10 initial epilogues | en

http://www.hevhetia.com/hevhetia/tmp/thumbnails/tmp-246-DPigimutterskuta.jpgcd hv 0036-2-331 (hevhetia, august 2009)

We all know that the trombone is a genuinely timid, unassuming instrument and the piano, too, has ample space between its ten fingers: the epilogues presented here document our initial dialogue, hardly a swan song, but a beginning.
Let’s call it love at first tone: two people meet as if they’d been destined to meet all along, and in that moment, everything is clear, there is nothing to sort through, nothing to hash out: disturbing clarity, born of a natural native resonance that flows from its own self-evidence, suspended together in the mutual consent of playing together. The unmitigated immediacy forces one to create metaphors, and any attempt to speak about it necessarily ends with a stutter because making music in the intensity of this extreme, yet nimble concentration is almost impossible to endure—a state of mind on the verge of explosion, an electromagnetic continuum, indeed, a meta-being that eludes your grasp, but which you harness with the auratic tools you have at your disposal (clavier, sackbutt,…), rather like a clump or ball of energy, you inject tension, then let go: like a sail in trim, this séance hovers in time and space, rocking back, forth, up, down—and you go along for the ride, if he|she|it lets you.
Indeed. But the ball lightning strike is in the heart of the observer.  

Bertl Muetter, May 6, 2009 (translated by Lilian C. Friedberg)


Looking for an adequate definition of the word “improvisation” as it refers to music, I could not help but notice that most sources rely on the almost cliché-like explanation: “the extemporaneous rendition or creation of music”. While this definition is both accurate and clear, I was looking for a yet more comprehensible account of the word.
In addition to playing classical music, I have had plenty of opportunities to improvise in concerts as well as in studios. Nowadays most occasions for improvisation arise in jazz, but many times improvisations occur in a completely liberal and unrestricted way, such as making a parody of a Beethoven sonata, or using György Ligeti’s very unique piano technique.  Nevertheless, what have been closest to my heart lately are the so called “contemporary musical” improvisations which differ greatly from those built on the basis of tonal music in aspects of harmony, rhythm and form as well.
But is there a common ground that would unite all spontaneous musical compositions? There certainly is a common ground, namely the principles of music, such as the motives that we use, the rhythmical models that we form, and the counterpoint we create. And here I would offer my very own definition: improvisation is a rapidly functioning interactive game utilizing the above mentioned principles among many others. It is a game about the ways we can utilize, exploit, circumvent, demonstrate, give and take or ridicule these rules and principles. The possibilities are, in fact, infinite…
And since all games are to be played with somebody, I, too, enjoy it the most playing it with a partner.
It was around 1997 when I first heard Bertl play. I was captivated by his ability to create a nearly tangible universe with his music. I didn’t suspect back then that more than ten years later we would create a similar world on stage together. 
Bertl is the kind of partner in this game who is able to open gates through which energies flow without constraints, and from that point on, our only task is to listen to the “pointers” of the musical rules and each other, and doing so decide our next thought and action.
Perhaps there is not a more exciting feeling in music ? whether played from a score sheet or improvised ? than two musicians feeling together the magic of the given moment with its infinite possibilities and making the next step into yet another transformation and a new starting point.
For me, that is what improvisation is all about. I’m always pleased to find a partner whose view on the “direction that becomes the road under our feet” is similar to mine, and with whom playing together is simply a pleasure.

Miki Skuta, April 24, 2009