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Zeit aus Zeit (the Stockhausen variations)  2002

“Zeit aus Zeit” (Time out of Time) is a variation work based on the (by now) classical composition for piano, percussion and tape by Karl-Heinz Stockhausen. Concluding a series of works based on the theme of musical style and time such as “Alias” (based on the musical works of Gesualdo da Venosa), ”Strings & Shadows” (based on a musical fragment from a Greta Garbo film), “Retur” (based on a saxophone solo by Charlie Parker) etc..., “Zeit aus Zeit” deals with a very concrete application of the temporal aspects of history and sound.

Emerging from a point where the sound and musical style could be described as “Stockhausen on speed”, the piece evolves through a gradual transformation where the timbral and stylistic expression approaches the present state of electro-acoustic tendencies as well as a personal, musical style. The computer-generated sounds of the piece (invariably controlled by the musicians) have been derived solely from recordings of the instrumental parts of “Kontakte” performed by the Cikada Duo (as a part of the research phase of the composition). The instrumental parts of “Zeit aus Zeit” are (in general) “free” fantasies governed by the gestic output of the electronic processes. I have used the same instrument setup for “Zeit aus Zeit” as one would find in the original setting of “Kontakte”, except for the addition of a vibraphone and one MIDI-controller each for the musicians (in order to control the computer sounds).

The basic concept of the piece is the derivation of sound through generating new sounds based on the temporal contents of a piece from one historical point of time (Kontakte) through time-based processes such as granular synthesis and re-synthesis, techniques already envisioned at the time of the creation of the original piece, but not fully possible until now. There is also a point in the fact that the relation between the musicians and the electronic sounds is such that the musicians execute a complete control of timing, enabling them to be at the same time free in tempo as well as exact in co-ordination. This was by the time of the creation of “Kontakte” far from possible. This of course, is another temporal “twist” of the piece.

The piece was composed for the Cikada Duo (Kenneth Karlsson and Bjørn Rabben) as a commission from the Swedish Institute for National Concerts. It was premiered during the World Music Days 2002 in Gothenburg.

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excerpt of Simulated version