SUAL Archives | 2018

Christian Wolff: Sticks | Stones

Duration:      32‘53“ (excpt)
Featuring:     mdw scratch orchestra (University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna)
                         with Erik Emil Eskildsen | Sara Gregorič | Ahoo Maher | Christina Ruf | Martin Škubal
                         Direction: Gunter Schneider
Type:              Recorded live at SUAL 2018
Credits:         Audio recording and editing by GS

Sticks | Stones


Make sounds with sticks of various kinds, one stick alone, several together, on other instruments, sustained as well as short. Don’t mutilate trees or shrubbery; don’t break anything other than the sticks; avoid outright fires unless they serve a practical purpose. You can begin when you have not heard a sound from a stick for a while; two or three can begin together. You may end when your sticks or one of them are broken small enough that a handful of the pieces in your hands cupped over each other are not, if shaken and unamplified, audible beyond your immediate vicinity. Or hum continuously on a low note; having started proceed with other sounds simultaneously (but not necessarily continuously); when you can hum no longer, continue with other sounds, then stop. With several players either only one should do this or two or two pairs together (on different notes) and any number individually. You can also do without sticks but play the sounds and feelings you imagine a performance with sticks would have.


Make sounds with stones, draw sounds out of stones, using a number of sizes and kinds (and colors); for the most part discretely; sometimes in rapid sequences. For the most part striking stones with stones, but also stones on other surfaces (inside the open head of a drum, for instance) or other than struck (bowed, for instance, or amplified). Do not break anything.

[in: Christian Wolff, Prose Collection, S. 9-10]

Christian Wolff

Born in 1934 in Nice, France, has lived in the U.S. since 1941. Studied piano with Grete Sultan and briefly composition with John Cage. Associated with Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor and Earle Brown, then with Frederic Rzewski and Cornelius Cardew. Since 1952 associated with Merce Cunningham and his dance company. Taught Classics at Harvard (1962-70) and Classics, Music and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College (1971-1999). Published articles on Greek tragedy, in particular, Euripides. Writings on music (to 1998) collected in book Cues (published by MusikTexte) and in Occasional Pieces (Oxford University Press, in preparation). Active as performer, also improviser with, among others, Takehisa Kosugi, Keith Rowe, Steve Lacy, Christian Marclay, Larry Polansky, Kui Dong and AMM. All music published by C.F. Peters, New York. Much of it is recorded (Mode, New World, Neos, Capriccio, Wandelweiser, Wergo, Matchless, Tzadik, HatArt, etc.). Honors include DAAD Berlin fellowship, grants from the Asian Council, Mellon Foundation, Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer, Foundation for Contemporary Performing Arts (the John Cage award); honorary degrees from California Institute of the Arts and from Huddersfield University (UK); membership in the Akademie der Künste (Berlin), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Széchenyi Academy of Letters and Arts (Budapest); lifetime achievement award from the state of Vermont.


mdw scratch orchestra

Erik Emil Eskildsen | Sara Gregorič | Ahoo Maher | Christina Ruf | Martin Škubal
(University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna)

Gunter Schneider

born 1954, studied guitar and musicology, teaches guitar and contemporary music at the Vienna University of Music and the Performing Arts. He has made himself a name in the field of contemporary avant-garde and especially improvised music and has composed music for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, singers and orchestra. He has worked with the RSO Wien, the Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck, WDR-Sinfonieorchster Köln, Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, Klangforum Wien, special and collective projects among others with Radu Malfatti, Franz Hautzinger, and Christian Wolff. Together with his spouse Barbara Romen (guitar and hammered dulcimer) they perform as a duo, with Zimt and DUCHAMP DEFAULT (including Angélica Castelló and Burkhard Stangl), Tracking stones’ voices using sounding stone objects by sculptor Kassian Erhart, here comes the sun with Berlin multiphoner Kai Fagaschinski, Klopfzeichen/Klangschnitte together with Austrian and Japanese wood print artists, as well as the house music project quadrat:sch (with Alexandra and Christof Dienz). Their interpretation of Helmut Lachenmann’s Salut für Caudwell led to a music theatre project conceived by choreographer Xavier Le Roy (More Mouvements für Lachenmann), presented in Europe and the USA.

[info as of 12/2018]