ONE9 / cengs'vo'jaemraeh (with obligate part MONORAIL for an e-bow playing pianist)
composed simultaneous performance for accordion, acousticly amplified electric bass and two CD-players
[1991 / 2002]
by John Cage / Sven Hermann
duration: ca. 60'
[first performance: Pfefferwerk Berlin within the scope of the festival "activa neuer musik", june 26th 2002]
Sven wrote about his project:
ONE9 [for solo sho, here in a version for accordion by myself] is an utterly unexciting piece and at the same time probably the most thrilling of all. Based on this paradox, the audience is invited to listen into the inside, the inside of the sound and the inside of the listener herself. Because formally nothing happens during ONE9's two hour peformance. Formal structures are augmented so extremely that after listening for a while one will discard every attempt at orientating. In Beethoven's symphonies, one follows and experiences the composed drama thoughout the pieces. In this piece the listener creates a completely individual drama inside her own mind. Everyone will experience the emotionally neutral composition again and again in a new and individual way - personal fears, the struggle with one's own body, relaxation and content. The composer Antoine Beuger compares this kind of preception with going for a walk. One decides to go outside for an hour and then during the exercise thoughts begin to wander, sometimes consciously, sometimes less so. The same here: the music lacks any formal or structural organisation and one does not need to follow any kind of plot, in order not to miss out on the work's message. Sometimes the music is taken in consciously, sometimes the listener drifts away for a few minutes into her own dreams, stimulated by what she's heard...This is the starting point of of a composed simultaneous performance. cengs'vo'jaemraeh for electric bass and CD-playback was designed following the same operations of random determination as used in ONE9. The material is the negative complement of what Cage worked with.The use of controlled random decisions is continued into the musician, who plays the same material always in a different chronological order, but constantly changing the octave. Like ONE9, cengs'vo'jaemaeh is divided into ten segments of approximately the same duration, but as opposed to ONE9 the material wanders through different octaves; the most simplistic version starting from the lowest upwards.At first sight all this is unreflected and trivial, in reality however something completely different is happening. The highest string of the electric bass reacts to playing with e-bow and bottleneck in a controlled way. The glissandi upwards and downwards can be heard as the are put down in the score. The lower the string however, the less controlled the sound becomes and is finally determined by chance. In addition the piece starts with the lowest B-string, which is tune down yet another note. Although the same instrument is played with the same technique throughout, what is actually heard is as far from a glissando as can be.ONE9 descends down into the inside of the sound, cengs'vo'jaemraeh climbs out from the inside of the instrument, because by a special pick-up technique for the electric bass through a microphone place at the string a simple glissando becomes a highly complex sound with an unpredictable internal structure. The dialogue between the two pieces performed simultaneously is in no way dualistic. Instead the listener is offered more possibilities for her walkabout through musical time. Short moments of rest and refreshment, plenty of natural beauty, footpaths on different kinds of ground. During the simultaneous performance, ONE9 itself is performed simultaneously. The space-time of ONE9 is foulded, four selected segments are transferred to a CD-playback so the performance duration of ONE9 / cengs'vo'jaemraeh is reduced to about one hour.
The invitation by the Corean pianist, composer and improvisor Chang-Soo Park to his house in Seoul in April 2003 lead to another simultaneous voice für one e-bow playing pianist. The pianist plays through Cage's score like a "monorail", thus the title... another resting place within the landscape of sound... another dreamy glance at the ground... through the thick of the tree-tops. Monorail is dedicated to Chang-soo Park.
[first performed: april 25th 2003, Chang-soo Park's HOUSE CONCERT, Seoul/South-Korea]