Johannes Maria Staud - One Movement and Five Miniatures

One Movement and Five Miniatures

This work took as its point of departure the challenge of using the ‘early music’ instrument, the harpsichord, alongside the ‘new music’ instrument, the computer. In the course of composition it became clear that this was not a question of a reciprocal demarcation of boundaries between these two spheres, but rather of their symbiotic blending into a new, completely self-sufficient sound world. The ensemble of twelve players, arranged in three groups in a semi-circle around the amplified harpsichord, and framed by four loud-speakers, has an essential role to play in this and can, according to the musical situation, function as background foil, stimulus, or partner in the dialogue. The specific qualities and characteristics of the harpsichord –‘two skeletons copulating on a tin roof’ – determine the interactions between instruments and electronics throughout, as in their turn the possibilities of live electronics and the spatially distributed ensemble influence the way in which the harpsichord is treated. The electronic sounds are derived from, and activated by the live harpsichord performance alone, and do not make any use at all of pre-recorded material. The six major sections, whose boundaries always remain recognizable through ‘incisions’ in the aural landscapes, follow one another attacca. Despite the variety of musical situations, every effort was made to create lines of development cutting through the different parts in order to achieve an overall dramaturgical shape. This work is dedicated with gratitude to Jackie and Stephen Newbould.

Johannes Maria Staud

…a new “Sound Investment” commission, Johannes Maria Staud’s fastidiously scored One Movement and Five Miniatures…communicates with a neoclassical clarity and a seamless elegance of structure.
The Birmingham Post

The sounds of the harpsichord are digitally transformed in real time by the computer and the transformations become more complex as the work goes on.
The Guardian

First performed by BCMG conducted by Richard Baker on 22 April 2007 at CBSO Centre, Birmingham.