June 23rd, 2010

News 21



Artistic Direction: Georg Gräwe

piano today
June 30, 2010 8 PM domicil, Hansastraße 7-11 // D-44137 Dortmund
Denman Maroney & Michael Wilhelmi

Denman Maroney
Photo by Marco Fierro

That ‘adventurous’ piano so called, is still opening doors to sounds as yet unheard of, the discovery of which poses a never ending challenge to the sound researchers among piano players. The task of preparing the strings with objects made of metal, glass or wood may well be a shock to the system for a piano tuner. For musicians have been known to damage the sound board, the strings or the internal mechanism with screws or other sharp objects. Denman Maroney by way of contrast has devised a more gentle preparation comprising bottles, singing bowls, wooden and rubber blocks, knives and other everyday objects under the heading of “Hyperpiano”. Unlike with John Cage, there is nothing squeezed in between the strings. His sound world is astonishing: manipulated and distorted string sounds create a shimmering sound cosmos that evokes associations with alien worlds and chthonian myths. Maroney oscillates between composed and improvised pieces, which he, however, understands as spontaneous compositions.

“Wicked, that Schubert” was the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s headline for its discussion of Michael Wilhelmi’s project “Winterreise”, based on the cycle by Franz Schubert with texts by Wilhelm Müller. Young rappers from a suburb of Paris and from Berlin’s Neukölln build on the emotional romanticism of the early 19th Century. As an improvising soloist, Wilhelmi, who studied logic and mathematics in Dresden, as well as composition and jazz piano in Berlin (with Georg Graewe amongst others), also grapples with the grand designs of classical music, as for instance with improvisations based on movements from Robert Schumann’s “Kreisleriana”. A “blasphemous undertaking with stupendous virtuosity and energy”, whose appeal lies below the acoustic surface like a spike, was the Neue Musik Zeitung’s review. As a composer he contemplates analogies between fractal geometry and music. He has developed control software for electronic music and is a lecturer for improvisation working with student conductors at the “Hans Eisler” Academy of Music in Berlin.

Text: Ulrich Kurth
Translation: Anna Lytton