Comes awakening, comes time…*) - About the PIANO PIECES

A PIECE of music is an excerpt of a life’s work. In 1952 I devised a plan for 21 PIANO PIECES and 14 of these pieces have been composed to date (1986). PIANO MUSIC concerns every music lover to a greater extent than other music, because he can grasp what is possible with 2 hands and 10 fingers.

He who wishes to gain the most through hearing my PIANO PIECES, copies them onto a cassette, puts on earphones, closes his eyes, imagines seating himself in front of the piano and synchronously moves his hands and fingers - mentally, but even better physically - on the (imaginary) keyboard, parallel with the music.

Doing this, he repeats each piece and individual passages until he is, to some extent, together with the pianist.

Through this process, he becomes aware that this music trains a new kind of human being, who he has not yet become and who has not yet existed on this planet: a human being who can not only experience music which is similar to heartbeats and breathing and walking and running and hammering and sawing and swimming and bicycle riding and dancing and sexing, but who can rather participate in the spacial and temporal differences, leaps, curves, changes of direction in involutionary melodies, rhythms, dynamics which, up to now, would have been considered “superhuman”.

If one considers it at all worthwhile to empathise with the temporal and spacial experiences of other living beings which live faster or slower, narrower or wider than the human being (insects, fish, birds, plants, trees, clouds, etc.), one can actually achieve this only through some few works of new music, which no longer affirm the human being as he is today, but rather take him along on an endless journey into his own future. In this music, one climbs aboard as into a spiritual vehicle, and from that moment on one must pay attention with extreme concentration in order to understand everything if possible and not to fall out.

Thank God that even in such relatively small musical space ships and time machines as the PIANO PIECES, we can experience - through playing along with them in spirit - that even in the thousandth repetition we will make mistakes, and that is a good sign: there is truly something to attain, there one surpasses oneself and each time one leaves behind a piece of the cumbersome sack which one has inherited from the mammals of this planet.

For a start, one could try - even if just for fun - to speak like PIANO PIECE I. “To understand” actually means to initially be able to move innerly in the heard rhythm, in the heard melody and envelope.

It is inestimable progress if one already only grasps in PIANO PIECE I how this new sense of living feels through perceiving the different durations of the musical figures, such as 5 - 3 - 2 - 1! - 4 - 6 - etc., and the rhythmical fluctuations within each figure (for example division by 11 and 7 and 5); their density progression;
the melody jumps as for example in the first two measures and the dynamic differences in the same bars

p pp fff p mf - - - - p ff f mf fff;

when one gradually learns to recognise if 1 pitch or 2 or 3 or 4 or 6 or 9 pitches are simultaneously played; when in PIANO PIECE IX one really becomes aware of why the chord at the beginning and during the course of the piece so elusively staggers and shimmeringly turns within its spectrum as long as it is played exactly in tempo 160 per minute and becomes very gradually softer with depressed resonance pedal; and when one - in the same PIANO PIECE IX - exactly grasps the tempi in the relation of 160 to 60 to 160 (8 : 3 : 8) and with that the durations of the bars in the relationships in the scale of the “golden section” 2 : 3 : 5 : 8 : 13 : 21 : 34 : 55 : 89 : 144.

How much further would we be, if the fantasies of as many human beings as possible could move within the figure labyrinth of the beginning of PIANO PIECE X and in its resonant pauses and silent pauses, and if they could fly along on the roller-coaster of the pitch rays and sound clouds!

Comes awaking, comes time…

(July 20th 1986)

Translation: Suzee Stephens


* Translator’s note: The title of the German original text is “Kommt Rat, kommt Zeit…” (“With counsel, comes time.”). It is the reversal of the German saying “Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat…” (“With time, comes counsel.”).
The only corresponding English saying which I found has spacial significance: “Come space, come grace”. In this case, reversed, it would be: “Come grace, come space.”

It seemed more appropriate to me, however, to choose the free translation “Comes awakening, comes time.”, because what is meant is that a spiritual awakening renders the experience of time more meaningful.