INTERNATIONAL IMPROVISED MUSIC ARCHIVE - NINA POLASCHEGG (AUSTRIA, b.1972)
Nina Polaschegg (Austria, b.1972) is a musicologist, music journalist and improvising contrabassist.
Article: Interweavings.Towards a new view of the relation between composition and improvisation (2007)
Summary (Carl Bergstroem.Nielsen): In music history writing after 1950, two tendencies are usually attributed a paradigmatic role: on one hand, serialism and its counterreaction, and on the other hand aleatoric techiques and other strategies of opening up the work. "On one hand, these tendencies re-thought principal possibilities of the musical work in a radical way and appeared therefore necessary and revolutionary, but they have had no proper succession" (p.34). A view that sees them as the only ones suppresses or marginalizes the fact that they were only a part of the total picture of tendencies away from traditional concepts of music, musician and musical work. Improvisation played animportant role here, and there has been a continuous development ever since it was re-invented in the fifthies and sixties. For the first generation, improvisation was conceived of in terms of being a new discovery - be it in contrast to composition or as an extension of composition. The second generation views improvisation and composition as different aspects of one and the same music. This may also be named the second improvisation renaissance, of which improvising composers Richard Barrett, Wolfgang Mittlerer, Michael Maierhof, Karlheinz Essl and Bernhard Lang can be mentioned as representatives.
Various collective-like groupings were formed by composers of the first generation. At the same time, musicians from both new music and jazz genres strove towards re-inventing improvisation. Thus, such re-invention took place simultaneously in two cultures.
In order to understand characteristics of the second renaissance, one should know about the first one too, since the second generation took up ideas, models and strategies from the first one.
The article provides descriptions of the first generations groups Nuova Consonanza, Musica Elecctronica Viva and New Phonic Art which represented the 'new definition' of improvisation in relation to the 'canonic' new music. AMM represents an attempt of such new definition beyond both composed music and jazz. Cornelius Cardew appeared then as a special case, both utilizing improvisation as a composer and acting as an improvisor. In this way he was standing between two worlds and became an immediate forerunner of the second generation. His "Treatise" received special, detailed commenting here. Also Earle Brown, Barry Guy, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Anthony Braxton and Bob Ostertag have sections devoted to them.
There are also additional sections ("Er-improvisierte Komposition" and "Kompositionen/Konzepte für Improvisatoren" which discusses and details some ways in which composition is now accepted among improvisors and how composition and improvisation have been combined.
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