Plainsound Glissando Modulation
2009 release. 'Raga in just intonation for violin and double bass.' As I continued work on Plainsound Glissando Modulation it soon turned into an adventure lacking any clear conclusion, not really par for the course when it comes to New Music. The genre demands utmost patience and an ability to deal with one's own deficiencies. The fragile nature of the musical material would seem at first to lead to a plethora of apparently insoluble technical problems, but soon engenders a sense of increased sensitivity to instrumental techniques and heightened auditory capacity. As for the rehearsals, they turned out to be exercises in slowness. New intervals and chords immediately became incredibly seductive, as did the increasingly voluptuous -- in my experience at least -- difference tones and unison partials. The basis for the extended techniques in use was researched with unbelievable meticulousness and thus wholly convincing from the outset: actually, it 'should' all work out. Next, the search for the appropriate intervals, without prodding around in atonal space--the aim was to initiate an ongoing process of locating and integrating sounds, coupled with the aha-effect of course, plus liberal dashes of palpitation and pure fascination. It always was the sounds themselves which were in the right -- the task was simply not to stand in their way. Pure intervals are in any case the best ones, in every kind of music, and here it was possible to meet up with a few good friends again, the intervals containing the overtones numbered 7, 11, 13, 17 and 19. It its intransigence, Plainsound Glissando Modulation offers the two players both a strict schooling in matters of intonation and a salutary repercussion where classical performing techniques are concerned. This is where it differs from many pieces of New Music. What unfolds is an extended and continuous spectrum of expression: from blooming consonances to sounds that will always become increasingly grainy, from biting dissonances to zones more resembling noise. Both parts make previously undreamt of technical demands on the performers. The idea of glissando modulation helped Wolfgang von Schweinitz to distance himself from the principle of defined scales and pitch arrays; the composer favored now a more flexible layout of related overtone series in that he drew on the primary principle of harmonic modulation in which one arrives at one point from the next. Thus, for example, overtone no. 5 in one sound could become no. 11 in the next one. If, then, the music modulates in this way, there appear significant aberrations from the traditional universe of tempered tuning using twelve degrees. In principle, the reservoir of notes is unlimited. Just intonation reveals softer, more moving consonances, but also more intense dissonances than the ones admitted by earlier and non-tonal interpretations of tempered tuning. What we are dealing with here is the very first functional system of microtonality to have been thoroughly thought out. Within this scheme, consonance and dissonance no longer appear as opposites: as one complements the other. Performed by Helge Slaatto (violin) and Frank Reinecke (double bass).