12 Pieces for Solo Accordion

»for Alfred Melichar«

For solo accordion
Duration of the complete cycle: ca. 31 minutes
Premiere of No. 5&6: on March 21, 2021, by Alfred Melichar at the Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna (video concert)
Premiere of No. 1, 10&12: on October 4, 2022, by Alfred Melichar at the Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna

I have a habit of writing either a solo or a chamber music piece for small ensemble as preparation for composing a large-scale work. My aim in engaging in this kind of »finger exercise« is to become more intimately familiar with the harmonic environment I have decided to use for the new composition.

The 5x5 Short Intermezzos op. 22j, for example, became the training ground for my orchestral work Time Recycling op. 22n. In this particular instance, a larger work for solo accordion would serve the same purpose for my composition Black Snow op. 22q for chorus, orchestra, and soloists. As I was looking through modern poetry and literature, I started to compile a small list of lines of poetry that made a strong impression on me – not complete poems, but rather shorter passages or fragments. From this process emerged a twelve-part improvisation on completely divergent poems. The title of a poem by the Flemish modernist Paul van Ostaijen finally became the name of the cycle: »Metaphysical Jazz«; I also used it as the title of the 2nd piece of the cycle.

The musical essence of the entire cycle consists of five-note chords whose intervallic structure consists of a major second, a perfect fourth, a tritone, and a major sixth. The content of the poetic lines greatly influenced the melodic and rhythmic elements, as well as the harmony and development of the individual pieces.

At the suggestion of the first performer, Alfred Melichar, an »improved manuscript« was produced in July/August 2023, which is not only characterized by better legibility, but also contains corrections in voice leading, harmony, notation and rhythm. However, to speak of a »new version« would be an exaggeration. 

No. 1 Präludium » ... aber das Wehende höre, die ununterbrochene Nachricht, die aus Stille sich bildet« (from the first Duineser Elegie by Rainer Maria Rilke)

completed on January 22, 2019 in Vienna
Duration: 2'50''

No. 2 »Metaphysischer Jazz« (title of a poem by Paul van Ostaijen)

completed on January 2, 2019 in Vienna
Duration: 2'

No. 3 » ... ungleich die Hälften, die nicht sind ... « (from a poem by the composer, from 1996)

completed on April 5, 2019 in Vienna
Duration: 1'40''

No. 4 » ... von dieser Sterneinsamkeit zu jener Sterneinsamkeit ... « (from a poem by Giuseppe Ungaretti, translated by Paul Celan, in his Merkbuch des Alten / Letzte Chöre für das verheißene Land Nr. 16) First lecture

completed on November 1, 2019 in Vienna
Duration: 4'42''

No. 5 »Dann wirst Du fragen, wo der Flieder ist und wo – mohnbedeckt – die Metaphysik? Und der Regen, der die Fülle der Worte zerschlug mit einem Nichts und vielen Vögeln?« (from a poem by Pablo Neruda, from Residencia en la Tierra, vol. 3, translated by the composer)

completed on November 17, 2019 in Vienna
Duration: 2'33''

No. 6 »Einen Walzer für die Wölfe (zum Traum der Henne ohne des Fuchses Krallen)« (from the poem Trauriges Stelldichein mit Charlie Chaplin by Rafael Alberti, translated by Erich Arendt)

completed on December 4, 2019 in Vienna
Duration: 2'20''

No. 7 »Salz erblindete. Tränen verrauschten. Denken kreiste.« (from the poem Puschkin-Variation by Boris Pasternak, translated by Christel Pesch)

completed on December 7, 2019 in Vienna
Duration: 2'31''

No. 8 »Die Reinheit der Morgenluft fing an, sich mit der Säuerlichkeit des Tages zu füllen.« (from Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften I, Chapter 13 by Robert Musil)

completed on January 21, 2020 in Vienna
Duration: 1'42''

No. 9 »Am Rande des Märchens strickt die Nacht sich Rosen« (from the poem Rosen schreiten auf Straßen aus Porzellan by Hans Arp)

completed on January 23, 2020 in Vienna
Duration: 4'03''

No. 10 »Auf einmal mussten die Fische beatmet werden – unter künstlicher Haut liegen die Teiche.« (from the poem Das Ohr in der Uhr by Durs Grünbein)

completed on January 24, 2020 in Vienna
Duration: 1'15''

No. 11 »Breitengrade zerlegt – eine neue Flora – bedeckt die Erde« (from the poem Linien by Shuntarō Tanikawa, translated by Eduard Klopfenstein)

abgeschlossen am 26. Jänner 2020 in Wien
Duration: 2'34''

No. 12 »Blau ist die Farbe deines gelben Haares – Rot ist das Girren deines grünen Vogels« (from the poem An Anna Blume by Kurt Schwitters)

abgeschlossen am 27. Jänner 2020 in Wien
Duration: 3'29''