perc(1):guiro/2tamb/3tom-t/sm SD/TD/2timbales/BD/tgl/cast/2susp.cym(sm,lg)/hi-hat/2thai gong/3tam-t/sistrum/carton/piece of paper/bunch of keys/2alarm clocks/2lg crystal glasses/wine glass/3teaspoons/plastic bin/wooden stick/small book/music box/500 grains of rice/small metronome/egg timer-tape
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Allegro ma non troppo was produced in the Electronic Studio of the Technical University of Berlin in the winter of 1993–94 and was commissioned on the occasion of their long-time director Folkmar Hein’s 50th birthday. The premiere of the first purely electro-acoustic version took place in 1994 at the Berlin Inventionen Festival for New Music. The extended version for percussion and tape was premiered – again at the Inventionen Festival – by Thierry Miroglio in the summer of 1998.
This work is a piece of musique concrète whose original materials consisted of sounds of silk paper, clocks, drops of water and various percussion instruments that were recorded with the help of the percussionist Kyungsoo Kim. These sounds went through a great many transformations and much overdubbing. With that I tried, among other things, to achieve the smoothest possible transitions from one colour to the next.
In the version for percussion and tape, the part of the live performer and the electronic sounds are forged into one super-instrument. Furthermore, one can look upon the live version as performance art in which the musical material of the tape is being brought to life and made concrete by the stage actions of the percussionist: the player becomes engaged in a surreal dialogue with the virtual percussionist. In this ‘musical ceremony’ the percussionist makes use not only of standard instruments, but of everyday objects as well.
Allegro ma non troppo plays with the perception of musical time which manifests itself in various ways, including the percussionist’s performance itself. The large–scale structure consists of four parts that are differentiated by timbre and at the same time form a giant arc.
Unsuk Chin 2017
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer