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Notations 1: Utopia
Four-Part Conference by Lucas Fels

Tue 17 July 2018, 10.00 – 13.00
Akademie für Tonkunst (Großer Saal)

in English
Free Admission

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Notation, according to the composer Earle Brown, is extremely incomplete and unsatisfactory.
He glanced with a hint of envy at “painters who can deal directly with the existent reality of their own work without this indirect and imprecise ‘translation stage’. In conversation I would ask them if they could imagine sitting down and writing out a set of directions so that someone else would be able to paint exactly what they them- selves would paint in all details.”

The question of what is notated in music, how it is notated, for whom it is notated and how the whole thing can finally be made to sound, has preoccupied composers, musicians and music scholars daily for centuries and continues to do so. The Darmstadt Summer Course too has seen repeated discussions about it, for example in 1965, when there was a major congress revolving around notation. The presentations from the congress, published later in volume 9 of Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik, are among the foundational texts on notation in the Western music of the 20th century.
The challenges which notation poses for performers and the strategies they employ to undertake a “translation” in keeping with the composition and to identify the information that becomes part of the composition for a performance, will be discussed in a series of four events at this year’s Summer Course. With a particular focus on the performer’s perspective, the cellist Lucas Fels will invite tutors, participants and guests to think about notation at the following sessions: “Notation as Utopia” (17July), “…as Result” (19July), “…as Imperative” (24July) and “Open Form” (27July).


On Brian Ferneyhough: In Nomine after Christopher Tye (2017) for solo cello

First part of the four-part conversation series by Lucas Fels with Summer Course guests and musical examples

Moderation: Dörte Schmidt and Lucas Fels

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