as if from behind a wall, usually quietly (and
sometimes – consistently quietly), nothing
happens, nothing will happen, there will be
no emotions, no eruptions, no catastrophes,
just this nature of naked sounds,
music decorating time like wallpaper, quite
frankly – it’s hopelessly unremarkable. […]
The only exceptional thing about it is the
composer’s approach to creation, to music.
It can be roughly summed up as a negation
of the value of composing as such, as
juxtaposing notes in elaborate relations,
layering, creating interesting combinations
of textures and sounds.” [Bogusław
Schaeffer, Kompozytorzy XX wieku, vol. II,
Od Messiaena do Capriolego, Wydawnictwo
Literackie, Kraków 1990, pp. 131–132].
This is what Bogusław Schaeffer wrote
about his fellow composer, Morton Feldman,
while simultaneously formulating his
own anti-credo. And indeed, such multiplicity
of sound events and musical actions
should lead to the creation of a unique
type of texture which thrives on elaborate
instrumental juxtapositions. Schaeffer,
however, did not avoid situations in which
the threat of revealing a lack of textural
ingenuity would be greater than when composing
for nine instruments, including two
xylorimbas, two celestas, two harpsichords
and two vibraphones. He also composed for
two pianos, for piano four-hands, and even
for a clavichord. This album invites you to
listen to five such pieces presenting the
composer’s strategy of attention to “texture
in the service of form and expression,”
but which are also free of “shortcuts.”
Dialogues pour deux pianos  is,
according to the author’s comments,
music of microepisodes or microfragments
(as many as three hundred and fifty four!),
filling fifty pages of score devoid of agogic
accents or elements of graphic notation.
One might say: a piece of honest compositional
work of laborious note placing.
A diligent rendition of the score produces
an astounding effect. It is Schaeffer in his
mature phase, a composer almost no one
knows (or knew).
The original version of Uneinigkeiten für
zwei Klaviere (eins davon mikrotonal
gestimmt) , a composition for two
pianos, including one (the second of the
two) tuned to microtonal scales, is comprised
of not eighteen but twenty parts,
each with its own title [square brackets
include the number of the parts published
1. [1.] Musica unita a proiezioni di colori.
2. [2.] Eine Wanze liebt eine andere Wanze.
3. [3.] Synthistory Ybbs.
4. [4.] Locker assoziativ aneinandergereiht.
5. [5.] Nocturne für Natascha.
6. To π or not to π (3,14159265 oder 22/7).
7. [6.] Musica di consumo
8. Balzac in Salzburg.
9. [7.] Monotonie.
10. [8.] Gebet eines Atheisten.
11. [9.] Quantité négligeable.
13. Capriccio bulversante.
14. “Nu, schtosche ti …”.
15. Hommage à Nobody.
16. [10.] Entsitzlich.
17. [11.] Musica assoluta.
18. [12.] Katscho.
19. [13.] Ein Mann – ein Wort; zwei Worte –
20. [14.] Mikrotönend bewegte Form.
21. [15.] It Is Curious That Mrs Soundso Is
Now Wearing A Watch Similar To The Lost
One By My Wife.
22. [16.] Die entartete Melodie.
23. Musica visiva.
24. [17.] Why not.
25. [18.] Quod erat demonstrandum.
When preparing the piece for publishing,
the composer decided to delete not only
seven of its parts and all the subtitles,
but also the instruction to “Change
your seats (for No N°-16),” resulting in
Andrzej Karałow playing the tuned piano
throughout the entire composition (in
Dialogues and Concerto after the first
piano). What is even worse, the author
also decided to remove the instructions
on how to perform the microtonal tuning.
The only piece of information available at
first to the creators of this album was the
enigmatic phrase “2 KLAVIER: mikrotonal
umgestimmt [1/19 bis 7/8]” ( see: fig. 1)
included in the imprint on the first page.
The manuscript for the piece equipped with
precious instructions ( see: fig. 2) was
discovered by Jadwiga Hodor in her private
archive, which made it possible to prepare
a list of frequencies ( see: fig. 4) that was
subsequently passed to the tuner, Wojciech
Kuleczka. The microtonal effect is most
prominent in parts 1. [1.], 4. [4.], 5. [5.],
11. [9.], 17. [11.], 19. [13.], 24. [17.], 25.
[18.] and, reportedly, in part 8 which is not
included on this album.
How should an interpreter approach aSa for
clavichord solo ? What strain should
the instrument be able to withstand? Contrary
to the score of Dialogues pour deux
pianos, this notation includes many verbal
comments. “Free.” “Mechanical, precise.”
“Attack other sounds before extinction.”
“Very full-sounding.” “Ferociously, with
utmost strength.” “Unspecified sounds.”
“«Like crazy».” “Fast, irregular chord
progressions (occasionally arpeggiato).”
“On the body of the instrument.” “Great
activity: a large number of manual actions
played as fast as possible.” “Very fast and
tight tremolo.” “As loud as possible.” “As
rapidly as possible.” “Shake or scratch at
the microphone.” “Very irregular tremoli.”
“Hard, short, brutal.” “Maximum change
in dynamic, attack and timbre.” “Murmur,
whisper.” “Very high screams.” “Speak”…
These are the most characteristic of the
notes. Additionally, in parts 4., 5., 7., 8., 9.
and 10. there is a tape (recorded each time
by a clavichord player), and in 5. and 9. it
appears twice. What is more, each part has
an internally-contrasted, multi-sectioned
structure in which various notation forms –
music notes, approximative and graphic
notation – work to maximize expressive
abilities. Not of the archaic instrument
(with its numerous natural, inherent limitations)
but of the performing virtuoso.
Some might claim that by employing
unspecified notation the composer
shies away from his responsibility for the
final sound shape of the composition.
In fact, however, he grants part of this
responsibility to his trusted performer –
his dedicant Annette Sachs – and by
publishing his work in print he agrees
to its independent life and subsequent,
individual renditions. Nevertheless, they
will be largely predictable, as Schaeffer
does not equate “approximation” with
“freedom.” Only the parts that “have no
meaning” are left unspecified. The lack of
a legend excludes any symbolic reading,
but the representative character
of graphic notation is quite imposing.
Especially when combined with directions
presented in natural language (or even
in three languages!) and an appropriate
predisposition of the interpreter, it has to
produce the effect of “pure expression”
fully programmed by the composer. Maciej
Piszek performs it on a copy of Christian
Gottfried Friederici’s 1773 clavichord
which is part of the collection of Musée
de la musique in Paris. The instrument
was built by Gregor Bergmann in 2019,
belongs to Daniel Nowak and was tuned by
4 H / 1 P : music for piano: four hands – one
piano  is no “ordinary piece for four
hands.” In fact, it was created for twenty
fingers realizing music which permeates
the instrument. The music of extremities,
with its dynamics ranging from pppp
to ffff (sometimes in succession, chord
after chord!), with its prestissimo possibile
tempo, elements of improvisation, playing
the strings, glissandi performed with the
forearm on white and black keys, free play,
freedom in ordering the parts, as well as
with its finishing crescendo in opposition to
its internally-contrasted beginning. And it
is a stunning crescendo that can make us
think of the last of Twenty Gazes upon the
Child Jesus by Olivier Messiaen. The dominant
feature of this technical “pianola”
composition is its one-dimensionality: each
of its components is of the same importance
and remains in the foreground.
The reversed chronology of this album is
completed by the early Concerto for Two
Pianos , written when Schaeffer
was studying under Artur Malawski. It is
not, however, a composition created to be
presented to a teacher. Ludomira Stawowy
explains that “students were considered
good when they managed to write something
good during harmonics classes (such
as a variation for piano), Malawski reserved
composing for himself; a young creator
had thus no chance to write independent
pieces which would go beyond the elementary
teachings of theoretical subjects.
When someone presented a sample of an
authentic, original composition, they met
with ironic, and sometimes unjustified,
criticism.” [Ludomira Stawowy, Joanna
Zając, Bogusław Schaeffer. Kompozycje
muzyczne. Sztuki teatralne, Collsch Edition,
Salzburg 1998, p. 34]. We will find here
themes that are still emotional, naive,
dance-like, sentimental; it is by no means
abstract music, it focuses on “normative”
expression which will return in the works of
Schaeffer as a mature composer, in contrast
with his exerimental or serious pieces.
For Schaeffer liked writing „light, easy and
pleasant” music. We will talk, however,
about Kesukaan or Entertainment Music
in the comments published together with
subsequent albums in the “BSCH” series,
which we hereby declare open.
has bonus items, free:
1. Dialogues pour deux pianos 23:30
2-19. Uneinigkeiten für zwei Klaviere
(eins davon mikrotonal gestimmt) 10:52
20-29. aSa for clavichord solo 15:13
30. 4 H / 1 P : music for piano: four hands – one piano 08:39
31-37. Koncert na 2 fortepiany
(Allegro, Blues 1, Scherzo, Tango, Variants, Blues 2, Finale) 17:43
Andrzej Karałow – piano
Maciej Piszek – piano (1-19,
30-37), clavichord (20-29)
Recorded in the Witold
Studio of Polish Radio in
Recording – Ewa Olejnik
with Witold Osiński
(Dialogues, aSa, Koncert)
Editing, mixing and
mastering – Ewa Olejnik
Tape in aSa for clavichord
solo – Ewa Olejnik
(recording), Maciej Piszek
Executive production –
Judyta Grabowska Rasek,
Layout and design –
Essay – Konrad Jeliński
Translation – Beata
Wydawnictwo dofinansowano ze środków Ministerstwa Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego pochodzących z Funduszy Promocji
Kultury, w ramach programu „Muzyczny ślad”, realizowanego
przez Instytut Muzyki i Tańca
(C) Aurea Porta Foundation 2019 (P) Aurea Porta Foundation & Bôłt Records