John Pavik Performs Hen Otte's "Book Of Sounds"

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John Pavik Performs Hen Otte's "Book Of Sounds"
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Trinosophes says
Hans Otte (1926-2007) was a German composer, pianist, radio promoter, and author of many pieces of musical theatre, sound installations, poems, drawings, and art videos. From 1959 to 1984 he served as music director for Radio Bremen.

From the early 1960s onwards, Otte frequently presented contemporary experimental American composers in his Bremen radio festival, Pro Musica Nova, among them John Cage, David Tudor, Terry Riley, and Lamonte Young. His own catalogue of works contains more than 100 works.Some of Otte's works, especially his extended suites for solo piano, are characterized by very minimal means but are nevertheless subtle and sophisticated in their architecture and expression. Das Buch der Klänge(The Book of Sounds, 1979–82) and Stundenbuch (Book of Hours, 1991–98) are his best known works in this vein, and Otte often performed them himself.

Written between 1979 and 1982 after a multi-day retrospective of his entire oeuvre at the Baden-Baden Festival, The Book of Sounds is Otte's attempt to wipe out his own history, to begin with a blank slate. If this sounds a lot like John Cage, it is no doubt his influence that hovers over these proceedings. But the methodology is different. Otte's training could not help but be brought into play here; his sheer pianism (he studied with both Paul Hindemith and Walter Giesseking) touches not only upon his historical relationships, but his ideas about how simply he regards the piano as a an instrument of transcription, of delivery: simple, clean, immediate.

The floating harmonies, which are the result of unresolved unions of majors and minors in interaction with one another without dissonance, are hauntingly beautiful. The sense of pushing a note or a series of small chords into one another before allowing space to reclaim them is another hallmark of the work. In this way, without just intonation at its base, it has a sonorous relationship to LaMonte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano. This is deeply moving, mysterious piano music,; in fact it is -- as the late Pandit Faquir Pran Nath remarked when he heard the composer perform it in the '80s -- like a prayer.

John Pavik is a Detroit freelance organist/pianist representing such organizations as St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Michigan Opera Theater Children's Chorus, and Opera MODO. He holds a Bachelors of Music in Organ Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His relationship with Hans Otte's "Book of Sounds" began as a collaborative, multi-pianist performance in Greensboro, North Carolina and has since become a solo endeavor performed throughout the East Coast. Tonight's presentation of the twelve-part work explores the infinite possibilities of not only the unaltered piano but sound itself. The audience is invited to be challenged and enthralled by this underrepresented 20th century work.

Doors at 8 pm; $5.
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By: Trinosophes

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