1: Maja Jokanovic
COTTIDIANUS No. 1 for solo violin is like a capriccio - a technical exercise to be played daily (Latin: cottidianus = daily) using micro-intervals in various forms, without remaining only at the level of instrumental technique. This composition is primarily a sound vision that the soloist should convey to the listener by imaginative playing based on his own experiences. N.B. (1977)
(World première: The international festival “Aspekte” in Salzburg 1982.)
FACINUS No.1 per flauti (with one player ). The instruments used are a piccolo, a concert flute (in C) an alto flute (in G), a bass flute, and a lotus (“scroll”) flute. The changing of instruments during the piece is dictated by the context of musical dramaturgy (Latin: facinus = actions). Sometimes the development of a phrase proceeds from one instrument to another, whereby syntactically different parts are connected or contrasted with each other. Expanding the specific possibilities of each musical instrument is a challenge. The creative fantasy of the composer and the enrichment of the piece by the performer are essential to the realization of a particular work. The composer's attempt to broaden the capabilities of an instrument can have its pitfalls, though, when the innovations are used as ends in themselves. Just creating something “new” at all costs can lead to a musical (and even a personal) crisis. Of course, each instrument has its physical limitations, but when an innovation comes from the deeper regions of the human spirit, thought, and feeling, then the limits of acoustical perception can still be extended.
While seeking to augment the conventional practices of solo instruments, I am stimulated not only by their acoustic properties but also by my years of research on Balkan folk music with its many different influences from Jewish, Indian, Arabian, and Turkish folklore. In “facinus per flauti”, for example, I use tone groups, whose permuted repetitions are based on practices of old folk music. In addition, some of the ways used to color or transform one tone or a melody line are, in effect, stylized and modified folk practices. Actually, the flute, with its ancient Asiatic origin and long development, is ideally suited for such experiments. N.B. (1977)
(World première: 1978 in Venice, Italy).
“Enigmas from the no more New World for Piano”. Fascination, varied impressions, and reflections from my first visit in the United States - as composer- in-residence in California and during extended travels from the west coast to the east - gave rise to this piece. Many aspects from the whole world have flowed into this country. It is not a New World any more but still one with many puzzling details. The title of the composition reflects this theme.
Seven pieces, seven stations of my trip through the United States, seven different points of observation for ”touching” and experiencing an immense land: San Francisco, The Djerassi Foundation/Stanford University, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston. But this is not program music, let alone souvenir music. It is a blend of different feelings, moods, a mix of the objective with the subjective, the coming together of outer and inner vibrations. Each of the seven pieces is dedicated to a composer whom I know personally and respect greatly: John Adams, K.H. Stockhausen, G. Ligeti, P. Boulez, W. Rihm, L. Bernstein, G. Kurtág (in order of the pieces). N.B. (1987)
(World première: 1991 at the Akademie der Künste Berlin during the Berliner Festwochen, where 3 of the pieces were played.)
DIALOGHI per Viola sola belongs to a partially completed series of compositions for solo instruments, whose technical possibilities I strive to expand while carefully heeding their specific parameters and the intended dramaturgy of the corresponding pieces. I also aim for the amalgamation of modern musical thought, feeling, and expression with the Balkan folklore that has emerged from the contact between several cultures. The riches, originality, and irregularity of folk music correspond more closely to the syntax of new music than to the structures of traditional academic music and thus organically fit the expressive resources of new music. My music is also influenced by personal feeling, experience, and a constant striving to stay independent of prevailing fashions, directions, and dogmas.
At the beginning of the first movement of "Dialoghi" - Calmo ma cambiando (calm but changing) - I extend a melodic phrase into a twelve-tone series, continually enriching it with micro-intervals and using it as thematic material for the other two movements - Vezzoso (graceful) and Delirando (fantasizing). This twelve tone series intertwines with stylized elements and with structures and fragments related to the melodic phrase at the beginning. The title "Dialoghi" implies an intention to create a conversation and scenic situations with just one instrument. This effect is achieved by quick changes of pitch, different tone colors, and by varied techniques of playing, all producing a variable "concealed polyphony" related to Bach's solo string sonatas and partitas. "Dialoghi" was commissioned by Walter Felsenstein for a concert series at the Komische Opera in (East) Berlin in 1973. There is also a version for violin solo , dedicated to the Italian city of Siena and its Accademia Musicale Chigiana. The artist I. Pavlov, who lives in Berlin , painted a picture inspired by "Dialoghi". N.B. (1973)
(World première: at the Komische Opera of Berlin in 1975 as part of the 5th Biannual Festival for Contemporary Music .) /The piece was awarded the international "Viotti" composition prize in Vercelli , Italy , in 1978./
CINQ PIÈCES SUR UNE SÉRIE pour Piano (Five pieces on a twelve tone series for piano). Upon the request of my colleagues at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in East Berlin to write something for their students, I composed these piano pieces and another cycle entitled “ Fünf Aspekte und Entwicklung eines Obrases“ (Five Aspects and Development of a Figure). Already at my first compositional attempts in applying the techniques of twelve-tone music, I wanted to develop a personal style and not follow slavishly the rules laid down by the Second Viennese School . Because twelve-tone music was officially banned in East Germany and in the other so-called socialist countries, it appealed to me that much more to make use of it in this and in other compositions. (N.B. 2002) /
In Cinq pièces a twelve-tone series is transformed in various ways to create pieces of contrasting characters. The individual titles are: Quasi ein Bulgarischer Tanz (Quasi a Bulgarian Dance) - Lied ohne Worte (Song Without Words) - Rhythmische Wandlungen (Rhythmic Transformations) - Alter Gesang/Choral/ (Old Hymn /Chorale/) - Toccata. N.B. (1969) (World première: 1969 in Jena, Thuringia)
5-1 EUFONIE for double bass solo is another piece in the series of compositions aiming to expand the tonal and technical possibilities of the respective instrument. The cycle "5-1 Eufonie" starts as though the music were coming from nowhere and ends by disappearing into infinity like a vision. The concept euphonium (Greek for “pleasant sound”) must be understood in the context of a certain culture and time. Why should it not have a place in modern music too?
Inspired by the mathematical notion of arithmetic progression, for the development of the musical event I use a particular principle, whose logic is based on the addition or subtraction of a certain quantity. The piece's very title jokingly alludes to these operations by suggesting that five movements are reduced to four. The structural principle of “5-1 Eufonie” is the ascending and descending progression from a given pitch. Micro-intervals and glissandi are frequently used. Glissandi are also used in my electronic compositions, such as Rotation and Phoenixes, not only as colorful ornamentation, but also for splitting the octave in novel ways in order to attain new sound material. The glissando assumes a new structural function in its various realizations (different intervals, variable speed, variable number of voices, different colorings, such as sul ponticello, harmonics, and harmonics in double stops, and retuning of a string, in this case the E-string at the end of the first movement. Certain elements from Bulgarian folklore also appear. The continuity of the musical development is sometimes interrupted by contrasting material. For instance, arpeggios in the second movement, and playing on the bridge or tailpiece in the third
are interrupted by short melodic fragments. The listener can follow these techniques rather easily in a live performance. Certain aleatory liberties granted the interpreter allow flexibility and creative structuring. The dialectical link between exactness and ad libitum is a rich opportunity for the interpreter to configure the piece according to his temperament and musical ability. An independent and unconventional way of musical thinking is crucial in this respect so that the composition is recreated at each performance - within the given framework - like a living organism . N.B. (1974)
(W. première: 1974 at the 27th International Courses for New Music in Darmstadt)
Nikolai BADINSKI was born in 1937 in Sofia, Bulgaria. He lived from 1962 until 1976 in East-Berlin, when he escaped to the West. He wrote numerous orchestral, chamber music, vocal, electroacoustic and ballet works. Some of these have been performed by ensembles such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, Symphony Orchestra of the Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden, Adritti String Quartet London, the Philharmonic Octet Berlin, Ensemble of the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Choir of Radio France, the Nederland Vocaal Ensemble in Hilversum, Camerata Academica Salzburg and others. He has won several important international prizes for composition, among others the Triest Prize for Symphonic Music, the Viotti and Stockhausen Prizes and also the Prix du Rome. He is member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities in Paris . Great personalities of the international music life value his music. György Ligeti characterizes it as “very refined, very highly rated in its quality”. The ‘musical Pope' H.H. Stuckenschmidt praised in the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' the “ unmistakable personal language” of his music and wrote : “one is captivated until the end” . The notable musicologist Carl Dahlhaus has written that “Badinski combines a well- founded and many-sided musical education with an acute sense for contemporary tendencies; there is a balance between the inclination towards the experimental and an aesthetic conscience dedicated to structural unity.”
Painters in several countries - for instance J.C. Friedrich, Enzo Santini, I. Pavlov - have painted pictures based of his music. Art-films were created presenting the composer and his music (for example,TV of SWF Baden-Baden). Itzhak Tamir
Translation: Marianna Katona/ David Antal