Festival (DA)(NE)S in Maribor, Slovenia

A week ago I was invited to perform at KIBLA Multimedijski Center in Maribor, Slovenia. KIBLA is a culture centre that organizes art exhibitions and multimedia projects. Every year the festival (DA)(NE)S for microtonal music takes place, organized by Cameron Bobro.
I arrived in the evening of 4th September and shared the splendid KIBLA guest apartment with two documentary filmmakers from Portugal who were busy with a project about a European artist collaboration.
When I came to KIBLA the next morning for soundcheck, I was welcomed by a friendly place with a bar and a supporting crew.
In the evening, for the show, there were about 20 dedicated persons who formed my audience; not too bad if you consider that the kibla bar and perfoming space would be completely full with about 30 people. I don’t really mind if there are many or few people in the audience as long as they are curious about the performance, and these people definitely were! I started the concert with an improvisation over a chord progression that I found. To make the harmonic context audible I added quite a strong reverb with a long decay time that I had made in Max/MSP. An emphasis on high frequencies created a space-like sound. After an explanation of the Bohlen-Pierce scale and clarinet I went on with Manfred Stahnke’s Vogelmenschen which is based on Just Intonation chords that can be found within the Bohlen-Pierce scale. A helpful point in explaining to the audience is to know that almost all people in the whole of Eastern Europe grow up in a strong church choir tradition where Just Intonation or, in better words, ″reine Stimmung″ is the natural practice. Thus people would immediately recognize JI 9-limited as ″church choir music″ in terms of its harmonic effect. This valuable hint I got from Cameron Bobro earlier that day when I asked him what kinds of musical backgrounds will the audience have and what would be a good way to acquaint them to BP’s tonal world. Thinking about it, I found that my own experience with contemporary choir music by composers from Eastern Europe agrees with Cameron’s thought. Back to the concert, however.
An extremely fresh piece was Todd Harrop‘s Der Zauberzephir; the final editions were made on that very day, and one could call this a ″wet ink project″. I had asked Todd to write a solo piece for the Bohlen-Pierce tenor clarinet for this special event as it is the first time I appear as a solo artist in a whole show, without my duo partner. Todd made up a chord progression based on a scale which is known as “Walker II”, and he turned his chord progression into a beautiful mellow piece with a slight, added reverb. Premiering pieces is thrilling because the conditions in the practice studio are totally different from those on stage, and it is always exciting to feel the audience’s reaction to a piece. Der Zauberzephir turned out to be a success. During the performance, I felt that my audience was still very concentrated. They sampled the pleasures of the piece and its harmonies, and I enjoyed letting chords float around the room and extending some sounds by playing somewhat slower than I did when preparing for the concert. The end of the piece was the official end of my performance, but I still saw curious faces in front of me. When I asked if I might show or explain something again or something more, the answer I got was: ″Just play another song.″ Okay, then! ″Do you want the big or the small clarinet?″ – ″The big one!″ Peopled just loved the Bohlen-Pierce tenor clarinet! I played a long improvisation on it, and after another long and warm applause changed to the soprano again and improvised a little more. Honestly: This was one of the most enjoyable performances I have ever had!


About msmullerful

Freelance musician (clarinetist), mostly involved in contemporary music projects but still able to play the classic repertoire.
This entry was posted in Bohlen-Pierce, Lectures and Masterclasses, Performances. Bookmark the permalink.

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