No. 11 Refrain

Stockhausen’s music is in the area of my interest for a long time. My practical approach was started by Gert Mortensen who convinced me to work on “Zyklus”. It was on my 2nd Master. Well, “Zyklus” is in my repertoir for over 3 years now and I have performed it frequently for varied audience. There were other pieces by this great genius that I was playing or wanted to play. Eventually, when it came to scetching my Debut Concert’s program, “Zyklus” was there due to many factors. It came naturally, that “Refrain”, a chamber music piece, being very close to the solo Stockhausen’s piece, is the one to be in my program as well. They are very different from each other, but both were composed during the “Kontakte” period in 1959.

I am not saying that’s the only reason. “Refrain” is beautiful, and it’s so interesting to play together. With its colours, layers, timing and relationships between three parts it is absolutely marvelous music. It is suspended somewhere beyond reality. And the score…this is something extraordinary to work with.

Perhaps, I could just mention that reading from an enormous format (something like A1, or bigger), with a trasparent strip that moves all the time despite our beseech, was a challenge like no other 🙂

For all those reasons mentioned before, it was a perfect piece to perform just before “Zyklus”…and much shorter than “Kontakte” 🙂

Here I should say, I got an opportunity to work on “Refrain” together with two great pianists. I had a chance to play contemporary music with both of them before, but this time was different. Probably because of special kind of communication that is required, and a very open mind to create all that, what Stockhasuen had put into this masterpiece.

Many, many great thanks to Kristoffer Nyholm Hyldig (piano) and Manuel Esperilla (celesta).

A couple of words from my printed program:

In many respects, “Refrain” may be considered a female complement to “Zyklus”. They are both composed in the same period, along with “Kontakte”. The title refers to recurrent disturbances that ruffle the ringing tranquility of the chordal music. These are engraved on a transparent strip, which is movable on its axis, so the music can be disturbed at number of places, varying performance. That is left to the musicians to decide. Further principles determine the sound layer of this trio composition. Nearly static chords dissolve into melodies. There is some kind of peace inside this sounding space.




If I was asked to point my favourite compositions written for percussion, this piece would be one of them. If there is a question about prefered composing style, I would be certainly sure that Georges Aperghis is amongst my beloved composers. In fact, it is not only about his music. Mr Aperghis is a fanastic persona and it was a great pleasure to work with him at the Impuls Academy 2013. This fact has a great impact on my development since then.

I must mention, few years ago I was not really positive with Georges’ pieces, including “Graffitis”. But I know it was because I did not undrestand. I have started appreciating the quality of composition and performing side of it after working on his percussion trio “Les Guetteurs de Sons”. This musical language is special and brings extraordinary qualities.

I like the idea of being restrained about the background story in order to keep spectator’s focus. Being convincing while performing has a different dimension this way. Spectator is the last cell of the performance and he should be able, and eager, to create his own scenario, so to speak.

At one of my concerts in Copenhagen I was asked what sort of language am I speaking from the begining of the piece until the german-recitation part. This brought me to conclusion, that this part might not only be an onomatopeic declamation, but an artificial-babble-monologue almost with a meaning. As a matter of fact, we very often guess what is said by a person who speaks a language unknown to us. Or, at least, we know what feeling or meaning is hidden there. Don’t we?

In my Debut program, “Graffitis” happened as the last piece before the break. It was also the last part of an intimate-performing-music segment. After “Mani. Gonxha” by Pierluigi Billone there was a marimba composition by Salvatore Sciarrino “Il legno e la parola”. Aperghis’ piece was there in order to introduce a bit of spice and humor after Billone’s prayer and Sciarrino’s very quiet and airy marimba music. A conclusion of this abstract segment of my show.

One “small” difference comparing to the original score: this is a “wine-version”….if you know what I mean 🙂

Here is a word from my Debut program:

A brother-piece to an earlier composition “Le corps a corps”. And in the same manner, percussionist is both the narrator of an epic story and the central character in the play. It reflects a fictional combat between musician, instruments and his own breath. The Goeathe’s “Faust” text is used here, for some reason (you may choose). So, it may be in the same way as graffiti on the public property; a metaphor of fight, of opposition, an expression of underlying social messages; or simply an artistic action. Just picture a long wall with writings and drawings from simple words to sophisticated art, and you studying them while passing by. This piece is written for Gaston Sylvestre in 1981.

…and a link to my clip:


Mani. Gonxha

This was a second piece in my Debut Concert, a Danish premiere, and I believe Scandinavian first performance as well. After Scratch Data by Raphael Cendo, which was an introduction to the show, here it started first bigger segment of my program. This segment was an intimate and performative part, centered around prayer, silence, air and voices. An inner and outer conversation.

But about Mani….

The score is written in a very special way, and in similar manner as other pieces of this kind by Billone (counting many “Manis” too). I think, it is a pleasure only to look at it and admire. You should take a look at the composer’s website:

Mani. Gonxha page

“Gonxha” is written like that not for fun, though it gives a lot of fun to work with it. I have always preferred reading and playing from handwritten scores, or a special graphic systems. It makes me feel a better connection to the music. These small things that are sometimes not clear to understand give some space for interpretation and let me be more independent, observant and open.

My first rendezvous with Billone’s music took place at the Impuls Festival in 2013. During one of those concerts played by tutors, Christian Dierstein performed “Mani Gonxha”. I have found this style distinct, sort of personal in different way than others. I like the idea that a composed piece of music is no longer only composer’s property. It also belongs to the performer and, in fact, to the audience too. After few months of circuit around Billone’s music I have started analyzing and reading “Gonxha” myself. In fact, during this process, and also after listening to one performance of “Mani de Leonardis”, I have realized there are no extraordinary actions. It is not stage acting that is crucial. It is something else…

Here is a word from my program:

“Pierluigi Billone belongs to one of those rare magicians, who can suspend lineal time. One assumes with his music as if to enter a ritual space” (Heinz Rögl)

“Mani. Gonxha” (2012) is one of the “Mani-pieces” group in Billone’s catalogue. It’s a prayer. Succession of introverted and extraverted elements, mixing in order to establish an emotional balance. The action of two hands is crucial and a simple musical instrument is an extension, a connection. The score focuses on those manual actions. This music is composed for Christian Dierstein.

…and the clip:

Soloist Class 2012-14 & Debut Concert Nov. 19

Here they come. Video clips from my Debut Concert that happened on November 19th. This was a graduation recital that has concluded my Advanced Postgraduate studies in the Soloist Class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. This program took 2,5 year and was specially oriented in the solo performance in contemporary percussion music. For me it was also the last period of academic education in Denmark.

My focus was first mostly on more standard repertoire, Danish music, due to my teacher Gert Mortensen, and on Stockhausen, which I found intellectually and musically a great source of inspiration, and also challenge that would equal my inclinations. From certain point, beginning of 2013, after the Impuls Academy in Graz, I have taken a step towards different direction, a style that is more connected to instrumental theater. I have partially re-evaluated my point of view, or rather diversified and opened my understanding of musician’s function and a process of creating the performance of a composed piece.

Not going into details, I will be posting some video recordings of my Debut’s performances for you to enjoy, I hope 🙂