Márcio Steuernagel

A Mis•encyclopaedia of Musical Imperfections

Kaoko Amano, Eric Lamb, Veronica Klavzar, Stefanie Prenn, Ángela Calvo Rios

A Mis•encyclopaedia of Musical Imperfections presents a compendium of solo cycles composed by Márcio Steuernagel exploring musical imperfection. This collection focuses on elements of each instrument which cannot be fully predicted, controlled, or repeated, or are elsewise extremely risky and unreliable; aspects which resist notation or deviate greatly from it in performance; elements which directly oppose established classical performance practice and techniques. In short, things “that do not really work,” or are, in one way or another, imperfect. The concert is structured as a “mys•encyclopaedia”, superposing two different curatorial approaches: on one hand, it creates an inventory of musical imperfections as embodied in each different instrument. The listener can contemplate some imperfections afforded by the flute, others by the cello, and so on. On a second and perhaps deeper lever, it collects and sets into play many different senses of musical imperfection. In both curatorial approaches, the album subverts the 18th century encyclopaedic spirit. The senses of musical imperfection that emerge in the music do not subject to a tidy taxonomy of categories and sub-categories, but rather connect in a furiously rhizomatic manner, continuously shifting: a mobile quickly spinning on its multiple axes. The focus on imperfection creates a great amount of deviation between each performance of the same score, enhancing the impossibility of a single perfect interpretation. For this reason, some of the pieces that comprise each solo cycle are played more than once. The selected repeated movements are aggregated around a common sense of musical imperfection with its neighbouring pieces, in a principle akin to an encyclopaedical entry.

(regardless of order)

Becoming (2019)
– four études and an aria for solo oboe
            étude: dynamics (summoning)
            étude: registers (a bird)
            étude: multiphonics (quasi un corale, quasi Monteverdi)
            étude: repeated notes (take a digeridoo)
            aria: becoming 

Études para Quijote (2019)
– seven études for solo harp
            étude: harmonic interference (a game of bells)
            étude: one-finger tremolo (fanfare)
            étude: basso (battuto, feroce)
            étude: glissandi (pasacalle)
            étude: ostinato (ad lib, ma veloce)
            étude: arco (Aria on the G strings)
            étude: classical harmonics technique (a broken lullaby)

The Great in-Betweenness (2020)

– six études and three melodies for solo flute
            étude: trills (it shimmers, shivers: lives)
            étude: whistle tones (a fugue of failures)
            une mélodie
            étude: different articulations (molto parlante)
            étude: transitions (inbetweennesses)
            uma melodia
            eine Melodie
            étude: over/under-blowing (bodily: a pífano dance)
            étude: diaphonic/multiphonic (…but how many voices unsung?)

five meditations for solo soprano –

on the unspeakable NAME of (2021/2022)
            meditation: ex-/ins-piration
            meditation: più lento possible (impossibly slow)* première
            meditation: vibrato, trillo, coloratura (terribilis iubilatio)
            meditation: low, lower, then lower still (sequentia)* première
            meditation: impossible vowels (a self-sung lullaby) 

always only once again (2021/2022)

– three études, a pilgrimage and a prayer for solo cello
            étude: residual pitches (corali & tempi emergenti)
            pilgrimage: once in our hearts
            étude: residual sounds (molto cantabile – ma segreto!)
            pilgrimage: once again in our hearts
            étude: non-/harmonic (uncontrolled, unknown, yet wished-for)
            tunning-prayer (a change of soul)
            pilgrimage: once again in our hearts


Ángela Calvo Rios, oboe
Veronica Klavzar, harp
Eric Lamb, flute
Kaoko Amano, soprano
Stefanie Prenn, cello


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