IS THE POET I

1989/90, 10:45 Min.

The stereophonic realisation of this tape composition was made in the Studio for Electroacoustic Music of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. The concept for the piece was gradually elaborated from Summer 1989 until the time of its recording in May 1990.
Only vocal sounds, both song and speech, were used for the raw material of the piece.
This material is dominated by different levels of approximation to the original timbre of vowels and consonants used in the poetic texture. The musical work is directly related to a poetical text in this case the first part of the poem vowels by Arthur Rimbaud in the German translation by Stefan George.
The poem was not set to music in any conventional way. The poem determines the composition in two specific forms. As in my tape composition Zeichen (1989), based on a poem by Ernst Jandl, the structure of the text provides the foundation for the musical structure in that the kind and accumulation of speech sounds find their equivalents in the construction and order of the electronically modified vowel sounds. On the other hand, the meaning of the text was taken as the ground for an associative interpretation by musical means. In this way the associative interpretation is understandable as a counterpoint to the work on the structural level.
The final musical form is a result of close overlapping between the structural and the associative (meaning) level of the poetical texture by Rimbaud/George.
The piece was awarded the "Prize of the City Varese" at the 12th International Concours for analogue and digital electroacoustic Music "Luigi Russolo" 1990 in Varese (Italy). It received its first performance there, on September 22nd, 1990, in a concert of the prize-winning pieces.
Sound Technician: Uwe Ziegenhagen

 

ZEICHEN (Signs)

1989, 13:00 Min.

The 2-channel-realisation of this tape composition was made in April 1989 in the "Studio für elektronische Klangerzeugung" (Studio for Electronic Sound Generation) of the Hochschule für Musik "Carl Maria von Weber" in Dresden.
The choosen musical material has two components: electronic - with FM-synthesis generated - sounds and with a microphone recorded and in - a sampler modificated - "natural" noise and sounds.
Basic for the compositional work was the poem zeichen (signs) by the austrian Ernst Jandl.
The poem is not set to music in any conventional way, but determines the composition in two special ways. On the one hand the kind and order of its speech sounds are mirrored in the construction and order of the electronic sounds.
On the other, the meaning of the text was taken as the basis for an associative interpretation by musical means. In this way the associative interpretation can be understood as a counterpoint to the work at the structural level.
Thus, the final musical form is a result of close overlapping of the structural and the associative (meaning) level in the poetical texture by Ernst Jandl.
Sound Technician: Zbyszek Ceglowski

 

NASCA

1993, 10:10 Min.

The graphical composition for sinus, square and sawtooth waves NASCA was realized in 1993. Creation and structuring of the basic sound material was accomplished at Les Ateliers UPIC in Paris with final elaboration, post production and mix done at the Studio für elektronische Musik of the Hochschule für Musik "Mozarteum" at Salzburg (Austria).
At Les Ateliers UPIC , the UPIC Computer Music System is the main working tool. It was initially developed in the seventies by Iannis Xenakis and his research studio, the CEMAMu. The major strengths of this system are direct sound synthesis in real time and the control of all sound parameters by graphic means. Drawn visual elements (using a mouse or graphic tablet) control all sound parameters.
With the help of the UPIC System, the composition of NASCA was done in July 1993. The working method was the creation of 12 different screens or pages of music. The order of these screens determines - like a score - the musical progression of the piece.
The musical material of the piece is purely electronic and hand drawn ; no kind of sampling was done. It consists of different wave forms, some of them very basic: triangle, sawtooth, and square waves. Some waves (the more complex ones) were drawn and modified by hand — as variations of the basic wave forms.
The musical structure includes various kinds of glissandi (with different speed and/or number of voices) but also with several degrees of density (number of grains).
The title of the piece refers to the (more or less mysterious) lines at the high plateau near by Nasca which is situated in the south of Lima — the capital of Peru. In 1936, the American researcher Paul Kosok discovered these mysterious drawings on the surface of the desert. Because of their large size , they are only visible from an aeroplane. Some have the shape of animal symbols but others are complicated geometrical objects.
Since that time, there have been numerous attempts to explain the origin of these drawings with no satisfying result up to now.
The reason for choosing the same title for the piece is less mysterious. During my work in the studio, I found visual parallels between the mysterious graphics of Nasca in South America and the lines I drew on my UPIC pages, especially the glissandi. They look remarkably similar to me! I then decided to use the name "Nasca" for the UPIC piece. Both the graphic scores of UPIC and the mysterious drawings of Nasca stir up fantasy and imagination. Most of all — nobody knows the real meaning of the desert inscriptions of Nasca ...
The first performance was on the 4th June 1994 during the 18th International Festival of Contemporary Music ASPEKTE at the Großes Studio of the Hochschule "Mozarteum" at Salzburg. Many thanks to Brigitte Robindoré of Les Ateliers UPIC for her support.

 

 


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