“…und nicht vielmehr Nichts?” for Solo Piano

“…und nicht vielmehr Nichts?” makes explicit the idea that the piano key mechanism can be considered an active material to be corresponded with, rather than a passive transducer. While the performer’s ‘goal’ should be to press each key without the string sounding, sounding is not an expression of failure but of correspondence, of the piano and the performed material ‘pushing back’. The piece was inspired variously by Einar Einarsson’s Negative Dynamics I(a/b) and Helmut Lechanmann’s Serynade.

Abstract from performance notes:

The score consists of a number of ‘passages,’ each of which must be performed with the intention that no string will sound, but with a palpable risk that they will. Most passages feature performance directions that refer to a sounding result. Performers should consider these to be imaginary goals that inform particular gestural, physiological and psychological approaches to the material. If string(s) do actuate in spite of the performer’s intentions, this should be considered a valid product of circumstance as opposed to a mistake. While I anticipate that the phenomenological fabric of a good performance will highlight touch as a performer-instrument interface loaded with historical import and, as a consequence, a degree of struggle with unsympathetic materials, I also expect that a certain amount of theatricality will be unavoidable. Performers should not give this aspect more than its due. A focused if not slightly understated attempt to grapple with the material at hand is far preferable to a dramatic representation that would see the central concerns of the piece rendered behind a superficial display of struggle in the more general sense.

More information is available from Chapter 5 of my Master’s thesis.

“…und nicht vielmehr Nichts?” for Solo Piano – PDF Score