Hear the Bells
I can hear Karlheinz Essl in the town of Schwaz in
Tyrol, as he recounts it, performing his new work Sonnez la Cloche, for the
festival Klangspuren. Silver town Schwaz rolls up a verdant ramp towards the
piercing grandure of pointed, weighty mountains.
With a sample of the bells of the Schwaz church Karlheinz began. He took the
best chunk out of a pealing, rollicking bell recording. Then he put that sample
into his laptop. Then using all his self-adjusted sound modules he turned the
sample (a snapped shot in sound) into a continuum. By that I mean he made the
excerpt into an unending stream of music and, while the stream was flowing,
used his sound modules to gradually vary the sound. I hear it all D minory,
with that lovely bell thing on the subdominant, the G. He glissandoed the whole
thing up, as if he were propelling the church into the Alpine air. Then it stayed.
Then it fluttered. Then it got so dismantled that the bells became dust in the
Inn Valley. Then it went all rhythmic and semiquavery. The whole cushion of
sound subsided into the snow and silence of the Alps.
During the first performance, Karlheinz broadcast the entire music, as he was
performing it, from the church tower in Schwaz. He had waited till the real
bells were pealing and mixed the performance with them.The good citizens of
Schwaz had sound poured all over their day. And that is what this music is meant
to do change the very Alpine air we breathe, if only till the bells cease
S.F., based on an explanation by Karlheinz Essl.