Keeping things open — about open scores, graphic scores, game pieces, text scores and scores that include improvisation

Written by Teemu Mastovaara. 7.11.2019

On 8th October, Korvat Auki Ensemble, our composer-performer ensemble for improvisation and experimental compositions, held a concert in Vapaan taiteen tila focusing on open scores, game pieces, text scores and scores with improvisatory parts. We performed four pieces. One of them was Lauri Supponen’s Lukusalimusiikkia, a clear example of an open score: a piece which is not instrument specific, and instead the composer has specified the range of instruments. It is up to the ensemble to distribute the parts to certain players (definition from Howard Jones). The other three were my piece Preparing the best meal ever, a text score which instructs the players to collectively make an improvisation based on a recipe, Janne Kivistö’s Pesäpallo, a piece reminiscent of John Zorn’s Cobra (ca. 1984) but with a Finnish twist, and one more piece from Kivistö, Fuugan taito, which combines traditional notation followed by improvisation, and some theatrical aspects.

For me the most interesting part of being a musician and a composer in the concert was that it gave the chance to express so many sides of oneself musically, and to step outside one’s comfort zone. Especially Kivistö’s Fuugan taito, playing on “myötähäpeä”, shared sense of shame, felt quite unique in the context of serious contemporary music. During the following few paragraphs I will talk about some of to me the most interesting open scores, graphic scores, game pieces, text scores and scores that include improvisation, and in addition about composers who write pieces lacking definite dictation, and comment and talk a bit about my music in relation to these pieces.

Performance of Fuugan taito. (text continued below)

Earle Brown is one of the first pioneers of open form (see e.g. Clemens Gresser, “Earle Brown’s ‘Creative Ambiguity’ and Ideas of Co-creatorship in Selected Works”, Contemporary Music Review, 26/3 (2007), pp. 377–94.). The piece December 1952 is perhaps the most famous of his graphic scores. Graphic scores are scores which include no traditional notes (or are not centred around their common meanings), but instead graphical symbols. December 1952 works similarly: the score consists of different lines varying in direction, width and length, and this information is to be interpreted by the performer. Should long lines mean long notes and wide lines louder sounds? From where should I start playing the score? Players may interpret the score freely, but what differentiates the score, and any graphic scores, from pure improvisation, is that the player has something in visual form to focus on while performing the piece.

Another fantastic example of graphic scores is Mark Applebaum’s The Metaphysics of Notation, a loooong roll of paper (video versions also available) filled with graphical signs varying from numbers and letters to various concrete shapes (pieces of a puzzle, shields, flowers etc.). Being an extremely ambitious piece, it does give the player a lot of possibilities, and challenges to improvise and think outside one’s comfort zone. When the player is bombarded with a non-stop array of a myriad of graphical signs, one must think quickly and let their subconscious do the work. On the other hand, one could also choose just a part of the score and focus their improvisation on this part. In any case, the score contains almost infinite amount of material for the most imaginative interpretations.

Graphic scores may sometimes also go towards the direction of game pieces: pieces which are performed according to certain game-like rules, and the events following one another are not predetermined. The aforementioned John Zorn’s Cobra is an un-published piece which is a classic example of a game piece. The conductor shows the players different cards which guide the group improvisation. There are also rules which give the players the opportunity to discard these rules. All in all, a very complex and often a time chaotic piece with funny moments, as if one would be playing a game.

Performance of Pesäpallo (text continued below)

My take on graphic score game pieces (even if the events are quasi-predetermined) is I WANNA PLAY A BOARD GAME (2016). The piece is based on a board game map I drew and is meant to be performed by 3–6 bowed string instruments. It’s a piece which each player plays in their minds while performing, so in a way cheating is very easy (but not so fun). Ideally the players haven’t memorized the score, so they need to figure out in real-time the correct route to victory. The tension from not knowing how far exactly your opponents are makes the piece interesting, and the “I won!” at the end releases the tension in a fun way.

Teemu Mastovaara: I WANNA PLAY A BOARD GAME (2016)

Even if the composer writes traditional notes, the execution of rhythms can be left free. Jukka Tiensuu’s Rubato (1977) is a study in heterophony (music where a single melody line is simultaneously varied in other voices), where all players (any instruments) play the same melody, but they may, within certain rules, vary the rhythm quite freely. As such, it is a clear example of an open score. The piece from Lauri Supponen we played on 8th October, Lukusalimusiikkia, follows a similar approach, but has two melody-lines instead of one. The rhythm is somewhat slow, so the sounding result is more an everchanging harmonic texture than two melodies being varied by the players. Leif Segerstam in many of his symphonies writes also traditional notes but leaves the exact timing up to players or the leaders of sections. Segerstam’s scores are not open scores, because they do have a predetermined instrumentation. I do have to say that the sounding result of Tiensuu, Supponen and Segerstam’s pieces is very different from one another, but the approach does share a lot of similarities in how they handle rhythm. What I think is the strong point of the type of notation described in this paragraph, is that it gives the players better control of phrases when one is not restricted by a rigid tempo. A certain naturality is easier to achieve from the perspective of the player, while still having some melodic or harmonic material to lean on. The sounding result is a sort of fun out-of-phase fuzzy picture, or a colourful out-of-focus photograph.

Considering text scores (scores with only text), I think worth mentioning is Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Aus den Sieben Tagen (1968), a series of many text scores. Having performed Richtige Dauern, I think one of the most memorable moments of the performance was that the piece continued after we finished playing by the ventilation system that we all started listening to. The last score of Aus den Sieben Tagen, Goldstaub, instructs the performer to live completely alone for four days, basically without eating, without sleep, without outside noises and without movement. After the retreat the performer is instructed to play single sounds without putting any thought on it. A piece I’ve yet to see performed or performed myself, but as a rite something that I want to experience once in my life because of its extreme nature.

Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit (1964) is a collection of “event scores” (text scores which give instructions to different actions or events) ranging from pieces that tell you to leave a finished art work to be stepped on or to talk to a person until you think they are covered in imaginary snowflakes. Many of the pieces don’t as such describe musical activities but give everyday tasks musical forms. The surrealism of the scores is what I think makes them memorable, and makes you question e.g. the value of art and the power of one’s imagination.

My take on text scores, Preparing the best meal ever (2018/2019), the piece we played with Korvat Auki Ensemble, is a collaborative composition based on a text score I wrote, but the actual instructions are to be taken from a recipe of a healthy, ecological and tasty meal. The result ideally is a piece which is a combination of Foley sounds played on instruments and an abstract description of the inner worlds of the cooks preparing the meal. It may take a more unmusical, literal form, or have the recipe just inspire the musical improvisation. The reason I wrote the piece was to study how little and how undirect dictation the composer may give to still make an understandable score.

Performance of Preparing the Best Meal Ever (text continued below)

In a similar direction, but in a very different way, many years before I was born, is also a score I’m currently playing from Iancu Dumitrescu. The piece, Medium II (1971), is written as such in a traditional way, but doesn’t often give very clear explanations to how certain symbols or musical directions should be interpreted. Sometimes conflicting musical directions are given: in one place one should play both ben sonoro and mormorando. There are also three directions written in the score: senza arco, pizzicato and con dito, which all could mean the same thing. According to the composer, his goal often is to provoke the primitivity out of the performer by having a degree of difficulty in the contacts with musicians (Dumitrescu interviewed in Perfect Sound Forever, http://furious.com/perfect/iancu.html). The unclearness certainly provokes primitivity in my reactions and expression while playing his music, and makes it also fascinating for the listener listening to Dumitrescu’s music because they cannot expect what’s coming up next. I think the strength in Dumitrescu’s music lies in that he is self-conscious of its certain form of impossibility, he plays on this element, and this leads to very personal, deep, expression.

While there are many composers, scores and approaches left out of this blog post (everything pre-1900s for example), I hope this post has raised interest towards scores outside the domain of traditional notation. In my work as a composer I feel open forms on one hand give more room for thought and philosophy, and on the other hand responsibility to the player, which optimally gives the player more freedom and perhaps a possibility for more personal expression. As a performer I very much enjoy playing music with open form because I’m not tied to a rigid structure, but still have a structure to rely on when feeling not so focused. And, I think it’s so wonderfully exciting to get to know a person’s way of thinking when playing music from other people and explore the limits of your personality and musicianship outside traditional scores.

Teemu Mastovaara

The writer is a cellist and composer.

earconditioned

Writings in our blog about and around new music. Read also the other latest writings:

Korvat auki -podcast: Episode 1. Finn, Olli, Rolf & Þorkell. 15.10.2019

Finn Shields: “Writing for a Brass Quintet Was a Difficult and Rewarding Challenge, and Made Me Completely Rethink These Instruments I Thought I Was so Familiar With” 13.10.2019

Þorkell Nordal: “Harp, Brass and Surround Music” 9.10.2019


Tervetuloa Korvat auki ry:n syyskokoukseen ja jäseniltaan! // Welcome to autumn meeting and get-together of Korvat auki!

English below

Tervetuloa Korvat auki ry:n syyskokoukseen ja jäseniltaan! // Welcome to autumn meeting and get-together of Korvat auki! (english below)


Korvat auki ry:n virallinen syyskokous ja vapaamuotoinen jäsenten illanvietto pidetään sunnuntaina 17.11. klo 16 alkaen. Yhdistyksen kokous Rikhardinkadun kirjaston ryhmätilassa Aurora, illanvietto heti jälkeen läheisessä Ølhus Københavnissa (Kalevankatu 3). Tervetuloa kaikille yhdistyksemme jäsenille sekä toiminnasta kiinnostuneille uusille jäsenille!

Luvassa tietoa myös yhdistyksen vuonna 2020 järjestämästä konserttien sarjasta “Värähdyksiä”. Tilaa on vielä jäsentemme sävellyksille. Jos haluat ehdottaa musiikkiasi, tule ihmeessä paikalle tai kysy muuten lisää!


Klo 16-17 Yhdistyksen syyskokous. Yhdistyksen sääntömääräiset asiat, sekä vuoden 2020 konserttisarjan “Värähdyksiä” esittelyä. 

Klo 17-18 Sävellyspiiri. Kaikkia halukkaat voivat tuoda ja vapaassa tunelmassa esitellä esimerkiksi oma teoksensa, ajatuksensa tai muun puheenvuoron. Kaikki ovat tervetulleita osallistumaan keskusteluun.

Klo 18 jälkeen, illanvietto.  Ølhus København, Kalevankatu 3.

Yhdistys tarjoaa kokouspullana korvapuustit.

Korvat auki ry:n hallitus, info@korvatauki.net


*****Syyskokouksen asialista / Agenda:

  1. Kokouksen avaus
  2. Valitaan kokouksen puheenjohtaja, sihteeri, kaksi pöytäkirjantarkastajaa ja tarvittaessa kaksi ääntenlaskijaa.
  3. Todetaan kokouksen laillisuus ja päätösvaltaisuus.
  4. Hyväksytään kokouksen työjärjestys.
  5. Esitetään tilinpäätös, toimintakertomus ja toiminnantarkastajan lausunto. Linkki toimintakertomukseen ja tilinpäätökseen
  6. Päätetään tilinpäätöksen vahvistamisesta ja vastuuvapauden myöntämisestä hallitukselle ja muille vastuuvelvoillisille.
  7. Konsertit vuonna 2020. Sunnitelmien esittelyä ja keskustelua.
  8. Muut esille nousevat asiat.
  9. Kokouksen päättäminen.

The statutory autumn meeting of Korvat auki ry and an informal get together afterwards is held Sunday 17.11. at 16.00. The meeting is at Rikhardinkatu Library, Group Room Aurora, the get-together right afterwards nearby in Ølhus København (Kalevankatu 3).  Welcome to our members and all interested new members.

Discussion also on our series of concerts “Vibrations” taking place 2020. There’s still room for pieces by our members. If you wish to suggest your music feel free to join the meeting or ask more otherwise!


At 16-17 Autumn meeting. Statutory matters, and discussion on concert series “Vibrations” planned for next year.

At 17-18 Composition circle. All interested can bring and very informally share e.g. their piece, interesting idea or other topic. Everyone is welcome to take part the discussion.

After 18, Get-together. Ølhus København, Kalevankatu 3.


Discussion will be in English and Finnish as needed.

Korvapuusti buns for everyone.


Board of Korvat auki ry, info@korvatauki.net

NyNorsk Messingkvintett, Sean Bell & Liis Viira

Sunnuntai 20.10. Balderin sali

Teosesittelyt

Liis Viira: There are so many insects…

2019, lauluäänelle ja vaskikvintetille

teksti Jaan Kaplinski, kääntäneet Jaan Kaplinski ja Fiona Sampson

The idea behind this composition is to transform the composers role by collaborating with the musicians of NyNorsk Messingkvintett and by playing with the aleatoric tools – in this case special playing cards created for this work. Jaan Kaplinski’s poem “There are so many insects this summer” depicts an idle summer day in the poets garden, where the sensitivity and awareness of the surrounding sound world has risen to a level where listening takes over other senses.
Liis Viira

There are so many insects this summer.
As soon as you go into the garden
a buzzing swarm of flies besieges you.
The bumblebees are nesting in boxes you made for birds,
the wasps have made their nests in hazel bushes.
And sitting at your desk in the attic room
you constantly hear a buzzing, and don’t know
whether it’s the sound of bumblebees, wasps,
electric wires,
a plane in the skies, a car on the road,
or the voice of life itself wanting to tell you something
from the inside, from your inner self.

Jaan Kaplinski: There are so many insects this summer

Tänä kesänä on todella hyönteisiä.
Heti asteltuasi puutarhaan
olet surisevan kärpäsparven piirittämä.
Kimalaiset ovat pesineet nikkaroimiisi linnunpönttöihin,
ja ampiaiset tehneet pesiä pähkinäpensaisiin.
Istuessasi pöydän ääressä ullakkohuoneessa
kuulet alituisen surinan, tietämättä kuuluuko ääni
kimalaisille vai ampiaisille,
sähkölangoille,
lentokoneelle taivaalla, autolle tiellä,
vai itselleen elämälle, joka haluaa ilmaista jotakin
sisältäpäin, sisimmästä itsestäsi.

Suomennos, Arto Lappi

Tze Yeung Ho: Messe norvégienne profane

2019, kontratenorille, harpulle, vaskikvintetille, kaiuttimille ja yleisökuorolle

Written for and dedicated to Sean Bell, Liis Viira and Nynorsk messingkvintett, messe norvégienne profane (2019) is my attempt to reconcile my experiences in sitting through church sermons with a musical language derived from a text which reflects on the ritual from an irreligious perspective. In particular, the act of singing unfamiliar words of praise from the pews at the request of the pastor has inspired me to involve the audience in a way which reflects my experience of uncertainty. The text by Norwegian author Linda Gabrielsen, which emphasises on the element of doubt in belief, offers yet another layer to the questioning of this ritual.

Tze Yeung Ho

Nils Henrik Asheim: Hornflowers

2019, vaskikvintetille


In this piece, Nils Henrik Asheim wanted to avoid the compact, massive sound of a
brass ensemble by working with light, transparent material. He sketched out a series
of short, curved melodic patterns, mostly in a kind of augmented unison. The analogy
to hand-drawings of flowers came to his mind, and later in the process he chose to
pair the 22 musical episodes with specific plants from the Norwegian mountain flora.


The musicians read out the latin flower names during the performance, like a study
circle examinating the different categories of plants. But, more than being about
description of flowers in music, Hornflowers can be seen as celebrating the small but
important differences, the multitude and diversity of species.


Hornflowers is a commission from Nynorsk Brass Quintet, with support from the
Norwegian Cultural Fund, and was premiered in September 2019 in Bergen.

Þorkell Nordal: Circuit

2019 kantaesitys, harpulle ja vaskikvintetille

Lue Þorkellin haastattelu kappaleesta tästä.

Finn Shields: vaskikvintetto

2019 kantaesitys, vaskikvintetille

Lue Finnin haastattelu kappaleesta tästä.

Olli Moilanen: Rain Dance

2019 kantaesitys, vaskikvintetille

Esiintyjät

Sean Bell

Sean Bell, (1994-) countertenor, performs both early music, baroque and music from the classical epoque, as well as improvised music, contemporary music and re-arrangements. He also writes pop songs and has his own band. He works wih different ensembles, such as the ensemble +47, NyNorsk Messingkvintett, the chamber choir Ensemble 96, The Norwegian Soloist’s Choir, the vocal ensemble Oslo14 and his own vocal quintet Early Voices, which focuses on early music.

Sean Bell and NyNorsk Messingkvintett have worked together since 2017, having commissioned 5 works for countertenor and brass quintet by Norwegian composers.

Liis Viira

Liis Viira (b. April 7, 1983) is a composer, harpist, improviser and experimental animation maker. Her compositions are characterized by figurative thinking and translating the visual into music.

She has composed works for symphony orchestra, choir, big and small ensembles, vocalists and solo instruments. In addition to Estonia, Liis Viira’s works have been performed in Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Italy, USA and Austria. She has performed her compositions herself on harp and piano.

At present Liis Viira is a freelance composer and harpist. She is a member of
unique sounding ensemble Una Corda (three plucked string instruments: harp,
kannel and harpsichord) and participates in many other solo and chamber music
projects.

NyNorsk Messingkvintett

NyNorsk Messingkvintett is a Norwegian professional brass quintet founded in December. The members are Erlend Aagaard-Nilsen, who works as a trumpet player in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and Jørgen Arnesen, Daniel Kjellesvik, Ingebjørg Bruket and Berger Iver Færder, all freelancers who have worked in orchestras and ensembles all over Scandinavia the last decade. The ensemble primarily focuses on contemporary music and crossover projects, and since their debut in 2016 they have premiered 16 commissions of Norwegian composers such as Nils Henrik Asheim, Therese Birkelund Ulvo and Marcus Paus.

They have cooperated with various artists, such as the mezzosoprano Tora Augestad, the countertenor Sean Bell, the actor Ivar Nergaard and the percussion trio Pinquins. They have performed at the Only Connect Festival of Sound (Oslo 2018) Brasswind (Bergen 2017) and Egil Hovland-festivalen (Fredrikstad 2018) and will perform at the Bergen Kirkeautunnale (church music festival) autumn 2019. In October 2019 the ensemble will make its first international tour to Helsinki and Tallinn. NyNorsk Messingkvintett is currently recording their first CD at LAWO Classics, with works by the Norwegian composer Nils Henrik Asheim. The CD will be released in 2020.

Ingrid Eliassen, trumpet. (born 1983) Ingrid works as a trumpet teacher at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. The last years she has specialized herself on Norwegian music for trumpet, and has made many concerts as soloist and as a chamber musician. In 2018 she made a tour to the USA with Norwegian music for trumpet and piano, and autumn 2019 she will release a CD with new Norwegian works for trumpet and organ, together with organ player Bjørn Andor Drage.

Ingrid will join NyNorsk Messingkvintett as a substitute trumpet player (instead of regular player Erlend Aagaard-Nilsen) on their Baltic Tour in October 2019.

Jørgen Arnesen, trumpet. (born 1983) Jørgen studied classical trumpet with Kristian Steenstrup at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark, and with Jonas Haltia and Ole Edvard Antonsen at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. From 2012 to 2016 Jørgen held the position as co-principal trumpet player in the Västerås Sinfonietta in Sweden. He currently works as a freelance trumpet player in Oslo.

Daniel W. Kjellesvik, french horn. (born 1985) Daniel studied french horn with Frøydis Ree Wekre at the Norwegian Academy of music in Oslo and with Markus Maskuniitty at the Hochschule für Musik und Teater Hannover. Since 2007 he has worked as a freelancer and has had long-term employments in Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and The Norwegian Army Band North. The last years he has had regular short-term employments in The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, The Norwegian Opera and Ballet,Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, The Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, The Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Ensemble neon, The Arctic Sinfonietta, The Norwegian Air Force Band and The Royal Norwegian Navy Band. Daniel also works as a horn teacher at Norwegian summer academies for young wind players, and he also works as a composer.

Ingebjørg Bruket, trombone. (born 1983) studied with Professor Ingemar Roos at the
Norwegian Academy of Music. She works as a freelance trombonist and has had many long- term employments in orchestras as Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, (NO) Wermland Opera, (S) Aalborg Symphony Orchestra (DK) and Gävle Symphony Orchestra. (S) She has regularly short-term employments in orchestrasand ensembles like The Norwegian Opera and Ballett, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, The Oslo Philharmonic, Oslo Sinfonietta and Ensemble Ernst. She has been employed as jury member of several Norwegian competitions for young wind players and also works as a conductor and a trombone pedagogue.

Berger Iver Færder, tuba. (born 1983) Berger studied tuba with Jens Bjørn-Larsen at the Royal Danish Academy of music in Copenhagen and with Torbjørn Kvist at Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo. He also completed pedagogical studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He has worked as a freelancer since 2008, and has had several long-term employments in orchestras like the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, (DK) The South Jutland Symphony Orchestra, (DK) and Wermland Opera. (S) The last years he has recently had short-term employments in orchestras as The Norwegian Opera and Ballet, Stavanger Symphony Orcestra, The Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, Kristiansand Symphony Orchstra and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble. Berger also works as a tuba teacher at the St Hallvard College of Music in Drammen, Norway, and has given tuba lessons at the Music Academy in Tromsø.

Finn Shields: “Writing for a brass quintet was a difficult and rewarding challenge, and made me completely rethink these instruments I thought I was so familiar with”

Korvat auki is glad to invite NyNorsk Messingkvintett, a Norwegian brass quintet focused in new music, with countertenor Sean Bell and harpist Liis Viira to visit Helsinki this week! Three of our composers Olli Moilanen, Þorkell Nordal and Finn Shields got the opportunity to write new pieces for the quintet. Rolf Gustavson asked Finn about his piece and ideas of composition.

Finn Shields.

How did you get involved with Korvat auki and how did you end composing this upcoming piece for the NyNorsk Messingkvintett?

I got involved with Korvat auki soon after I arrived in Finland in Autumn 2018. I was not studying at the time so it was a good way to get involved with the musical life here. As soon as I heard about the call for scores with NyNorsk Messingkvintett I knew I’d want to apply – the chance to work with an interesting professional group was too much to resist!

Have you composed for brass instruments before and how did you find it writing for a brass quintet?

I have written extensively for brass in the context of larger ensembles, but never as a quintet. It was a difficult and rewarding challenge, and made me completely rethink these instruments I thought I was so familiar with. Aside from the practicalities of making sure everyone is playing in a comfortable register and getting enough air, the relative homogeneity of the timbre calls for very different solutions to compositional problems than would be appropriate for other chamber groups such as a woodwind quintet.

What’s the piece about and how did you approach composing it?

It’s hard for me to say what the piece is about, it certainly doesn’t have any extra-musical narrative to it. I composed it hoping that it would be fun for the players to perform, and hoping that it was not overwhelmingly challenging for either ensemble or listener. I like to think it has something to say.

What kind of music have you been listening too lately and does that music affect the way your composing right now?

Lately I’ve been listening to Sibelius, Janacek, Dvorak and Tiensuu. I think it’s possible this music affects my writing – these composers certainly have a propensity towards bright, brilliant textures I admire greatly.

Interview by Rolf Gustavson.

NyNorsk messingkvintett, Sean Bell & Liis Viira

Sunday 20.10. at 5 pm
Balderin sali, Helsinki

Event on FB.

Tickets at the door 15 / 10 €

Program
Nils Henrik Asheim: Hornflowers for brass quintet (2019)
Tze Yeung Ho: messe norvegienne profane for counter tenor, brass quintet, harp, speakers and audience
choir (2019)
Liis Viira: There are so many insects… for counter tenor and brass quintet (2019)
Þorkell Nordal: Circuit for harp and brass quintet (2019)
Olli Moilanen: Rain Dance for brass quintet (2019)
Finn Shields: Brass quintet (2019)

Þorkell Nordal: “harp, brass and surround music”

As part of our concert project with NyNorsk Messingkvintett, a Norwegian brass quintet focused in new music, Korvat auki composer Þorkell Nordal wrote a new piece “Circuit” for the quintet and a harpist. The piece will be premiered Sunday 20.10. in Balderin sali. Rolf Gustavson discussed the piece and Þorkell’s approach to the composition with him.

Thorkell Nordal is an Icelandic composer residing in Helsinki. His music can be described as tranquil soundscapes but with a strong structural undercurrents that drive the music forward

How did you get involved with Korvat auki and how did you end up composing this upcoming piece for the NyNorsk Messingkvintett?

I been aware about Korvat auki for a while and it was recommended for me as a composer residing in Finland that it would be good to join the organisation. I’ve been very happy to be part of Korvat auki – since I became a member I have been involved in very nice projects. When I saw the call for a piece for NyNorsk Messingkvintett with the possibility of using a harp I got excited to propose a piece. I think harp and brass quintet is a quite a rare combination so I decided to use the opportunity to write for this instrumentation.

Have you composed for brass instruments before and how did you find it writing for a brass quintet?

I’ve used the brass section in larger ensemble pieces and I made small arrangements for brass ensembles as a part of my studies but this is the first time I write a piece with focus on brass instruments. I would not have thought of this instrumentation myself but since there was this opportunity I just went for it to see where it would lead me. It was a very positive experience.

What’s the piece about and how did you approach composing it?

My initial idea was that I wanted to use the harp as some kind of centre in the piece and it ended up being literally a physical centre – I place the brass quintet around the hall while the harp is on the stage. The quintet resonates notes from the harp and lets them circulate around the audience.

Since the players are distributed in space it was practical to include some aleatoric elements in the notation of the piece. Accurate synchronisation in a metre might have been challenging when the players are far apart from each other. In the first part the harp has a written out passages and the quintet has to listen and play on cues from the harp. I am not looking for an exact alignment of events in time but rather I want the quintet to act as an organic reaction of the harp part, like a composed echo or reverberation. In the second part the harp kind of looses it’s status as a leader and the instruments react on cues that I have distributed with certain interval in time. When there is no leader the relationship between the harp and the other instruments takes on a more random form.

I heard you visited USA quite recently. Could you tell us more about trip and when is your next trip abroad going to take place?

Yes, I was in the USA but I wasn’t there as a composer. I am a member of a choir that sang with Björk in her multimedia spectacle Cornucopia that she staged in a new art centre in New York called The Shed. We did eight shows with her over a period of one month, it was very interesting experience to take part in this huge event. Björk is a creative force that knows how to lead different people together and make these wonderful happenings around her music. She is of course also an excellent composer and very powerful performer herself.

As a composer I have few performances coming up outside of Finland within the next few months, one piece for choir and percussion that will be premiered in Reykjavík in end of November and then I’m doing a collaboration with sound artist Tytti Arola and Sähkökitarakvartetti that will be presented in Finland, Iceland and Sweden.

If you’d have to describe your piece to the audience in three words. What would those words be?

It’s difficult for me to boil the piece down to a couple of words. If I needed to advertise the piece then I think I would mention harp, brass and surround. If you want to know more, come to the concert!

.

Interview by Rolf Gustavson.

NyNorsk messingkvintett, Sean Bell & Liis Viira

Sunday 20.10. at 5 pm
Balderin sali, Helsinki

Event on FB.

Tickets at the door 15 / 10 €

Program
Nils Henrik Asheim: Hornflowers for brass quintet (2019)
Tze Yeung Ho: messe norvegienne profane for counter tenor, brass quintet, harp, speakers and audience
choir (2019)
Liis Viira: There are so many insects… for counter tenor and brass quintet (2019)
Þorkell Nordal: Circuit for harp and brass quintet (2019)
Olli Moilanen: Rain Dance for brass quintet (2019)
Finn Shields: Brass quintet (2019)

Korvat auki teoshaku 2020 – Call for works 2020

For English see below

Teoskutsu: Värähdyksiä – Mitä tarkoittaa taiteiden rinnakkaiselo 2020-luvulla?

Linkki ehdotusten lähettämiseen.

Korvat auki hakee teoksia ja teoskonsepteja ensi keväänä alkavaan monitaiteelliseen konserttisarjaansa ”Värähdyksiä”. Sarjan keskeisenä teemana on musiikin ja muiden taidemuotojen rinnakkaiselo, joka synnyttää sekä uusia monimediallisia teoksia että konteksteja yhden ilmaisumuodon teosten kokemiseen. Konserttisarjaan haetaan sekä musiikkiteoksia, että muiden alojen teoksia (esim. visuaalisia teoksia, ääniteoksia, esityksiä, tekstejä) esitettäväksi rinnakkain musiikkiteosten kanssa.

Teossarja muodostaa usean konsertin jatkumon, jossa jokaisella konsertilla on oma teemansa ja painopisteensä. Korvat auki -yhdistyksen konserttityöryhmä muodostaa konserttikokonaisuudet ja teemat sekä valitsee teokset saapuneiden teosehdotusten pohjalta. Mitään ennakkokriteerejä teosten tematiikalle ei vielä hakuvaiheessa ole. Kannustamme omaperäisiin ehdotuksiin, joissa musiikkia ja ympäröivää todellisuutta tarkastellaan rinnakkain ennakkoluulottomasti.

Teoshakuun osallistuminen:

  • Teosehdotuksia voi lähettää alla olevan linkin kautta.
  • Teosehdotuksessa pyydämme toimittamaan esim. partituurin, äänitteen, dokumentaation tai muun kuvauksen teoksesta, ilmoittamaan teoksen tekemiseen osallistuneet tai osallistuvat taiteilijat ja lyhyesti kommentoimaan teoksen suhdetta konserttisarjan teemaan.
  • Kannustamme myös puhtaasti yhden ilmaismuodon teosten ehdottamiseen, voit tällöin vapaasti luonnehtia myös mahdollista yhteyttä tai kontekstia, jossa teos mielestäsi toimisi kiinnostavasti.
  • Kaikkien ehdotusten ei tarvitse sisältää musiikkia. Mikäli teos ei sisällä musiikkia, kuvaile mahdollista musiikillista kontekstia, jossa teos mielestäsi toimisi kiinnostavasti.

  • Teoshakuun voi osallistua jo olemassa olevilla teoksilla tai ehdotuksella uusista teoskonsepteista.
  • Teoshakuun voivat osallistua sekä säveltäjät, muusikot ja äänitaiteilijat kuin muiden alojen taiteilijat.
  • Teoshaku on avoin Korvat auki ry:n jäsenille, jotka ovat maksaneet jäsenmaksun kaudella 2019-2020 (katso ohjeet jäseneksi liittymisestä: https://korvatauki.net/liity-jaseneksi/). Hakuun osallistuvissa työpareissa tai työryhmissä tulee olla vähintään yksi Korvat auki ry:n jäsen.

Linkki ehdotusten lähettämiseen

Teoshaun aika: 23.9.2019 – 20.10.2019

Annamme mielellämme lisätietoa! info@korvatauki.net


Call for scores: Vibrations – What is coexistence of arts in the 2020’s?

Link to the submission form

Korvat auki welcomes suggestions of works and concepts of works for our multimedial concert series “Vibrations” beginning in spring 2020. The central theme of the series is coexistence of music and other forms of art. The series will both give rise to new multimedial works of art and a context for experience of works of one medium. We are looking for both musical works and works in other mediums (visual works, sound works, performances, literary works) to be performed side by side with the music.

The concert series will form a continuum of several concerts, each concert having its own theme and focus. The Korvat auki team will plan the concerts and themes according the suggested works. During the call for scores there is no predetermined themes for the pieces yet. We encourage for bold suggestions open-mindedly observing music and the surrounding realities.

Sending submissions:

  • Suggestions can be sent with the submission form linked below.
  • In your suggestion please provide for example a score, recording, documentation or other description of your suggestion and list all participating artists. Please also give a short comment about the works relation to the theme of the series.
  • We also encourage suggestions for works in one medium, in this case please freely suggest an interesting context for the piece.
  • All of the suggestions don’t need to include music. If the work doesn’t include music, please freely give some ideas about an interesting musical context for the work.

  • The call for scores can be applied for with already existing works or works in progress or concepts for a new work.
  • The call is open for composers, musicians and sound artist as well as artists of other mediums.
  • The call is open for Korvat auki members who have paid the membership fee for season 2019-2020 (read more on membership here: https://korvatauki.net/liity-jaseneksi/). The working pairs of groups applying for the call should include at least one member of Korvat auki.

Link to the submission form

The call is open 23.9.2019 – 20.10.2019.

We’re happy to give more information and answer questions. Please contact us at info@korvatauki.net.

NyNorsk Messingkvintett -yhtye vierailee lokakuussa Helsingissä // NyNorsk Messingkvintett, a Norwegian contemporary music brass quintet, performs in Helsinki in October.

for english see here

NyNorsk Messingkvintett, kontratenori Sean Bell ja harpisti Liis Viira konsertoivat Helsingissä lokakuussa.

Norjalainen nykymusiikkiin erikoistunut vaskikvintetti NyNorsk Messingkvintett saapuu esiintymään Helsingissä Balderin salissa sunnuntaina 20.10. Korvat auki -yhdistyksen konserttisarjassa. Yhtyeen kanssa konsertissa esiintyvät kontratenori Sean Bell, sekä harpisti ja säveltäjä Liis Viira.


Konsertissa kuullaan kantaesityksinä Korvat auki -yhdistyksen säveltäjien teoksia, Olli Moilasen ”Rain Dance”, Þorkell Nordalin ”Circuit” ja Finn Shieldsin vaskikvintetto. Yhtye esittää lisäksi pohjoismaisten säveltäjien sille säveltämää musiikkia, Tze Yeung Hon ”messe norvegienne profane” sekä Liis Viiran ”There are so many insects…”, sekä Nils Henrik Asheimin ”Hornflowers”.

NyNorsk Messingkvintett on norjalainen 2015 perustettu vaskikvintetti, joka keskittyy nykymusiikkiin ja cross over -projekteihin. Toimintansa aikana se on tilannut ja kantaesittänyt 16 norjalaisten säveltäjien uutta teosta, sekä mm. järjestänyt norjan ensiesitykset Gerard Griseyn ja James Tenneyn teoksista.
Yhtyeen jäsenet ovat norjalaisia orkesterimuusikoita ja freelancereita. Konsertissa yhtyeessä soittavat Ingrid Eliassen ja Jørgen Arnesen (trumpetti), Daniel W. Kjellesvik (käyrätorvi), Ingebjørg Bruket (pasuuna) ja Berger Iver Færder (tuuba). Tällä hetkellä yhtye äänittää 2020 julkaistavaa ensialbumia, Nils Henrik Asheimin vaskimusiikin levytystä.

Kontratenori Sean Bell on työskennellyt kvintetin kanssa vuodesta 2017 esittäen uusia teoksia kontratenorille ja vaskikvintetille. Bell esittää vanhaa musiikkia, barokkia ja klassista ohjelmistoa, kuin myös improvisoitua musiikkia ja uutta musiikkia. Virolaislähtöinen Liis Viira on säveltäjä, harpisti, improvisoija. Viira on myös kokeellisen animaation tekijä, ja taiteellisessa työssään hyödyntää sekä visuaalisia että musiikillisia piirteitä.

Konsertin järjestämistä tukee Suomalais-Norjalainen kulttuurirahasto.

NyNorsk Messingkvintett, Sean Bell & Liisa Viira, SU 20.10. klo 17, Balderin sali, Helsinki

Ohjelma:
Nils Henrik Asheim: Hornflowers for brass quintet (2019)

Tze Yeung Ho: messe norvegienne profane for counter tenor, brass quintet, harp, speakers and audience choir (2019)

Liis Viira: There are so many insects… for counter tenor and brass quintet (2019)

Þorkell Nordal: Circuit for harp and brass quintet (2019)

Olli Moilanen: Rain Dance for brass quintet (2019)

Finn Shields: Brass quintet (2019)

Liput 15 / 10 €

Valokuvat yhtyeestä medialle:

Kuva 1: NyNorsk Messingkvintett, kontratenori Sean Bell ja harpisti Liis Viira konsertoivat Helsingissä lokakuussa.

Kuva 2: NyNorsk Messingkvintettin muusikot.

Kuva 3: NyNorsk Messingkvintett säveltäjä Tze Yeung Hon kanssa.

Kuva 4: Kontratenori Sean Bell esiintyy konsertissa yhdessä kvintetin kanssa.

Lisätiedot:
info@korvatauki.net
Korvat auki ry, Janne Kivistö 050 549 1000

Lisää tietoa esiintyjistä ja säveltäjistä:
https://www.nynorskmessingkvintett.com/
https://www.thorkell-nordal.com/
https://www.tzeyeungho.com/
https://nilshenrikasheim.no/

Korvat auki ry on Suomessa toimivien nuorten säveltäjien, nykymusiikkia esittävien muusikoiden ja muiden nykymusiikin ystävien yhdistys. Korvat auki saattaa konserteissaan jäsentensä musiikkia kuuluville ja tarjoaa alustan jäsentensä uusille, omaperäisille ja vakiintuneita käytäntöjä kyseenalaistaville taiteellisille ideoille. Yhdistyksen perustivat vuonna 1977 nuoret sävellyksenopiskelijat, jotka olivat tyytymättömiä suomalaisen musiikkielämän umpeutuneisuuteen.

Yhdistyksen aktiivitoimijoiden joukko on jatkuvasti uusiutunut, ja käsittänyt kulloinkin nuoren säveltäjä–muusikko -sukupolven tekijöitä, joista jokainen sukupolvi on tuonut toimintaan oman henkensä ja tavoitteensa. Yhdistys järjestää vuosittain noin 10 konserttia ja nykymusiikkitapahtumaa, tunnustellen jatkuvasti uusia kuulokulmia ja uudenalaisia yhteistyömahdollisuuksia.

Korvat auki -yhdistyksen konserteissa syksyllä 2019 kuullaan vaskikvintettiä, improvisatorisia keinoja ja uusia sävellyksiä

Music for brass quintet, improvisation, and new works will be heard in the concerts of Korvat auki during autumn 2019

for English see below

NyNorsk Messingkvintett, kontratenori Sean Bell ja harpisti Liis Viira konsertoivat Helsingissä lokakuussa.

Korvat auki -yhdistyksen konserttisarjassa Helsingissä syksyllä 2019 kuullaan yhdistyksen säveltäjien uusia teoksia sekä myös pohjoismaisia vierailijoita.

Konsertteihimme on vapaa pääsy yhdistyksemme kannatusjäsenillä sekä jäsenillämme. Lue lisää: https://korvatauki.net/kannatus/

Tiistai 8.10. klo 20, Vapaan Taiteen Tila

Korvat Auki Ensemble: Open ears, open scores

Open score -termillä voidaan viitata sävellyksiin, jotka eivät ole jäykän konserttimusiikin tradition mukaisesti läpisävellettyjä kokonaisuuksia tietylle soitinkokoonpanolle, vaan samoja partituureja voidaan soittaa usealla eri soitinkokoonpanolla, teoksen osasia useassa eri järjestyksessä tai säveltäjän kirjoittamaa notaatiota tulkita usealla tasavertaisella tavalla. 

Syksyn ensimmäisessä konsertissamme improvisoidun ja kokeellisen musiikin yhtyeemme Korvat Auki Ensemble esittää open score -käytäntöön liittyviä ja ei-perinteisiä keinoja keinoja hyödyntävää musiikkia. 

Vapaa pääsy kaikille!

Sunnuntai 20.10. klo 17, Balderin Sali

NyNorsk Messingkvintett, Sean Bell & Liisa Viira

Norjalainen nykymusiikkiin erikoistunut vaskikvintetti NyNorsk Messingkvintett saapuu esiintymään Helsingissä Balderin salissa sunnuntaina 20.10. Korvat auki -yhdistyksen konserttisarjassa. Yhtyeen kanssa konsertissa esiintyvät kontratenori Sean Bell, sekä harpisti ja säveltäjä Liis Viira. 

Konsertissa kuullaan kantaesityksinä Korvat auki -yhdistyksen säveltäjien teoksia, Olli Moilaselta, Þorkell Nordalilta ja Finn Shieldsiltä. Yhtye esittää lisäksi pohjoismaisten säveltäjien sille säveltämää musiikkia, Tze Yeung Holta, Liis Viiralta, sekä Nils Henrik Asheimilta.

Liput 15 € / 10 € ovelta.

Konsertin järjestämistä tukee Suomalais-Norjalainen kulttuurirahasto.

Ohjelma:

Þorkell Nordal: Circuit for harp and brass quintet (2019)

Olli Moilanen: Rain Dance for brass quintet (2019)

Finn Shields: Brass quintet (2019)

Nils Henrik Asheim: Hornflowers for brass quintet (2019)

Tze Yeung Ho: messe norvegienne profane for counter tenor, brass quintet, harp, speakers and audience choir (2019)

Liis Viira: There are so many insects… for counter tenor and brass quintet (2019)

Joulukuu, aika ja paikka ilmoitetaan pian!

Syksyn sävellyskonsertti

Sävellyskonserttimme tarjoavat foorumin jäsentemme monenlaisten uusien teosten esittämiseen. Julkaisemme syyskonsertin ohjelman ja tarkemmat tiedot lokakuun aikana! 

Lue lisää konsertin teoshausta: https://korvatauki.net/teoshaku2019/

Lisää tietoa konserteista: 

info@korvatauki.net

*******************************

Korvat auki concerts – Autumn 2019


The concert series of autumn 2019 by Korvat auki will feature new works by Korvat auki composers as well as Nordic visitors. Concerts held in Helsinki will feature performers such as Korvat Auki Ensemble and NyNorsk Messingkvintett.

There’s free admission to all concerts for our regular and support members. Read more about it at
https://korvatauki.net/kannatus/

Tuesday 8.10 at 20.00, Vapaan Taiteen Tila
Korvat Auki Ensemble: Open ears, open scores


The term ”Open score” can refer to compositions which aren’t necessarily through-composed works for a fixed ensemble, but instead, the same scores can be performed in a multitude of ways by altering the performing ensemble, order of movements or sections, or by interpreting the score in various equal ways.

In the autumn’s first concert, our very own Korvat Auki Ensemble specialized in improvised and experimental music will perform open score -related pieces and music utilizing non-traditional means.


Free admission for all!


Sunday 20.10. at 17.00, Balderin Sali Hall
NyNorsk Messingkvintett, Sean Bell & Liisa Viira


The Norwegian brass quintet NyNorsk Messingkvintett, specialized in contemporary classical music, will be performing in Helsinki at the Balderin Sali Hall on Sunday 20.10. as a part of the concert series by Korvat auki. Alongside the ensemble, countertenor Sean Bell and harpist, composer Liis Viira will be performing.


New works by Korvat auki composers Olli Moilanen, Þorkell Nordal and Finn Shields will be performed at the concert. The quintet will also be performing works written specifically for them by Nordic composers Tze Yeung Ho, Liis Viira and Nils Henrik Asheim.


Admission 15€/10€.
The concert is supported by the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Foundation.

Program:


Þorkell Nordal: Circuit for harp and brass quintet (2019)

Olli Moilanen: Rain Dance for brass quintet (2019)

Finn Shields: Brass quintet (2019)

Nils Henrik Asheim: Hornflowers for brass quintet (2019)

Tze Yeung Ho: messe norvegienne profane for countertenor, brass quintet, harp, speakers and audience choir (2019)

Liis Viira: There are so many insects… for countertenor and brass quintet (2019)

December, time and place will be announced shortly!
The autumn composition concert

Our seasonal composition concerts offer a low-threshold forum for performing new and existing works of all kinds by our members. The program and more information about the concert will be published during October!

Read more about the call for scores at https://korvatauki.net/teoshaku2019/

More information about the concerts:

info@korvatauki.net


Teoshakuja syksylle 2019 / Calls for works Autumn 2019

(For English see below)

Teoshaut ovat avoimia Korvat auki -jäsenille, jotka ovat maksaneet kauden jäsenmaksun. Lue lisää jäseneksi liittymisestä:
http://korvatauki.net/liity-jaseneksi/

Teoskutsu open score -kappaleille (Korvat Auki Ensemble)

8.10. (Vapaan Taiteen Tila, Helsinki) järjestämme konsertin, jossa Korvat Auki Ensemble esittää yhdistyksen säveltäjien open score -käytäntöön liittyviä teoksia. Hakuun pyydetään lähettämään open score -teoksia, jotka esimerkiksi:

  • on sävelletty avoimelle tai vaihtelevalle kokoonpanolle
  • sisältävät improvisaatiota tai improvisaatioon liittyviä tekniikoita, tai ovat muodoltaan tai rakenteeltaan avoimia
  • sisältävät esimerkiksi graafista notaatiota, sanallisia ohjeita tai muita ei-perinteisiä keinoja
  • joillakin muilla tavoin liittyvät säveltäjä–esittäjä -hierarkian tarkastelemiseen tai kokonaisvaltaisen muusikkouden toteuttamiseen.

Konsertissa on käytettävissä n. 5 KAE:n muusikkoa, mutta kokoonpano on joustava tarpeen mukaan. Korvat Auki Ensemble järjestää ennen konserttia harjoitussession, jossa teoksia voidaan työstää säveltäjien kanssa.

Lisää tietoa hausta ja konsertista on luvassa elokuussa. Teoskutsun takaraja on 25.8.2019. Lisätietoja voi kysyä, sekä alustavia teosideoita jättää jo nyt sähköpostilla info@korvatauki.net.

Syksyn sävellyskonsertti

Kausikonserttimme ovat matalan kynnyksen tapahtumia jäsentemme monenlaisten uusien teoksien esittämiseen. Kausikonserteissa periaatteena on, että jokainen säveltäjä huolehtii itse esittäjät teoksilleen ja yhdistys huolehtii muista yleisistä konserttijärjestelyistä. Tarvittaessa konsertin järjestäjät auttavat mielellään sopivien esittäjien etsimisessä.

Syksyn sävellyskonsertti järjestetään marraskuun lopussa. Ehdota mukaan kappalettasi tai useampaa vaihtoehtoista kappaletta. Konsertin teoskutsun takaraja on 30.9. Tarkempaa tietoa hausta ja konsertista on luvassa elokuussa. Lisätietoja voi kysyä, sekä alustavia teosideoita jättää jo nyt sähköpostilla info@korvatauki.net.

Coming concerts of Korvat auki in autumn 2019. The calls are open for members of Korvat auki, who have paid their membership fee. Read more on membership:
http://korvatauki.net/liity-jaseneksi/

Call for open score works (Korvat auki Ensemble)

Ocotber 8 (in Vapaan Taiteen Tila, Helsinki) a concert of “open score” compositions performed by Korvat Auki Ensemble takes place. For the concert works related to the open score practice are wished for. For example the pieces can:

  • be composed for an open or flexible instrumentation
  • contain improvisation or related techniques, or have an open form
  • contain graphic notation, verbal instructions or other non-traditional techniques
  • adress in some other way the composer–performer hierarchy or a holistic approach to musicianship.

About 5 musicians of Korvat Auki Ensemble are available for the concert, but the ensemble can be flexible as needed. Korvat Auki Ensemble will have a rehearsal session before the concert to work on the pieces with the composers.

More information about the call and concert coming up in August. The deadline for the call is August 25th. For more information and for preliminary piece suggestions please contact info@korvatauki.net.

Autumn composition concert

Our seasonal concerts are low-threshold opportunities for performances of new pieces by our members. In these concerts the principle is, that each composer is responsible for arranging performers for the works and Korvat auki takes care of general concert arrangements. When needed the concert producers will gladly help with finding suitable performers.

The autumn concert is held near the end of November. Please suggest your work or several alternative works. The deadline for the call is September 30th. For more information and for preliminary piece suggestions please contact info@korvatauki.net.