After being on the road for nearly two weeks, Johannes and I finished our tour at Le Poisson Rouge (NYC) last night. The crowd was really amazing and the venue was perfect for the work that we did on Stockhausen’s Tierkreis. For this concert, we incorporated re-conceptualized images of the zodiac signs (made by Rob Dietz) as we performed. While on the road we have tried presenting our rendition of the Tierkreis in a number of different ways. Most of the time we would perform them in either sets of two or three and explain a little bit about them beforehand. I thought yesterday’s take on the piece was the most successful because it allowed us to link together all the signs through images and it saved the interruption of speaking/explaining between signs. I hope that this provided a live aural experience that transported the audience to many different sound worlds.
While on the road, we got a lot of different feedback for the Tierkreis. Though not all of it was positive, I really appreciated the fact that most people haven’t made up their minds about this music. In playing new music there is always first time listeners and that dynamic makes the performance feel more alive. The idea of fulfilling an expectation is an odd one when it comes to playing new music because hopefully there is less formulaic ideas of what to expect!
Though Stockhausen can hardly be considered new music anymore, the Tierkreis are a very special set of pieces because they are open arrangements for any number of players and instruments. Every production of this piece is different depending on what the performers bring to the piece. It took us awhile to figure out what general aesthetic we wanted to have for our version, but I think we eventually found something that was found sound-based and a lot more improvised. Thanks to these set of pieces, Johannes and I were able to meet somewhere with our odd instrumentation (electric cello and toy piano) and create something that is unique to our musical output. With loose forms for each sign, I felt that we were sculpting sound live in concert. The concert will be streamed on Q2 WQXR so stay tuned!