James Tenney (1934 - 2006) was a composer, music theorist and pioneer especially in the field of microtonal music, being an influential part of the so-called New York avantgarde scene (CAGE, FELDMAN). Besides his compositonal work, Tenney was teaching at various universities with students like charlemagne Palestine, Carl Stone or Catherine Lamb, and a close friend with Eliane Radigue.
This album by zeitkratzer presents three compostions by TENNEY whose music has been
part of zeitkratzer’s repertoire since their beginning:
# „Critical Band“ – TENNEY’s late classic – with maximum clarity and precision of bearing
tone rhythms and microtonal tuning as light effect.
# the first recording of „Harmonium #2“.
Both works demonstrate the remarkable power and resplendent sharpness which TENNEY
achieved with his microtonal settings.
# „Koan: Having Never Written A Note For Percussion“ (incl. in the download) is an orgiastic
listening experience in the form of a huge crescendo on a tam-tam - from whispering to
singing, culminating in shrill roaring and blustering – and it’s dark decay.
zeitkratzer’s approach to TENNEY’s music as a sensual sound adventure, finally available on
KRAFFT for orchestra was composed in 2016 as a commission from the French State and premiered in Paris and Marseille. It was also the first meeting of two outstanding ensembles: the well-known avant-garde group zeitkratzer and Ensemble 2e2m - a chamber group from Paris known for their fantastic sound and the first recordings of Giacinto Scelsi’s music.
KRAFFT is a minimalist maximal composition: all instruments play in rhythmic unison throughout. Only the sounds and their combinations change relentlessly throughout the piece. KRAFFT is spelt wrong on purpose to create an ironic-onomatopoetic rendition of the German term “Kraft”, meaning “power” or “force”. The listener is exposed to a sonic undertow. The notion of huge power and force is connected here to clandestine and unknown rules controlling the progression of sound; something is happening, but we do not exactly know what, when or how. KRAFFT is composed with the help of the computer program TTM (Textural Transformation Machine), developed by Reinhold Friedl to sculpture multiple random processes.
KRAFFT enforces textural listening. Richard Wood described it as “an unwinding strip of 'texture': just listen to that; not to its various strands as such, not to one single strand, but to it as a whole, an unwinding ribbon, varying as it goes in width, in colour, in depth, in thickness, in weight, in character, but always a unity.“
conducted by Pierre Roullier
recorded live by Martin Wurmnest at Eglise Saint-Merry Paris, Festival Extension, La Muse en Circuit, France ; mixed by Martin Wurmnest; mastered by Helmut Erler, dubplates & mastering, Berlin; cover design: Julia Heimerdinger; photo: Nik Hummer; layout: Kaidoh
zeitkratzer was founded in 1997 by Reinhold Friedl and soon became a role model for open-minded new music. zeitkratzer instigated a new practice of contemporary music, including co-operations with noise musicians like Merzbow and Keiji Haino, rock’n’roll experimentalists like Lou Reed or William Bennett (Whitehouse) , electronic musicians like Carsten Nicolai and Terre Thaemlitz, jazz musicians like Terje Rypdal or Elliott Sharp, reinterpretations of Schönberg and Bach, not forgetting performances of music by Helmut Lachenmann, James Tenney and Morton Feldman. The unique approach, the outstanding and internationally acclaimed members, the independent nature of the project and the high musical quality has led to zeitkratzer gaining recognition worldwide.
Ensemble 2e2m, founded in 1972 by the composer Paul Méfano, is one of the oldest and most distinguished French ensembles dedicated to today's musical creation. The initials that characterize it and which mean « études et expressions des modes musicaux » ("studies and expressions of musical modes") have become an acronym, a guarantee of pluralism and open-mindedness. The Ensemble has premiered more than six hundred pieces. Before any other ensemble, 2e2m discovered composers like Scelsi or Wyschnegradsky, and many pieces of its repertoire become major milestones. Numerous CDs and radio recordings, concerts worldwide.
Pierre Roullier studied flute with Jean-Pierre Rampal. After a solo career he became a well-known conductor with a broad repertoire from operetta to contemporary music. He was invited to Opéra-Comique Paris, Wiener Festwochen (Austria), Radio France, the Festival d’Avignon and conducts orchestras as Opéra de Nice, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, His recordings range from Bach to Takemitsu, Beethoven to Dusapin or Strasnoy. They got several awards as Académie du disque français.
Reinhold Friedl lives in Berlin and Vienna. Friedl studied mathematics, piano with Renate Werner, Alan Marks and Alexander von Schlippenbach, composition with Mario Bertoncini and Witold Szalonek. PHD at Goldsmiths University London. Friedl is the leader of the internationally acclaimed new music group zeitkratzer and known for his radical compositions. He got commissions from Wiener Festwochen, Märzmusik Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe, The French State, RomaEuropa Rome, The City of Berlin, Asphodel San Francisco… His works are performed internationally, numerous recordings for radio, cds and vinyl. His string quartets have been recorded by Quatuor Diotima, Paris.