This research is driven by the necessity to investigate the subject of performing instrumental works by Russian post-minimalist composers, and to explore possibilities of incorporating the spiritual ideas that informed those works in a concert practice. The aspiration of Russian post-minimalism to occupy a territory between music, spirituality and philosophy has often been neglected by both artistic and academic communities. In this research I will examine ritualization of the concert practice as a creative method on examples of its leading exponents, e.g. Alexander Knaifel, Vladimir Martynov and Nikolai Korndorf. This research aims to critically reflect on concepts and approaches directly related to the performance of Russian post-minimalist music, and to contribute to its wider recognition in the Western contemporary music world.
My research focuses on theories of the sublime by the Berlin Enlightenment philosophers Moses Mendelssohn (1729–86) and Johann Georg Sulzer (1720–79). Both were active in the group Montagsklub, whose other members included the playwright Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, poet Karl Wilhelm Rammler, writer–composer Christian Gottfried Krause, flutist Johann Joachim Quantz and organist–singer Johann Friedrich Agricola. Closely associated to Montagsklub were also other court musicians, such as Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The members discussed contemporary aesthetic thought from England, France and Germany. My first objective is to inquire, how the sublime was theorized in the circle during the 1750–70’s.
Mid-century Berlin also saw a growing esteem for instrumental music, which was strongly related to the time’s aesthetic preferences. The ineffable quality became an expressive asset in the time’s aesthetic thought. Thus, I want to discover, how an acquired sensibility towards the mid-century aesthetic theories can aid the performance of the Montagsklub circle’s instrumental chamber music.
The research explores clarinet and bass clarinet preparation in a technologically up to date context and discusses the consequent transformation of the performer’s perceived and acknowledged identity. Despite the triggering role that preparation had in the development of other instruments’ repertoire and technique, its use on clarinet remains, to date, infrequent, with very few examples of works conceived for the prepared instrument. Besides, an accessible and systematic study method to approach this existing repertoire and the related unorthodox techniques is still missing. The goal of this work is then twofold: stimulating artistic creation in this field and sharing knowledge on these practices.
A distinctive characteristic of this work is the choice of a “contemporary” approach to preparation, making use of digital technologies to expand the instrument and the traditional creative process. For this reason, the collaboration with the Department of Product Development of the University of Antwerp, and with composers/experts in this field, will offer the possibility of developing new instrument prototypes with the support of 3D printing technology and of the Arduino electronic prototyping platform. Research in this field will be done through the analysis of case studies (solo works for prepared clarinet or bass clarinet, from the existing repertoire or fruit of new collaborations), through a reflective diary of my daily working practice and activity, and through the development and validation of a specific technical training.
The prospective research would be a continuation of Adam’s Master’s thesis in which he defined a new method for synthesis and analysis of music compositions with the use of a new taxonomy of musical parameters - “Periodic Fractal of Shepard-Risset frequency sets”. The doctoral research built on these discoveries would continue to expand the method of sound and music notation synthesis in relation to the “Periodic Fractal” algorithm with the use of digital signal processing techniques. These will be subject to artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies in order to create a new computer program giving access to a new artistic de-centralised network in which musical compositions could be discovered on a tree of possibilities (rather than composed) and might generate immediate economical value serving as cryptocurrency by itself that could be exchanged and “performed” between the users of the network. During the study, the examined methodology would be implemented in Adam’s artistic practice to create a portfolio of new compositions. The study would also hopefully trigger the discussion about the future of music composition in the world quickly shifting from the Information Era towards the so-called Imagination Age.