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Chapter 9
The members of Ber.I.O. had a repertoire of hand signs available at any time, invoking
changes in texture, dynamics, material choices and rhythmic features, and these cues
could be directed to any number of sections (or soloists) within the orchestra, by any
number of conductors. Kaluza added that:
Everyone can be a conductor... it’s not about being a leader or dominating
anybody - it’s more a game... suddenly there is a duo or suddenly a solo. And
that just doesn’t happen without. [...] It’s a problem and a misunderstanding
to think now there’s someone in front of us, who just wants to show his or
her power to dominate an orchestra. [...] It’s not the point.. even if you
suddenly think this conductor’s suddenly conducting too long, you can just
go there and you can start conducting as well, and suddenly there are two anything is possible.
She continued, that:
We all know that if we don’t feel well with someone conducting us, or don’t
like a situation, then we can always rebel... [and] if you think,“Well no,
the music seems to want this or that”, then do it! It’s OK. We’re all still
responsible for it. [...] And then... usually afterwards, the conductors say
“Yeah, great, it was good when you just joined in without me.”
Neither of the orchestras, however, abandoned ‘real’ improvising entirely, and both
juxtaposed Rule- or Concept-based pieces and entirely improvised pieces in performance
(Splitter Orchestra also occasionally working with Neue Musik composers).
Members of Splitter and Ber.I.O. agreed that after a concentrated period of rehearsal
(ideally several weeks together) and after much work on Rules, Concepts and Conduction,
that ‘working’ ‘real’ improvisation should be a possibility, but only once group members
had ‘tamed’ their urges to play, a suitable Field had been established, and conventions
had been agreed as to the nature of their interactions and aesthetic intentions.
3. Working with Composition, and Improvisation as a basis for
Collective Composition
To conclude this Chapter, this section turns towards improvisers who used even
more composed (or pre-meditated) elements in their work, with musicians from jazz
and (Post-)Free Jazz using written compositions to intersperse their improvisations,
and ‘performer-composers’ from the Echtzeitmusik/(Post-)Reductionist scene creating
‘Echtzeit Compostions’, in which ‘composed’ and ‘improvised’ elements were chosen,
explored and mediated in a variety of different ways.
A further example of improvisers’ compositional activities, which could equally have
been included here, is that of electronic musicians’ electroacoustic works, however, owing