for the masters of flying: Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin, Cecil Taylor
My work on Verkündigung began when Marcus Weiss urged me to come up with an improvisation piece. At first, I was preoccupied with the opposition of proscriptive, “architectural”, precisely timed part, and at the same time, open, improvised structures.
Around that time, I happened upon Domenico Veneziano's painting Verkündigung, and found my own musings reflected in that painting's stark opposition between symmetrical Renaissance architecture and the free “gestures” of the angel and the Virgin Mary. At some point, I began striving to dissolve this very opposition of architecture/gesture, aiming for a conception which could contain both elements at once, in every moment – and theoretically in every sound; where one might merge at any moment into the other, or where one may appear in the other's place.
This led me to an increasingly complex notation, to a point where the whole thing reached an essential degree of unplayability. At this point, some of the original improvisatory core remained. (Pinpointing a single tone in its firmly dictated parameters of pitch, duration, and volume encounters a similarly irreducible barrier to that of complete compositional control.) As such, the piece submits to its performers' desire (or lack thereof) either to evade its technical challenges in a no-holds-barred first reading, or to immerse themselves fully in an interminable process of approximation.
Footnote on the “interminable process of approximation”: The three performers on this CD have doubtless chosen this latter option. I have now been following their “process of approximation” for over ten years, with unerring delight. A few months ago, Marcus Weiss remarked about the piece: “It's finally starting to mature” - so it's high time to record! (2002)">