Volker Blumenthaler

musica minima

seven pieces
for piano
1995

Musica minima is my second piece for piano solo. The first - entitled "Zeitrisse" (that means "ruptures" of time) - I have written in 1982 and it is characterized by a form dimensioned like a large maze. My second piano-composition is a concentrate of thinking about how to compose for this instrument, which is not really my instrument.

The music became as a result an aphoristic style. Only one specific gesture rules each section. This gives a sharp and sometimes paltry character to the musical expression. There don’t exist any ornamental structure. That is the meaning of the word "minima". As a meta-level behind the real sound I decided to use the tonal plan of a cadence. Beside the normal piano-expression I used special technics to involve the three piano pedals especially the sostenuto-pedal, the noise of the falling down piano hammers and some rare preparations. Mostly two pieces a combined to a pair. Only no. 5 stands alone. Instead of to hear seven isolated pieces, you will realize at first two musical blocks which are fading out. Then the fifth piece follows. This piece is the most eruptive one. The time is structured convulsively, the pulse is always changing. The character is dominated by a splintery sound. And at least the third block which comes to the final end by a pizzicato chord. The notes of this ending chord are a combination of "F-major and f-minor", the tonal center of the whole composition. This sound could be heard as a quotation from the classical-romantic style, because these keys represent the "pastorale" and the "appassionata" as antipodes.

I have written the piece mostly at night in June of 1995 in Taipei my one month old sleeping son on my knees.