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A. Biography
B. Music and society
C. Ways of composing music
D. About silence
E. About influences and other composers
F. About some works


zurück A. Biography

Avoiding the situation of a composer only sitting in front of his desk, I tried to escape the relative isolation of new music by being active in the concrete cultural and political field. These were the points leading to the extreme situation in 1975-1980: my exclusive political work in this time implied compositional silence.
[In: "Angefügt, nahtlos, ans Heute," (1991)]

In the run of time it increasingly made me sick to observe the exclusiveness of the musical sphere, not only in classical music, but also in the circles of the avant-garde. Whether in Venice, in Amsterdam, in Cologne or in Darmstadt - everywhere I met the same persons on stage or in the audience. On the level of universities or academies, I observed the strictness of the scene. My decision was to escape those circles by "going out", which means trying to address social problems with my music, having contact with "normal" people. The particular situation in the Ruhrgebiet was important for the development of my intensely Marxist-oriented thinking. Changing structures in the Ruhrgebiet, e.g. closing coalmines in the '60s or the crisis of the steel industry in the '70s, caused social and political struggles. Here, the attendance at strikes, the organization of demonstrations became more important to me than concentrating on avant-garde music. It was a bubbling time, which finally led into exclusive political work. Producing pieces or songs with theater groups and performing works in public places or even pubs were my main artistic ventures. During the last few years, experiences of that time have become important again. Many things I used more spontaneously and provocatively in the '70s have now become structural elements in my compositions. Since everyone is talking about a new order, it is necessary to remember that in principal nothing has changed, and that in any case, it is not towards a better world.
[In: '... rote Fäden ...' Gespräch mit Johannes Bultmann (1994)]

  zurück B. Music and society

Without doubt, music is necessary to direct agitation and purpose to create something new. It's not only Eisler who proved this with his solidarity songs, e.g. "Red Wedding", "Secret deployment" or "Song of the songs". On the other hand, it is indispensable to create music that stimulates the transfer of spontaneous feelings into conscious emotions, as inexorable reality demands a more rational approach in order to create point of departures for a new, better society. But is it possible to realize this approach with music? In my compositions I try to find ways to solutions. Here it is necessary to remember that music cannot create feelings that have not already existed. One becomes angry or depressive spontaneously, one loves, one becomes sad, one feels elated only for a moment. But these feelings only occur in relation to something. And it is quite possible that mental states like joy, depression, melancholy, or dejection can be the same. It depends on the character of a person: the way one is, the way one thinks, the way one got used to feeling.
[In: "Für später: jetzt". Thoughts on a way to compose. (1982)]

The composer has to deal with existing "worlds of imaginations", knots of prejudice and subcutaneous feelings. As the writer Anna Seghers would say, "one should participate in dissolving the paralyzation of the people who were driven into an imperialistic Coke- and McDonald's 'culture' by long-lasting fascist or fascistic influences". A composer, who feels responsible, has to go the same way, even though the frame of action is limited, especially by the tendency of being restricted from the conservative mechanisms from "above". Composing and performing music is a process evolving in dialectic relation to political developments. Therefore, there is no reason to be dependent on a way of thinking that concentrates on utopian hopes. The realization of hope for better times can be supported in an active way.
[In: "Für später: jetzt". Thoughts on a way to compose. (1982)]

Brecht once said, "there is an art of drama and an art of spectators". In analogy to this statement, we have the art of composing and the art of listening. This does not mean that one has to listen in an intellectual way. Instead, the composer has to support the process of developing a new technique of hearing. In my early pieces, I dealt with this problem in a way that the audience was directly included and provoked to take part in my works.
[In: "Für später: jetzt". Thoughts on a way to compose (1982)]

My decision not to compose pieces for concert hall has been a result of my performance practice. I was partially motivated by the suspicion that music does not have enough power to influence, or even to change, bourgeois audiences. Certainly, music does not have the ability to evoke radical changes in society, as music only represents a part of the arts and a part of philosophical, intellectual thinking. But on the other hand, I can at least imagine situations in which I could concentrate on organizing demonstrations or political agitation again.
[In: "…rote Fäden…" Conversation with Johannes Bultmann (1994)]

These are the points:

  • Creating music that refers to the "world" with its (acoustic) conditions - nevertheless, these are caused by the inside, that means by social mechanisms, or by being forced upon people by another culture or power; from the outside to the inside;
  • Composing music that is not only referring to an obsolete reality but - at least subliminally - to people, their feelings and their health;
  • Composing music that refers to and deals with existing problems in society instead of neglecting, covering or even idealizing them;
  • Composing music that shows social gashes and intensifies problems in society, even referring to them in a toxic way;
  • Composing music that strengthens resistance and sharpens the emotions and ways of thinking instead of creating illusions of harmony and happiness;
  • Composing music that refers to its own specific qualities and that offers food for the mind and soul in a multilayered (which does not mean complicated) way. Music should expand cognitive and emotional perception instead of reducing the reception of music to a level of animal-like reactions to superficial sentimentalities;
  • Composers who do not capitulate at the sight of existing problems, but deal with diseases by transferring them into their work. Composers who provoke, shock and cause irritations in order to destroy social crusts and to show perspectives that lead to a free and broadened perception of social phenomena in society;
  • Composers who develop clear positions and show alternative worlds to a daily routine - creating systems that refer to a change of existing conditions in an allegorical way;
  • And composers who try to do these things with a certain verve, enthusiasm, fantasy, and serenity in order to open positive rooms, "alternative rooms and skies" (Luigi Nono); And
  • An audience that is willing to open its minds and to be curious;
  • An audience that replies to provocations and disturbances with its own engagement and thoughts;
  • Listeners who learn to decipher musical contexts and to integrate these auditory experiences in their ways of thinking as a part of cognitive and emotional knowledge. And, as a consequence: listeners who increasingly react to acoustic environmental pollution - as caused by the worldwide tendency to background music, by noises directly or by music creating dull feelings - in allergic ways;
  • An audience that is basically able to enjoy unsolved phenomena, and listeners who formulate questions without expecting definite answers. As a result, we have music characterized by specific places and situations and at least dealing with material that embodies everyday experience as well as its historical conditions and its meanings for the future;
  • Composers who consider questionable phenomena as an important, even most decisive principle and who try to create a basis for opportunities to sharpen the senses. Questions - when answered - should at least cast new questions.
  • An audience that demands these points and expects new music to refer to the past from a present point of view. The past tried the same in its times and as a result it developed out of the same principles.

[In: Polyphonie von Welten (1999)]

Music awakes time, it awakes us to enjoy the most delicious use of time. But in fact it is (only one space) still true that it (music) is of ambivalent character. (Thomas Mann: Der Zauberberg)
Especially in respect to these points, music is of special relevance and importance. Music is multilayered and therefore able to represent quite a fitting symbol of a complex reality. It embodies many aspects of everyday life: from spontaneous emotion to calculated thinking and from extreme complexity to (sometimes-complicated) simplicity. Music represents many shades of human mood. It is of special relevance to music that it is able to emphasize contexts, which would require long-lasting verbal explanations.
[In: Nicht Traum. Traum: (1999)]

There are various grades of perception, even absolutely different points of view. In an art gallery, we can be fascinated by a work at once and later we learn to decipher its contexts by dealing with it for a longer span of time and in a more intense way. These are the mechanisms of transferring art into our world. And these are undoubtedly equivalent to the process of meeting an unknown person. In a fraction of a second, we develop special kinds of behavior, which are confirmed or changed in the run of time - in fact, a process not quite different from that of rational analysis. Well, we have the same mechanisms in music. Our first perception is characterized by the dominance of emotion - a form of reception many people consider as the only or even the best way of music consumption (a fatal point of view, that makes one throw up). But in some cases, we may already listen analytically if we hear a new piece. (The grade of cognitive, rational perception depends on a person's social background.) Later, while hearing a piece of music for the second or the third time - maybe even reading the score or some texts - it is possible to reach new areas of a composition, for instance its connections to other art forms or life in general. Each serious piece of music should supply the opportunity of dealing with circumstances of life (even in excessive ways). But maybe it is enough, if music represents a kind of generator in order to discover areas that have been unknown before. Areas that could be used as a counterpoint to existing conditions in order to change or to influence these.
[In: Nicht Traum. Traum: (1999)]

The surrealistic painter René Magritte said, "My painting is a way of thinking that observes." In music this could mean: "Music is a way of thought that listens" or "…requires a way of thinking that hears."
[In: Nicht Traum. Traum: (1999)]

  zurück C. Ways of composing music

For me, construction is a prerequisite for developing pieces, developing them by transferring my ideas into specific forms, adequate to these things I'd like to express. The use of certain numerical orders or names of persons, being associated with a construction or a piece, is more of a private decision. It does not have to be perceived by the audience. The most important thing is that a composer constructs his works in a solid way and transports messages into content.
[In: Hanns-Werner Heister: Namen und Zahlen (1991)]

In my sketches to the Music theatre "Cassandra Complex" (1993/94) I developed a long row of numbers, that constitutes the whole work with its retrogades, inversions and retrogade-inversions. I used this technique not to create psychological moments, but more to symbolize the different positions of the uncredible blind Cassandra. And I used the numbers to create Heterotopics, which build contexts even in contradicted acts of "Cassandra Complex" (1993/94). In all my compositions after this music theatre I used rows of numbers from one to nine and zero (sometimes I distilled them out of rudimentary, artificial texts) in a much more subcutaneous way. These rows represent energies, that shine in all directions. Mostly they are secret, because I think it is more a question of composing technique. I don't want the listener to divert from the emotional sense, from direct perception. In one of my recent compositions, the choir "…for Kavafis…" (2000) I used the years, works of Konstantinos Kavafis have been published, in order to create - following Walter Benjamin - a "musical physiognomy". These years, while being hummed, can also be interpreted in fragments, beginning and ending somewhere - like the time, we go through, like love, which eyes, full of moments of loving. Shining like a grey opal and - conserved in memory, later could spend power and imagination.
[In: heterotopien zahlen (2001)]

The situation in which an artist has complete command over all levels of human perception - hearing, seeing or feeling expressions. That would be the optimum: developing paintings directly without colors or canvas, creating music without mediums like paper, instruments, speakers etc. Although this situation is quite utopian, artists have always tried to realize these ideas. In the art of painting, we have the examples of Kazimir Malevich, Mark Rothko, Yves Klein, Barnett Newman, Richard Serra, Lee Ufan…; in music we have Earle Brown's "December 1952", John Cages famous "4'33"", Dieter Schnebel's visible Music "MO-NO", Kunsu Shim's series of (untitled) compositions. Or - as an attempt to summarize former experiences - my graphical score "Red and black" - consisting of digital price-codes to be interpreted musically. I try to embrace all of the musical know-how, from simple imitation in space or between the most complicated sound constellations in space or in between players. These examples represent imaginative music, which does not have to be performed. It is music that makes suggestions - also suggestions to realize an artistic, acoustic interpretation of inner feelings.
[In: Hörendes Denken - Denkendes Hören (1995)]

In order to realize (my) premises it is necessary to define musical methods in a new way. A fixed style, or even compositional dogmatism, is not something that is required. But this means intense work and in respect to our limited time we have as a composer, I try and I have tried to follow the maxim of working on things that are missing or that seem to miss. In doing so, I always have my own limits, especially limited knowledge in mind. And because composing also means dealing with perception, with cognitive and emotional experiences, it can be used as an educational means - not as dry theory but as a metaphor of permanent change…
[In: Polyphonie von Welten (1999)]

New techno-gags, up to date programs, the wildest battle of material. Should these aspects really be the standard for evaluating aesthetic phenomena? No, Adorno is wrong in demanding a steady progression of material. It's not possible to revolutionize musical material. The most important thing is the use of materials in respect to their contents, characters, histories... Not all of these aspects are always relevant. Sometimes it is necessary to refer to one aspect of material, sometimes to another. The most frequent problem of electronic or computer music is that the "producer" is too impressed by spontaneously developed sound constellations. He then uses them only after a first check. Listening to sounds is often replaced by an enthusiasm for new technical fashions. That is the reason we often have electronic music that sounds sterile or even lifeless after hearing it for the second or third time. It is not easy to discover consistent structures or a kind of intense density. I presume that it would only be possible, if we trusted our ways of hearing and then tried to integrate these experiences into electronic music. That means not to collect elements the machine suggests, but instead to try to transport emotional listening into the mechanisms of electronic sound production. Certainly this kind of creating electronic music affects ways of using the machine, its sounds and contexts of the works being composed. An interesting point in the process of composing with electronic media is to discover that active hearing can be used as a standard for a compositions, that has its foundation in all speculative and constructive methods. This does not mean the exclusion of chance operations. Electronic mediums enable new freedom of expression by linking composition and interpretation. And, these experiences are also relevant to composing without machines.
[In: Polyphonie von Welten (1999)]

"Dreaming about the future" starts in the present (with its past): in analyzing the present (and its past). There is something that has to do with new phenomena, with searching, with discovering, with a creative, innovative way of dealing with the present (and its past)… With using new compositional methods in a responsible way (or avoiding these! Helmut Lachenmann recently said, "Pulling strings to the end means they could snatch, they could become slack or even oneself could get pulled back…"). It has something to do with a responsible use of new compositorical methods. Not as an end in itself, but as a way to find new ways… doing things that haven't been answered yet, but are necessary. (Ernest Bloch)
[In: Nicht Traum. Traum: (1999)]

Technical competence should be required on all levels of composition and interpretation. One does not have to emphasize that a composer creates quality as well as works founded upon a close relationship between its parts. Perfection, or the attempt to increase one's competence, can be expected. The composer's fantasy and experience is important. In this context, other qualities become important as well: the ability to communicate compositionally with partners of similar competence or even to discuss one's ideas in a musical way.
[In: Über eine Komposition zu zwölft (1999)]

In contrast to collage - of the dadaists for example - I mainly refer to a kind of montage in the tradition of Sergey Eisenstein, the surrealists or - in a more direct way - of montage-techniques in the works of the Italian painter Francesco Clemente, or the composers Hanns Eisler, Luigi Nono or Nicolaus Huber. I do not prefer the use of quotations or quoted structures, but subcutaneously connected structures that have been developed in order to express specific intentional contents.
[In: Nicht Traum. Traum: (1999)]

Bricolage sonor means dealing with sounds not produced by conventional instruments but generated by raw materials - such as leather, wood, glass, or metal. This term could be used to inaugurate a new view on alternative composing techniques. In this perspective Bricolage sonor would influence the way of composing, as it would maybe help in dealing with new sounds in a more experimental and flexible way. Bricolage sonor would then mean to broaden compositorical possibilities by avoiding a concentration on traditional instruments. Apart from this point, bricolage sonor is a technique, which enables music to develop a closer relation to everyday life becoming more precise and contemporary (helping to overcome the view of "classical" music). On the other hand, there is the problem of overloading music with a direct semantics, which does not have too much in common with a pure musical organization of sounds. The danger of bungling will arise as soon as we begin to deal with new sounds without principles and start to explore new sound-generators in an overactive, careless manner in order to cover missing ideas. Bricolage sonor materials - being "good" or "bad", "worthless" or "noble" - should be controlled by compositional intentions and should be legitimated by specific contents the composer wants to express. Apart from the uniqueness of sounds not generated by traditional instruments, bricolage sonor can revitalize the spontaneous moment of happenings or the enthusiastic obsession of allegorical fluxus actions in the '60s if the materials are used in a responsible way. Bricolage sonor as compositorical method has also developed its power in putting things that normally exist in the periphery into the center of works. In this way, bricolage sonor is a relevant method for my œuvre in general. My open-form conceptions or compositions from 1968 to the mid-'70s often integrate ready-mades such as matches, balloons, and saws (e.g. in Dämpfe und drüber...for eight active screamers) or even a motorcycle in the organ work Mo-PED. From the early '80s on, I used so-called bricoles mal, self-constructed objects (e.g. in Wirbelsäulenflöte for conventional instruments and sound objects of the sculptor Thomas Rother), material out of radio news and film (e.g. in fallen, fallen... und liegen und fallen.), Walkman sounds (in Zeitsprünge), sounds of splintering wood (in Ungaretti-Lieder), drops of melting ice (in O MURO), computer and printer sounds (in TRAUM 1/9/92), or stinking dust bags and tropical smells (in Die Nacht sitzt am Tisch). In Co - wie Kobalt, the sound of the orchestra refers to the acoustic sounds of everyday life. Here it becomes obvious that bricolage sonor materials are used to broaden the horizons of producing traditional music.
[In: Rückprall (1995)]

  zurück D. About silence

Silence is indispensable. Missing silence is as destructive as forced silence - a phenomenon we may feel when staying at a cemetery. Silence is used to get new energy. We need it for better concentration, for meditation, for even only to think about something. In order to create something new and leave the old behind. In a way silence is the center of the end and the beginning, like the night. But in fact: where do we have silence? Our ears are always opened in contrast to other senses like mouth and eyes. We never have absolute silence. Absolute silence would mean there is no movement at all - life in general would break down. An attempt to define, to really understand silence, would cause a dilemma, because being would then be separated from consciousness. Novalis said, "we do not possess things we are talking about". But on the other hand, not possessing something could be expressed by silence (not by words and sounds), if our consciousness is active and we think about something missing.
[In: Silences. (Ver-)Schweigen. (1990)]

Silence is of dialectic character, because it simultaneously combines either/or, being and non-being, emotion and realization, hope or hopelessness, destruction, emptiness, and decay.
[In: Silences. (Ver-)Schweigen. (1990)]

Decent citizens stay silent in the night (valves are carefully installed). Decent citizens pay attention to silence during daytime. It has to be quiet: the most important condition for law and order...That is the reason why we do not speak too much and why people are forced to keep things to themselves. And in cases, where it is not possible to be silent, there people "talk": where they play the hypocrite, where they lie, cover up, twist, or pervert. But where "talking in order to keep things secret" is useless, there are concrete actions, (governmental) violence (supported by fascist henchmen), limitations, persecutions, condemnations; there are acts of torture, wars or counterrevolutions ... for discriminated, censured, tabooed people. Being removed from society means that man has to be silent and this oppression from the outside causes inner despair, lack of self-confidence or even suicidal tendencies. For persecuted, imprisoned, tortured people ... governmental terror can not only mean to be locked into silence but also to be silenced to death. An inner attitude of people in all circumstances of life is linked with an extreme disciplining from the outside. "Everlasting occupation" is strategy: Avoiding silence is used to dull our senses. That is the strategy once analyzed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: a system of alienation, separation leading to isolation. Or, in Marx's words: to Entfremdung (estrangement). Obviously in this system, silence - as a place of contemplation - is suspect - similar to the night. (Exceptions are tolerated when they stay with conformity.) In this way, silence is really dangerous, as it implies the power of analysis, or even a tendency to ask relevant questions, that could attack fundamental (conservative) views. Silence could contain revolutionary aspects, could be used as a first step to rebel against the circumstances of life. Maintenance of silence for years can be cruel but it is limited. History contains a lot of examples; an extreme is the shrinking of 1000 years to only 12 in fascist times. Paul Celan (1920-1970) created the expression "erschwiegenes Wort" in his poem Argumentum e silentio.
[In: Silences. (Ver-)Schweigen. (1990)]

The desolate situation becomes evident, if composers establish silence to create an atmosphere that supports fantasy or thinking emotion. But because silence is a state strongly contradicted to the system of permanent acoustic occupation, it causes - if not provocation - confusion. Ears, even the head, begin to burn because the individual is left alone and is forced to cope with its own personality; speechlessness and the absence of sound become perceptible - things that have been missed. Well, it is quite subjective, but on the other hand, this phenomena is caused by a society that is characterized by a lack of openness, non-prejudice, tolerance in respect to new phenomena or other thinking people. That's a state that hurts. In order to change or to influence this situation somebody is required, who is quite rational, clearly analyzing but sensitive as well. For example, Kassandra as described by Christa Wolf, "I learned by watching ways of being silent." If this way of learning could spread, then hearing, as well as thinking, could develop in a way, so that ears only get a "burning" by being permanently occupied. Ears are victims to acoustical gossip or of old romantic emotions and attitudes. If we altered these circumstances we would have reached a lot.
[In: "Man schindet die Ohren sich blutig an Noten!" (1991)]

  zurück E. About influences and other composers

Artists present their paintings (observed on a flea-market in Ann Arbor, Michigan), that were painted or constructed multidimensionally: people are situated in front of their surroundings, dependent on, but in a way also dominating, the scene. The ambivalence of being involved and, on the other hand controlling, the situation - there are similar aspects in my work. I also compose multilayered pieces that can be perceived in various ways - emotionally or cognitively. My music can be interpreted in different directions. That is the reason why composers such as Gesualdo, Purcell, C.P.E. Bach, Schubert, the later Liszt, Skryabin, Satie, Cage, and Nono, the Russian film pioneer Eisenstein with his dynamic montage-technique, the painters Hiëronymus Bosch, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, and Warhol, and poets or philosophers like Shakespeare, Balzac, W. Blake, Mayakovsky, Eco, and Foucault became very important for my way of composing music.
[In: "Angefügt, nahtlos, ans Heute." (1991)]

Fluxus, with its happenings, actions and descriptions of these, was quite an important movement for me. Nitsch from Vienna, for example, took a bath in the blood of ritually murdered animals. Or musical performances by John Cage (theater pieces, etc.) and Giuseppe Chiari, who wrote very reduced music, which I played in organ concerts for several years. It was not their anti-bourgeois attitude I was most interested in. It was more their way of making bizarre things, combined with a kind of positive provocation.
[In: '... rote Fäden ...' Conversation with Johannes Bultmann (1994)]

Music from the past centuries has always been a part of my life. I have never been interested in pop songs. My first experiences were with ancient music and that is the reason why I have a special interest in the music of J.S. Bach or Schubert. In the run of my musical studies, I began to interpret music history in the way of dialectic materialism. For me, the history of music consists not only of a number of works existing in different centuries being analyzed in a more anecdotal way (in this way music is taught in school or even in university). I was more interested in contextualizing musical works with their social and historical contexts, finding philosophical expressions in musical works in order to explore "guidelines" of music history. Guidelines that develop in secret, and then enter the mainstream, like the development of certain forms of autonomous instrumental music. Or connected with the upcoming bourgeoisie - the beginning of major-minor tonality. It's which differentiation evolved analogous to functional separation within music and the development of virtuosity.
[In: '... rote Fäden ...' Gespräch mit Johannes Bultmann (1994)]

The use of interdisciplinary techniques is important for many of my works, for example, the structure of my work Wirbelsäulenflöte is based on the opera King Arthur by Purcell. Schubert's first song Gute Nacht in his Winterreise is used in ... fürs Vaterland, as an expression of times of political and social oppression, and times marked by the danger of war. Apart from these two examples, I incorporated Liszt's pure thirds in my acronym Den Müllfahrern von San Francisco in order to disconnect them from their strange religious and social meaning in Liszt's œuvre. In the '70s, I became acquainted with Satie, and from that time on, I have often used aspects of his - and Cage's - aesthetics to emphasize my ideas. All of these references to other composers are used in certain compositional projects and are dependent on my personal situation - which means the direct present.
[In: '... rote Fäden ...' Conversation with Johannes Bultmann (1994)] 

Nono's composing techniques - montages, hints, citations from past composers or poets, the dialectic between compositional liberty and severity, the flexibility of fracture - all of these points do not have a worn-out effect, although they are all influenced by Nono's classical education or his old (Venetian) origins. Nono's ideas are often based upon Greek mythology and on dealing with fundamental questions, and are influenced by foreign cultures as well. He shows that there are other conditions in the world besides a rich European culture, and that it is not enough to develop new ideas with radical thoughts or fashion-like techniques only concerned with the surface of phenomena. It is more important to attack fixed social structures - structures that determine our thoughts and actions in a way that makes us think that not being authentic is the most normal thing in the world. Nono and Varèse - who called sound son organisé - thought sounds were like organisms, and they used space to separate interpreters from each other in the concert hall. At the same time, Nono would create new sound dimensions by electronic procedures. Although Varèse put his emphasis on separated, independent layers of sounds, these created very distinguished relations with each other. Nono worked more integrally; he dealt with the material in the tradition of the Second Viennese School and thereby, he creates an historical aura. Apart from many stylistic differences, there is one fundamental aspect Nono and Varèse have in common… maybe led by rational thought, I was very attracted by their clear constructions combined with an openness of form.
[In: ...yes, No-no... (1997)]

John Cage's approach pushes towards fantasy and tries to attack antiquated traditions in music. Musicians/interpreters should develop their own responsibilities in order to test anarchical mechanisms in conceptions of arrangements of his experiments (H.K. Metzger). The composer's influence is minimized in order to reach a maximum of freedom on the interpreter's side. Doubts are thus advisable. In his late works, Cage retracted his "intention-less" approach and went back to his harmonic ways of composing from the '40s. If this is admitted, his procedure has to be accepted. The mark "espressivo" that Cage used in his 103 for orchestra is meant as advice to the interpreters; they should be responsible for their sounds. Whether this implies a greater freedom than the meaning of espressivo in traditional chamber music is hard to tell. Well, this is a little step towards freedom in music that does not question the whole system. In many compositions and concepts, Cage dealt with the meaning of now, with the most famous example being 4'33". Here, he confirmed the First World tendency of settling down, where everyone can stay home, being surrounded by his own music. Listening to music is as useless as composing music. In a way, Cage confesses himself to an epoch characterized by Paul Virilio as an epoch of "simulation". Shocking effects once provoking pieces were reduced; Cage did not deal with musical material in a progressive way any longer. In a way, dreams or utopias became stunted, but that does not mean that the aesthetic of the '50s onwards does not offer opportunities to use flexibility and openness in meaningful ways.
[In: Nicht Traum. Traum: (1999)]

  zurück F. About some works

In my royal opera Sünde. Fall. Beil., music tries to move skulls - similar to procedures in some of Jean Tinguely's bizarre machines - supported by montage techniques and the creation of semantic relations guaranteeing a coherence. Musical structure is based on short, but decisive terms that have been transferred into (Morse-)rhythms and in this way, determine the musical course. (Semantik-Kreis). Indeed, this does not happen in a one-dimensional way. Smaller units are used as germ cells for bigger structural complexes that become units themselves. These bigger units are structures referring to the future or to the past, always creating contexts, even though this is not heard or felt in the first moment. But on the other hand, I also use structures negating the action on stage. Many rhythmic, dynamic and sound- or frequency structures are developed out of words or chains of words, which are contradicted by the contents expressed by the singers on stage.
[In: Sünde. Fall. Beil. (1992)]

...Once, garbage men in San Francisco awakened me. In the first moment, I was angry about their noises, which became cramped in my brain after they had gone through my ears. But after 15 minutes, I observed a loosening of my cramp because I discovered quite fascinating sounds. These were clearly shaped and characterized by special durations caused by diverse hatches. In the moment these hatches were opened, I could hear an astonishing pure third that suddenly broke down in regions of very low frequencies. Well, I remembered all these sounds, wrote them down and afterwards, I used them as a basis for my composition Den Müllfahrern von San Francisco, which I dedicated to the trashmen that I heard. The subtitle, "an acronym out of acoustical memories from a journey", refers to the literal meaning of acronym. This is a word formed out of letters used in other contexts. I transferred this principle into music so that Den Müllfahrern von San Francisco became secretly characterized by non-directly perceptible structures. For example, I used longer parts of the poem America by Allen Ginsberg, a poet who had lived in San Francisco for several years, and the poem became coded - it was transferred into rhythms of Morse signals. Letter for letter, word for word, line for line, I used these internal rhythms, first in a gradual, and later in an overlapping way, so that it becomes denser.
[In: Call a Spade Spider a Spade. Rückstahlungen von Reisen (1992)]

I composed Twilights - protocols for tape (1983) at the center for computer music at Stanford University and in the electronic studio of the Folkwanghochschule Essen. I had used Morse codes before, but here the act of Morse coding is a layer of its own. (Based on a text by Karl Marx that maybe can be deciphered by revolutionary radio operators.) Special message codes have effects on other materials, but this is not relevant to the composition at all.
[In: Call a Spade Spider a Spade. Rückstahlungen von Reisen (1992)]

I have been fascinated by the figure of Cassandra for all my life, because it showed parallels to the situations that I lived in. In the '60s, or especially in 1968, I realized that there were special developments in society, but I also observed that these were not really accepted. Instead, there were only attempts to influence some of the visible symptoms. I think that this procedure is still valid nowadays and will be so maybe even in the future. Well, in the beginning of the '80s, there was a novel dealing with these antique materials. I was really captured by Christa Wolf's book, because it presented new perspectives in dealing with mythology and offered possibilities to renew the old Cassandra myth. A very important point that has changed since Greek mythology is that of the view of women - Apollo created light, installing patriarchies and negating matriarchies. Christa Wolf discovered Cassandra as a figure starting to find a balance between the dark, associated with feminism, and the light; Apollo gets his power from her, and he too has been made. In fact, that is the disaster, which has driven us into catastrophic states for the last 2000 years: it is the imbalance between male and female.
[In: ... auf dem St.-Andreas-Graben sitzen (1997)]

Preparing for the opera CassandraComplex, I used a fixed row of numbers in order to compose complex processes. In aleatory ways, different Cassandra studies are defined, and later I used their structures to mark divergent columns of the opera as every study deals with special situations of the novel. In this way, I created the basis of CassandraComplex.
[In: ...yes, No-no... (1997)]

For an artist, it is really very attractive dealing with the structure of the Internet. It works like a composition, connecting all things with each other, but allowing the choice of direct or non-direct ways to reach one's destination. Apart from that, in a way the Internet offers chance operations, because the net means discovering things only by clicking around, with more or less no intention at all. Sure, the Internet only supplies things in fragments, but these are presented in a multicolored way. It is also the other way around: things, which have been thought and researched or designed, are also only presented as fragments. Well, these Internet structures have had their effects on various pieces nearly automatically. The entire INTERNET-project beginning on a trip to Barcelona in November 1995 and then realized a few months later in INTERNET 3.2 for mezzo-soprano, piano and percussion is based on the idea of transferring Internet mechanisms to the inner structures of composition. Four pieces, …strike the ear…(1987/88), Nachbeben und davor (1988/89), Den Müllfahrern von San Francisco (1989/90), and Zeitsprünge (1990) offer the material with which I used to "surf". I used a row of numbers out of BAB(ylon) because I needed material to trigger the selection of special chords. In this way, I reached inner connections between pieces that all have their own history, special content and structure.
[In: Gefahr und Chancen (1997)]

After the death of a close friend I dealt with the problem aids in my trio Warnung mit Liebeslied (1986). On one hand aids causes a slow, first invisible incorporation of an infected body. But the subject also offers the possibility to break the taboo "death", the chance to defend personal feelings against demands of public power. For this reason I collected melodies, that have been sung and played by Beggars in Lisboa. I combined them with sounds of a samba, which have their origins African dance ceremonies - the Bantus danced on broken glass and between fire and were accompagnied by percussion. The instrumentation with accordion, harp and glass-percussion is influenced by these sounds. Then a secret frame consisting of combinations from the numbers 11, 13, 17 and their multiples is also influenced by the preexisting sounds I collected. The composition of all the materials is mainly going back to the subjects I deal with - two structures, one rhythmic elegiac, the other "mechanic" regular, are increasingly dissociating. At the end the mechanic gestus dominates, nearly unplayable its getting so fast that its "unhuman" character is getting lost: the accordion begins to "breath" because the noises of the bellow become successively louder.
[In: heterotopien zahlen (2001)]