WORKS (selected) in almost reverse chronological order
pa shan hu (2021)
or "Two tigers climb a mountain that seems to have nothing to eat."
for solo voice
A scenic hiking song for Helēna Sorokina
It could be a song that the monkey king Sun Wukong, a god-like being equipped with supernatural powers, sang on his “journey to the west”. In the 16th century novel of the same name, he has to protect the somewhat annoying monk Tripitaka, who regularly stumbles also into the most obvious traps of man-eating demons. The further they go west, the more often they are confronted with opponents who are capable of the art of transformation and deception. In this little piece here, one of the tigers also seems to be a demon with the power of metamorphosis. It turns out to be a demonic tiger-eating creeping plant: a form of boston ivy, a wild wine that climbs and covers entire walls. It is called “pa shan hu” in Chinese, literally translated as “tiger climbing a mountain”. In my little story, this transformed plant lures stray tigers to a mountain top to devour them. During the ascent, the demonic tiger tries to sing a pentatonic song, but the melody seems forced and a bit off, as if he is trying to imitate a folk song without ever having really learned one. He cannot detach himself enough from the newly learned spoken language (and the four tones of Chinese) to sing melodiously flowing lines. He also makes a few small “tone”-mistakes. The real tiger sings at the same time "liang zhi laohu" - the Chinese version of "Frère Jacques", which instead of brother John is about two tigers.
The climbing passages are interrupted by short breaks with dialogue like character. The tigers tell each other about previous climbing tours or try meditation. These moments of rest are also always based on the words of the two songs sung throughout the piece. They are reinterpreted and loaded with scenic gestures.
The higher they climb the mountain, the longer the breaks, the slower the songs and the more tired both climbers get, the more the tension and distrust between the two grows. The increasingly greedy demon tiger sneaks up on its prey, its intervals are becoming smaller and crouched. The real tiger sticks to its initial intervals, but now knows that something is wrong. At the mountain peak, the demon tiger sings a short transformation melody, turns back into his true shape, and shows his evil intentions…
As he descends, he sings the tune backwards and turns back into a tiger.
In my perception, singing provides every language the character of a fantasy language. That's one of the qualities of singing; it opens the language to further associations and other types of understanding. In Chinese this is multiplied by the many meanings that the characters and syllables have. In this way the text turns into a scenic sound poem, painted with concatenated ambiguities.
[ 喂! | Wèi | Hey! / feeding animals ]
一只虎上山 | Yì zhī hǔ shàng shān | a tiger climbs a mountain
山上爬山虎 | Shān shàng pá shānhǔ | up the mountain a tiger climbs
/ up the mountain there is boston ivy
老虎不吃菜 | Láohǔ bù chī cài | Tigers don’t eat vegetables
爬山虎吃虎 | Páshānhǔ chī hǔ | Tigers climbing a mountain eat tigers / boston ivy eats tigers
(Mang Cangcang/Cornelius Berkowitz)
两只老虎 | Liǎng zhī láohǔ | two tigers
跑得快 | pǎo dé kuài | running fast
跑得慢 | Pǎo dé màn |running slow
一只没有眼睛 | Yì zhī méiyǒu yǎnjīng | one does not have eyes
一只没有尾巴 | Yì zhī méiyǒu wěibā | one does not have a tail
两只没有饭吃 | Liǎng zhī méiyǒu fànchī | both have nothing to eat
有没有 | Yǒu méi yǒu | or do they?
真奇怪 | zhēn qíguài | how strange
(Chinese version of “Brother John”/ „Frère Jacques“ with some add ups by Cornelius Berkowitz)
Wachstumsdramen (Dramas of growth) (2020)
a translation for 5 instruments, calligraphy and film.
based on 2 poems by Mang Cangcang with calligraphy from 9shang.
premiered online on 17th of August at pink umbrellas art residency Sao Paolo
In the process of translating a poetic, open and condensed text, the ideas and images of this text are growing, taking side-turns, are disappearing, are re-emerging in variations, there are misunderstandings and sometimes they are getting out of hand and find their own identity. “Dramas of growth” shows the process of translating 2 poems from Chinese into German. The wide semantical polyphony every Chinese character carries, is met with music, video and calligraphy. In this, “Dramas of growth” follows a musical counterpoint logic brought upon the text and pictures.
“Growth” is also the common topic of the 2 poems. One refers to growth in a city environment, one to the biological growth of nature. In the translation process they influence each other and ideas from the first poem take over ideas from the second one. The two poems start to grow into each other. Multiple relations between the poems are created in that way, creating new perspectives on their own dramas. Like in a translation process, not one word pushes away another one, but both remain and grow into each other.
The poet Mang Cang Cang 莽苍苍 lives in Beijing, one of the biggest cities in the world and in a dry northern climate, the composer Cornelius Berkowitz in a small village in the Austrian countryside, the calligrapher 9SHANG九尚 is in Bose (Guang Xi, South China on the border to Vietnam). In their environment all of them experience different forms of growth and the drama it creates. Their communication is based on translations. It is their first collaboration together.
The eyelids still refuse to dry up (2020)
for 4 musicians
This piece is based on the poem 眼睛 (yanjing, "eye") by 莽苍苍 (Mang Cangcang) and thoughts about erosion and change over time. Erosion by wind, sand, water but also by our imagination. What could a place, a landscape become, what was it like before we have seen it. Several transformations are happening in this piece at the same time and in different speeds, sometimes together, sometimes overlapping. Constantly new things appear out of old material. The poem is like another perspective on those transformations. The music brings them together. The piece was inspired by pictures of 恶魔之眼 (devil’s eye) in 青海 (Qinghai), maps of the same area and the music of 王啸 (Wang Xiao).
The piece is like a map of a place changing over time, or like the chemical and physical description of an erosion process, but without having all the colours, surface textures, details and cultural connections to the place it describes. Like a look from far away. Those details, or better this “life” is given to the piece by the musicians playing it. During the piece more and parts come in where the musicians need to improvise and bring in their musical background.
The piece is based on 4 different sound textures that constantly change their shape throughout the piece. They also can be seen as different types of erosion.
Each texture has also 4 different main “shapes”, as well as combinations with each other and “in-between”-shapes. They are gradually changed by erosion from wind, sand, water and imagination. At the end the textures are quite far from their initial shape.
The 4 different sound materials are also distributed onto the 4 musicians. Erosion is not necessary “deleting” things, it is primarily changing things.
The piece also incorporates steadily growing parts of improvisation. So, the “human erosion” - the imagination, is taking over more and more.
Graphic Notation Book #2
Beijing haze and light (2021)
For any instrument or combination of instruments.
This is a musical score.
The city is the rhythm and structure.
Haze and light are color changes.
It is the view from the 16th floor of the dormitory of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing towards east.
Shot between October 2018 and January 2020.
The pictures in this book are not professional photographs. They are merely musical sketches in the form of photography
Graphic Notation Book #1
Landschaft mit Fernportraits 望回信 (2020)
61 pictures that could be musical pieces.
For any instrument or combination of instruments.
All pictures share the same person placed in the center of the picture. Sometimes standing, sitting, hiding, gazing, with different accents, colors, emotional moods and in different positions and sizes. The environment changes from picture to picture, sometimes in distant leaps, sometimes in small steps. There are augmentations and diminuations, variations, sequences and imitations, within one score and also throughout the whole collection. Material appears in all states of growth: blooming, adolescent, fully grown and cut down again, distributed over a field or put into a shelf. The score can be read either from the center outward or from the outer frame inward, following a spiral or concentric circles. This person in the center is the idée fixe of this piece. Its musical shape can change as the situation of the person changes from picture to picture. If the person is big or distinct from the environment the material should be more prominent. If the person is far away, hidden or blurred with the environment it should be more subtle. But all variations should remain in recognizable relation to each other. It is either the beginning or the end of a piece.
10 copies of the book are given to selected musicians and composers. Any numbers of pictures can then be transferred into music.
Gazing for an answer - 望回信.
The selection is based on the gradual darkening of the sun light. Advancing through the hours of the day.
LUKREZ RGB (2018)
music for short film by Andreas Mueller
for theremin, guitar, violin, doublebass, hammered dulcimer
"LUKREZ RGB" interprets Lucretius’ revolutionary theories on the origin of our planet, the celestial bodies and the universe, with intense images. Written over 2,000 years ago the text, which the film is based on, unfolds a lost perspective, that seems outdated from today's point of view. A thought pattern that seems incompatible with our modern research methods and theories, but yet it anticipates the findings of the present sciences. In Lucretius’ text this is shown in his doubt about a higher intelligence, that controls the formation of the universe. A distinction between mind and matter is alien to him, both concepts rank on the same level. In doing so, he allows chance a decisive role in the process of creating the cosmos, whose elements are reduced to their corporeal components.
In analogy to this paradigm, the three primary colors red, green and blue refer in the film "LUKREZ RGB“ to the non-tangible. They represent the basics of the image, the light colors, from which all colors can be formed.
The formal structure of each scene is determined by grids and arches. In the film the grid organises the image surface in a way that inseparably unites similar elements, creating a uniform overall structure, which in turn is broken up by the curves of the arches.
According to the use of these basic elements, the film takes a look back at old techniques of film history with a twinkling eye, and plays with our perception by closely connecting documentary shots and fictional images, that interpret the text.
The music by Cornelius Berkowitz follows the film's images and the ideas of Lucretius into a world of shifted proportions and constellations, which transcends the horizon of our perception. The instruments appearing are the hammered dulcimer, theremin, violin, doublebass and effect pedals. – Carmen Baumschlager, 2018
Andreas Mueller / Mueller concept
Im Sommer als mein Gletscher starb (2018)
for double bass, cello and dulcimer
A piece to be played as a soundinstallation at an exhibition of hoelb/hoeb. Hoelb/hoeb's project IG-Verlust deals with the many forms of loss. In the case of Im Sommer als mein Gletscher starb with the death of a glacier.
Sieben Klingeltöne (2017)
for piano solo
seven short minatures intended to be recorded and used on a phone or to be played as a piece in 7 movements.
for Han-Gyeol Lie
I. 10 Finger zählts an einer Han(d)... für jemand bei dem man nicht rangehen will
II. Telegram Arpeggio
III. WhatsApp oder Facebook
IV. Nerviger Wecker
VI. Warteschleife, wenn am arbeiten...
VII. Wenn die Arbeit anruft
together with Noah Zeldin
Ein Stück für und mit dem Vinylograph
for theremin, hammered dulcimer, guitar, glockenspiel, saxophone and turntable
Analoger Charme entsteht dort wo Unebenheiten oder Abweichungen, bewusst oder zufällig, einen ganz besonderen Reiz und Farbe aufkommen lassen. Wer versucht Schallplatten zuhause mit exakt auf den Kammerton gestimmten Instrumenten zu begleiten, wird unter Umständen bemerken, dass sich da manchmal ein intervallischer Spalt auftut, der von kleinen mikrotonalen Schwebungen bis zu einem Halbton oder mehr anwachsen kann. Abseits der bei der Aufnahme genutzten Stimmungen, hat dies vor allem damit zu tun, dass die Abspiel und auch Aufnahmegeschwindigkeiten, teils sogar bewusst, leichten Schwankungen unterliegen. Für das normale Hören spielt das kaum eine Rolle. Für mein Stück jedoch sollen diese kleinst-Differenzen die Hauptsache werden. Mit einem Instrumentarium (diverse Saiteninstrumente, Metallophone, Saxophon) das teils mikrotonal ineinander und gegeneinander verstimmt ist, sowie mit einem außerhalb aller Stimmungen klingendem Theremin, wird die auf den im Raum vorhanden Plattenspielern ausgetestete Differenz zum musikalischen Material des Stücks. Dabei werden auch Platten selbst als Schallerzeuger zum Einsatz kommen. Mit der Live-Aufnahme des Stückes durch den Vinylograph erlebt das Stück ein weitere Verschiebungen, die die Differenzen zu den ebenfalls abgespielten Referenztönen auf den Plattenspielern wieder gegen Null schwingen lassen. Zwei Seiten hat ja eine Platte, dabei wird auf der A-Seite alles (schnell) um den Ton a kreisen, auf der B-Seite (langsam) um den Ton b.
five unique singles haven been made that day.
Cover artwork by Nieuw NDG.
Grisaille (Intrada) (2016)
Intrada/Overture to be played next to Hieronymus Bosch' "The Last Judgment" tryptich
For hammered dulcimer, theremin, viola, saxophone
Performed as part of "Excuse my dust III". A concert organized by Verein akut in cooperation with Wien Modern and Modeschule Herbststrasse) based on Hieronymus Bosch' "The Last Judgment".
Listening example is an excerpt of the 1,5h piece. Performed while the audience was wandering through the gallery.
Photo: Dina Lucia Weiss
Körkarlen (The Phantom Carriage / Der Fuhrmann des Todes) (2016)
A silent film in concert. Victor Sjöström, 1921
For violin, recorders, paetzold flutes, alt-saxophone, tenor-saxophone, electric guitar, electric bass, theremin, hammered dulcimer, glockenspiel
UNSAFE + SOUNDS Festival
Quasi parlando (2016)
Based on texts by Lukrez and Leoš Janáček
For theremin, flute, saxophone, violin and voice
Kann man Musik verstehen? Verstehen, so wie wir Zeichen, Wörter, Mimik verstehen? Kann Musik Bedeutung transportieren, sie gar aus sich heraus entwickeln? Die Musikphilosophie denkt seit der Antike über die Verbindung und Wechselwirkung von Musik und Wort nach, sucht nach Grammatiken, nach dem "richtigen" Ausdruck, nach Verständnis, angetrieben noch durch das Aufkommen der Oper. Nichts anderes macht dieses Stück, es denkt "laut" über Musik und Wort nach.
Космический рейс (Kosmicheskiy Reys / Cosmic Voyage) (2015)
A silent film in concert. Vasili Zhuravlov, 1935
For electric guitar, theremin, glockenspiel, hammered dulcimer and loop station
La Selva (2015)
Music for the film inside/outside (2015) by Sophie Lembke
For electric guitar, theremin and percussion
Concert installation for a video object by hoelb/hoeb
For electric guitar, tuning fork, theremin and loop station
Exhibition Es geht voran, Feldbach, Styria
Wandering Tribe (2012) (by my alter ego)
Music for a performance/fashion show by Christina Dörfler (Christina Raab)
For Paetzold flute, recorder, percussion, cello, trumpet and fluegelhorn Spatial composition
Choreography by Bettina Foeldesi
Nagelschritt voraus (2011) (by my alter ego)
For string trio and three voices
Text by Maria Hofer
Drei Sonette treffen auf Prosatexte und ein Streichtrio und bewegen sich dabei zwischen Genres wie Hörspiel, Kammerminiaturoper, Monodram, Lesung und Rezitativ. Es bedient sich dabei alten Formen und Ideen aus dem neueren Musiktheater. Die Musik steht zu den Texten in einer gespalteten Beziehung. Sie ist Kommentar, Kontrahentin, Zwischenruferin, Pflegerin und Erbschleicherin, sie führt einen motivisch-thematisch komponierten Dialog mit dem Text. Die Bühnenhandlung ist miniaturisiert und zieht sich in die Sprache selbst zurück.