Karlheinz Essl

Portrait KHE

STERN

for electric violin, prepared piano and vibration speaker
2013

Dedicated to Ernst Kovacic


Basics | Score | Sound | Movie | Performances


Mathilde Hoursiangou (piano) and Ernst Kovacic (e-violin) premiering STERN
Konzerthaus Wien, Festival WIEN MODERN (3 Nov 2013)


About

english

In this piece, the resonance board of a grand piano is used as a loudspeaker for an electric violin; an instrument which cannot be heard without amplification. By placing a special vibration speaker onto the sound board of the grand piano, the playing of the electric violin is projected inside the piano. Its "sympathetic strings" are used for unusual sonic effects by taking advantage of various resonance phenomenons which the pianist controls by slowly depressing and releasing the sustain and sostenuto pedals. By utilizing a so-called E-Bow on the piano, artificial resonances on a specific pitch can be generated.

Here, the piano becomes a sort of acoustic sound processor for the electric violin. A highly interesting hybrid between violin and piano is constructed which bridges the gap between these very different instruments with their great tradition in music history. Both instruments are "morphed" into a single one for two players, capable of unfolding an enormous expressive power.

STERN is dedicated to my dear friend Ernst Kovacic for whom I already wrote my challenging violin solo composition absence in 1996. His great musicianship and his open mind inspired me to write this piece which finally led me to new horizons which I want to explore in the future.


deutsch

In diesem Stück wird der Resonanzboden eines Flügels zum Lautsprecher einer E-Geige - ein Instrument, das ohne Verstärkung nicht hörbar ist. Durch einen speziellen Vibrationslautsprecher, der im Inneren des Klaviers angebracht ist, strahlt der Klang der elektrischen Violine aus dem Flügel heraus und verschmilzt mit den Tönen des Klaviers. Dessen Besaitung wird für außergewöhnliche Resonanzphänomene benutzt, die von der Pianistin mit Hilfe der Pedale gesteuert werden. Durch die Verwendung eines sog. E-Bows (ein starker Elektromagnet, der eine Saite in Dauerschwingung versetzen kann) werden zusätzlich künstliche Obertöne erzeugt: Damit wird das Klavier wird zum Klangprozessor der E-Geige. So entsteht ein sonderbares Hybrid zwischen diesen beiden sehr unterschiedlichen Instrumenten mit ihren jeweiligen musikgeschichtlichen Traditionen. Beide Instrumente verschmelzen zu einem einzigen, das von zwei Spielern bedient wird und zu enormer Ausdruckskraft fähig ist.

STERN ist meinem lieben Freund Ernst Kovacic gewidmet, für den ich bereits 1996 meine Solostück absence geschrieben hatte. Seine überragende Musikalität und Offenheit haben mich zu dieser ungewöhnlichen Komposition inspiriert, die ich als Ausgangspunkt für weitere Klangforschungen verstehe.


Sound

Mathilde Hoursiangou (piano) and Ernst Kovacic (e-violin) premiering STERN
Konzerthaus Wien, Festival WIEN MODERN (3 Nov 2013)


Score

STERN - score, p. 4

STERN - score excerpt, p. 4
© 2013 by Karlheinz Essl


The score can be downloaded for free. If you are considering performing this piece, please contact me.


Instruments and devices


STERN - for electric violin, prepared piano and vibration speaker

instrumental setup


Piano preparation

Put three rubber tuning wedges between the lowest strings of the piano as shown in the photo. By this procedure, the Bb and B string are entirely muted, whereas the C string is only half muted. Here you need to move the third wedge into a position where the octave partial of the C string will sound.

Place the E-Bow exactly over the 3 strings of the middle D. Find a position along the string where the resulting sustain tone sounds best.

In order to receive the desired result when slamming the piano lid in ms.1 and 74 (the "Big Bang" which creates lots of resonances), you need to remove its rubber dampers.


piano preparation / vibration speaker


Animation Movie

An animation movie based on the music of STERN
© 2014 by Julian Moise and Christoph Überhuber



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Updated: 19 Sep 2016