On the Sound Path

International Recital Project on Identity, Technology, and Tradition

April 7, 2013    Kings Place London
July 11, 2013    Suono Sacro Assisi
September 19, 2013    Konzerthaus Berlin

Kairos Quartett, EXPERIMENTALSTUDIO des SWR und Marco Stroppa/Carlo Laurenzi

Georg Friedrich Haas (*1953)  •  String Quartet No. 4
        with live electronics [2003]  First Performances in UK, IT, DE
Marco Stroppa (*1959)  •  Spirali for string quartet projected into the space [1987-88]
Roberto David Rusconi (*1976)  •  De Imago (Materia) Sonora – String Quartet No. 4 with live electronics [2012] WP

For decades electronics have had a significant impact on the music of our time and have long since established its own traditions and styles. At the same time the term identity has gained several new angles of perception while the difference between original and copy has been annihilated by way of digitalization. In spite of huge technological progress purely electronic music is still perceived as lacking emotional grip and patina while the absence of a physical performer does not help communication with the audience. All these factors contributed to the success of live electronics which combine technology with the traditional interaction of performer and audience. Live electronics as an instrument of sound extension, spatialization or serving as additional dimensions have spawned new ways of identity-building and have given a great boost to experimental and conceptual composition and improvisation.

On the Sound Path makes a case in point with string quartets from the 80s to the presence. It is a cooperative project led and curated by the Kairos Quartet and partnered with intrasonus London, the Experimental Studio of the South Western Radio (GER), Suono Sacro Assisi, and the Konzerthaus Berlin. The live electronic gestures of Marco Stroppa‘s Spirali will be performed by the composer himself.
The initial thrust for this project was Roberto Rusconi‘s plan to compose a string quartet with the poetic idea of the double, the Doppelgänger, in mind for the Kairos Quartet. Soon ideas were ricocheting across the channel between him and the quartet‘s cellist. It was clear to the Kairos Quartet that Haas Fourth String Quartet was ideally suited to this topic as it constantly records and plays back the quartet‘s actions thereby tweaking speed and pitch. Stroppa‘s Spirali on the other hand concentrates on the wide field of spatialization possibilities, the sonic equivalent of perspective; also it uses recurring identities in its quartet score. Rusconi‘s latest string quartet uses live electronics in a more comprehensive way than either of the other compositions in this programme, but always acting in the quartet‘s wake.

This project was made possible by a grant from the HKF (Hauptstadtkulturfonds) which sponsors selected international projects connected with the German capital, Berlin, and which has already supported another initiative of the Kairos Quartet in the past.
The Kairos Quartet‘s first ever performance took place 1996 at the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt with the Experimental Studio – thus, the quartet‘s London debut marks the seconds cooperations both with the Studio as well as with Roberto Rusconi whose previous string quartet was also premiered by the Kairos Quartet.