“A composer finds sounds and uses them. He does not invent them”(Riccardo Piacentini)
“ We have to find a uniformity in writing for contemporary music, a notation common to everyone” (Viola , singer)
“You have to understand that there are limitations to what we can do”(choir member)
“ As soon as a common notation exists for it, a sound is no longer new” (Darija Andovska)
June 8 & June 9 , Poland
More than ever before, the MusMA atelier 2013 , hosted by Festival Wratislavia Cantans in the beautiful city of Wroclaw, has proven its use to its participants.
In 7 intense sessions, our young MusMA composers were confronted with the interpretation of their works by the talented singers of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir and their principal conductor Agnieszka Franków-Zelazny. These interpretations were not always the way they pictured their pieces to be performed, which sometimes lead to emotional discussions.
After a warm welcome hosted by Maestro Andrzej Kosendiak (director Wratislavia Cantans) the previous evening, local MusMA coordinator Piotr Turkiewicz opened the atelier on Friday morning with a brief introduction of the moderator Paul Preusser, guitarist and composer himself. A devoted Paul had enthusiastically prepared for his assignment by getting in touch with the composers weeks before and studying the scores in detail.
The next 2 days, he guided the public and artists during 7 workshops in which the new pieces written for voice where all thoroughly dissected in terms of inspiration, structure, musicality, emotions, comprehension of notation, sound and meaning.
Why is Agata Zubel’s piece a Lullaby when it contains so many crescendi? What are the emotions behind the special effects Darija Andovska has integrated in her Aporia Apeiron and is this not rather a piece for 16 voices because of the difficulties the singers have when they have to combine these percussion movements with their singing? How can voices be spared better by entering more chaos in the performance of Ana Ngjatovic’ Balance Lost ? How can Franck Bovet’s Yggdrasil sound more flowing without it losing the intended contrasts (runes <-> spring of water). Yigit Aydin’s Friends of God, clearly capturing his sense of humour, raised the question about his own relationship to God and how it is translated in his piece.
During Ana Gnjatovic’ workshop at about 12 am, MusMA went live on Serbian Radio (RTS), the very loyal associated partner of the Serbian Belgrade Music Festival, who has never missed a MusMA atelier.
At the end of day one, the participants were treated to a recapitulative of last year’s MusMA piece for percussion at the Wroclaw Philharmonic Hall, where former MusMA composer for Wratislavia Cantans Dobromiła Jaskot was the honorary guest for the performance of her Himah, and also Mateusz Ryczek , MusMA composer in2011, joined a fascinated public.
The second day, the choir and Agnieszka worked with Frederik Neyrinck on his rather dark Quasi Palindrom II , inspired by elements at a war cemetery in Flanders Fields (cfr programme notes) after which – the contrast could not be bigger- a very warm and talkative Riccardo Piacentini explained his use of foto-suoni and gratefully accepted the choirs input on his hymn to the universe of happiness Così parlò Beatrice.
The voice is clearly the most powerful and complex of instruments, which even the impressive range of percussion instruments used in 2012 , some of which self-made , cannot compete with. The emotions that need to be called upon by the artist and conductor, and which are reflected by the sound they produce, are more real than with any other instruments. This atelier has clearly shown the composer should be aware of this in his/her notation and extensive programme notes with both information about emotions and clear guidelines for notation are a necessity to the performer.
After the 7 workshops, a panel discussion was held looking back on the sessions. The views of the composer and the performer both received equal attention. The main subject was how to go about writing new music for voice, what to consider when writing compositions with new sounds for which no notation exists in order to make it possible for the artist to perform. Agata Zubel, a soprano herself, can see things from both sides and was a valuable participant in the discussion. When a score is not clear, the artist will be less willing to perform the piece so a composer should do his best to deliver an understandable score. On the other hand, a musician might need to put some work in to learning the guidelines to a difficult score and see it as a challenge. For new sounds it is highly recommended to attach some recordings to the scores . Yigit Aydin sent recordings to the choir 2 weeks before the atelier and this paid off with an immaculate performance at the end of his workshop.
Riccardo Piacentini made the remark composers can choose to write “not so very clear” and leave the performance at liberty of the artist. Most of the participants conclude that the challenge is in finding uniformity in writing contemporary music!
Advice to the composer: deliver something that looks good!
The afternoon of day 2 was devoted to rehearsals of choir and composers for the evening concert at the beautiful Ossolineum , while festival-directors discussed future activities and expansion of this wonderful project.The MusMA concert “Man and Music” , held on Saturday night by the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir for a full hall with an interested audience, was a success. The rehearsals clearly paid off beautifully.
It was recorded and broadcasted by the Polish National Radio and can be obtained via the European Broadcasting Union.
We thank International Festival Wratislavia Cantans for the splendid organisation of the atelier, we congratulate the composers on their pieces and we applaud the talented participants Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir and Agnieszka Franków-Zelazny for their hard work and devotion.