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Playing Together: Four Levels of Improvisation and Two Axes of Appreciation
to this area’s connection to the topic of recording, this subject is explored in Chapter
1. Jazz-Related Composition
For Antonio Borgini, although interested in ‘real’ improvising (without Tricks and
Concepts), a second area of his output used written compositions to achieve musical
results which never would have come about through improvisation alone.68
In this area, for Borghini, improvisation and composition were considered equal in value
but different in quality, and each was used to realise specific musical aims:
I confront the two languages on the same level, and I still think that what
you get out of improvisation [is] something that you don’t find when the
music is written. [...] As improvisers we pay the price of not having any
score or written music, but... when it’s all written... you will never get the
kind of things that happen when you improvise.
Contrasting his work with the larger jazz tradition, he continued:
The jazz tradition, is basically improvising within a composition, and what
I’ve experienced [here], is having compositions within the improvisational
process... the other way round.
Inspiration for composition came from several sources, and compositions were not
aesthetically limited, even within one group or performance. Christian Lillinger pointed
out that:
It can be everything - a bit from jazz, a bit from new music, but actually it’s
just about moving between composed music and improvised music. That
means that what we’re doing is just not to totally notate a complete work.69
[...] [Instead, we are] looking for atmospheres and moods that make good
starting points for improvisation, if we compose at all.
He continued that, in his own group, Grund :
There are songs, and clearer things, but these are only helpful in terms
of arriving somewhere, or finding a quick consensus in the band. [...] We
improvise pretty manically, so... it’s good to have both.
It was also important for Lillinger that composition created focus and enabled him to
realise musical outcomes that would not come about through ‘real’ or even Conceptual
See p. 251.
This area of Borghini’s work could be heard with Tristan Honsinger, Die Lange Schatten and his
own group Manunkind. See p. 184 for more on Borgini’s ‘real’ improvising.
The term ‘work’ was used loosely, not in a strict musicological sense.