Kéménymadár / asvogel / bird from the chimney is a bio-graphical score in lino cut prints on the composer, ethnographer, inventor and multi-instrumentalist Ernö Király.
I have written the elements for the score by departing from the story and music of Ernö Király. I chose to write by cutting ‘scenes’ in lino and print them. This way (taking time, concentration, hand work) I turn the scenes into a set of musical codes; a black and white musical notation ‘system’. Each code is endowed with musical parameters such as texture, dynamics, gesture and direction versus statics, background / foreground, and register. Some codes are ‘content codes’, some are process codes (dealing with repetition, quotation, inversion, modulation, and throwing dice…). At the same time I create the space and possibilities for the musicians to use their character and personal input, as they become co-writers, once they lay out their version of the score using the elements provided.
This complex system can lead to beautiful music. Multi-layered in meaning, and also bringing up Ernö’s Phoenix from the ashes. It creates pathways with (im)possibilities, shifting counterpoint and feedback, short circuits and deadlocks, to solve and to use. Imperfection! And of course I am interested to see if it still bears my musical signature, my codes being the starting point for the collaboration.
At the moment I finished the lino cuts, and specified the musical parameters. I am studying the (im)possibilities of versions “to be”….. Invited musicians / co-composers will receive the codes, tone stocks and instructions to lay out their version, rehearse and play (enough to have it become a piece, not mere improvisation, and little enough to allow for the freedom that will make each performance of the piece slightly different).
The codes are broken bridge (Novi Sad),tulip, tape, corn (freedom!), mandoline / dice, chimney, swimming trousers and phoenix / asvogel (the code to use a Király-score quote).
“The score must govern the music. It must have authority, and not merely be an arbitrary jumping-off point for improvisation.” – Cornelius Cardew
Three of the codes (tape is taking abruptly and harshly a small part from the material one of your two neighbours just played and replays it in its own register, while they are silent….. swimming trousers will be texture driven and cherish carefully. corn is freedom!)
Kemenymadar / Asvogel was performed 11 December in Orgelpark Amsterdam.