2010: Tristan Time Space Continuum - LOVEGAME, for Trio, »Der Sommer in Stuttgart« mit Musik der Jahrhunderte.
Trombone, Trumpet, Cello, Actors 1 & 2, Pianist with mobile phone and Percussionist with mobile phone and toy gun, 2 video mobile phone devices, computer + soundcard (provided by composer), 4 microphones (provided by Schloss Solitude), 2 – 4 loudspeakers (provided by Schloss Solitude).
This is a Love Game in parallel time dimensions. Whilst the Tristan chord is played and slides in a downward spiral in pitch at an excruciating slow tempo, milliseconds of the sound being fed into a feedback reverb FREEZE function that create a lingering and swelling cloud of sound, two lovers run towards each other through the woods and garden of Schloss Solitude. It’s a race towards their union. They are required to achieve the impossible and push their bodies faster than what they are seemingly capable of. Only the power of true love and adrenalin can help them make it in time.
This happens ‘in visual silence’ as they are out of sight from the audience who sits in the concert hall. Only later evidence of it’s past might be found on Youtube.
What is heard is a slow beautiful drone-like descent as the Tristan chord is continued throughout the duration of this performance.
Instructions: Cello: choose two notes of the Tristan chord Trombone & trumpet: choose the remainder 2 notes. Have the order and voicing exactly as it appears in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in the first phrase. Pianist has a cell phone, never touches piano notes. Percussionist has a cell phone and toy gun, stands by window of concert hall. Two actors are in the woods of Schloss Solitude. Starting points: One is coming from the woods above and one is coming from the woods/grass below the Schloss. Ending point is underneath the Schloss. (See image).
Actors: During the rehearsal the actors have to time how far they can run in 2min. The idea is that Actor 1 and Actor 2 run towards each other, symbolizing two lovers’ desire for each other. They run as fast as they can. Whilst running they also have to hold out a cheap phone video camera and TRY to capture their facial expression as they run.
This is a LOVE GAME. If they can reach each other in time, within two minutes, love will flourish in Stuttgart. However, after they have timed their top distance that they can run, the cruel composer’s instruction is that they have to add another 5metres to the length making it ‘impossible’. Will they reach each other in time? When they approach the middle meeting points they can start screaming each other’s names. After the concert they post it to Youtube.
Trio: Over 120 seconds fade in from mp on the Tristan chord, (chosen notes), swell to mf, fade to piano (listen to each other to be in synch) and disappear.
At the same time in pitch, over the same 120 seconds, all together slide the Tristan chord downwards in a microscopic microtonal style. Listen to each other to go slightly in and out of sync. Follow the most appealing curve downwards in terms of how slowly in pitch you change. If one goes faster, the others might try catch up or the fastest one might try slow down and wait for them. Go as slow as one semitone slide in 30seconds, or if passion so inspire as fast as sliding a whole octave in 30sec.
As a collective, you follow a virtual curve of sliding downwards. There is no conductor for this piece so it is about you listening to each other. Except for the beginning and end there is also no eye contact, please play with closed eyes if possible. Thee trombone and trumpet need to overlap their breathing so that the points at which one breathes the other is in the middle of his breath/blow. So in the middle of the initial first note, one will fade out quicker to inhale so that that one can be sounding when the other needs breathing. Try to sound as one, no abrupt changes, going into airy sound at the end of the note and coming in really softly and airy and then smoothly overlapping with the other player on the pitch where the other is.
The cello should try and make his tones sound as uninterrupted (or ‘unbowed’) as possible. Play each new bow with the smoothest possible transition. Also make your middle of bow be at a different point of flow than the rhythm of the Trombone/Trumpet ebb and flow. Sound as ONE CHORD that slides downward in pitch in and out of sync.
The texture of the sound should be as
close to a melted vinyl record sound – each player will go closer and nearer in pitch from each other, playing catch-up as you collectively slide downward. When thinking of the pitch curve, meditate on the feeling of kissing someone slowly for the first time.
Time: The group starts together via eye contact. Then with closed eyes, each player counts off individually 120 seconds, without the aid of a watch.
Immediately after they started, THE PIANIST DIALS THE NUMBER OF PERCUSSIONIST WHO STANDS OUTSIDE THE CONCERT HALL’S WINDOW. The percussionist answers immediately. The Pianist says in a serious tone: ‘OK”. The percussionist looks at his stopwatch, starts it and pulls the trigger of a gun (athletics/toygun that makes loud bang, loud enough to hear inside hall and in woods). The Actors start running. The Pianist and the Percussionist keep the phone line open. The Percussionist walks over to the meeting point under the Schloss and waits for the Lovers.
TRIO: From playing so many 2 min pieces you might have a good feeling for two minutes and might not need to count. Or if you wish to you can count, what you think are the durations of seconds all the way up to 120 seconds. You can even imagine you see a watch in your mind, but there can be no real watch. The watch is imaginary. When you all feel you are at the end, stop. It is important that you end together. You will fade the sound so pp towards the end and anticipate it together at which point you all open your eyes and stop.
Hopefully we hear the sounds of a happy embrace of the two lovers, coming faintly throught the phone BEFORE the players end. The percussionist is the only one with a stopwatch and exactly on two minutes he says: ‘they made it’ or ‘they’re dead’ and hangs up so that the last sound is still the Tristan chord.
All three players sit in triangle with backs to audience. Actors may or may not dress up in which ever way they feel. Piano to the side. Leans on piano, looks ominous. Videos of runners are posted to my OTOPLASMA Youtube account and can be watched later. Making the duration of the piece stretch into a parallel time.
Technical: Microphone for telephone. Microphone for each instrument feed on 3 channels. These feed to computer. Composer runs special freeze reverberation settings on various segments of the piece. Composer would like 2 – 4 loudspeakers for playback.