Aisha Khalid: I AM AND I AM NOT

Christine Paté, accordion
Matthias Badczong, clarinet

works by Dieter Schnebel, Toshio Hosokowa, Paté & Badczong

Zilberman Gallery, Berlin

27 April 2017.  The series of multivalent works comprising Aisha Khalid’s I AM AND I AM NOT provided unique inspiration for ITINERANT INTERLUDE #14. The three musical works performed that evening – two compositions and one improvisation – present different perspectives on the idea of repetition, allusion, and the resilience of tradition, and as such, offer an aural counterpoint to the works represented in the exhibition.

Repetition of the musical interval, the musical phrase, is a prominent feature of “Trauermusik für Michael Hirsch” (2017), composed by Dieter Schnebel (b. 1930), in memory of the recently deceased friend and colleague to whom the work is dedicated. Sequences of repeated intervals lead to a final section which introduces a musical phrase referencing the name of the composer; as if being viewed from differing perspectives, the phrase is then presented in varying permutations, with sections repeated ad lib according to the prerogatives of the performers. Time becomes elastic.

While composing “Melodia” (1979) for solo accordion, Toshio Hosokawa (b. 1955, Hiroshima) described his search “for a new sound dimension”. The main catalyst for the work, says the composer, was the idea of the sheng, the traditional Chinese mouth organ, an instrument consisting of 17 vertical reed pipes, whose origin dates back to the 11th century BCE. In excerpts from the work that will be presented this evening, quiet intervals build to create fascinating soundscapes, a sonic metaphor for the mesmerizing optical fields of Aisha Khalid. Indeed, the inspiration for “Melodia” as a whole can be seen to intersect in the broadest sense with I AM AND I AM NOT inasmuch as a contemporary Japanese composer’s inspiration reaches back to ancient China, the historical roots of the figurative miniature tradition of the Mughal Empire, a technique central to Aisha Khalid’s visual language.

The third performance of the evening put the improvisational talents of the performers on display, in particular, their intimate knowledge of the myriad possibilities of sonic interplay of timbre, gesture and extended techniques between their two instruments. Paté and Badczong have taken inspiration from I AM AND AM NOT and will perform a duet to accent and counterpoint the works on view.

Just as the works of I AM AND I AM NOT embody a wealth of references through space and time, so too, the program of ITINERANT INTERLUDE #14 aspired, in this more ephemeral encounter, to lend an acoustic dimension to similar artistic concerns.

As much sought-after interpreters of contemporary music, Christine Paté and Matthias Badczong have toured widely and recorded extensively both as soloists and in appearances with many of today’s leading ensembles of new music. They have been performing together since 1996 as the duo “clarinet-accordion plus”, presenting an on-going chamber music series that invites soloists and ensembles of every persuasion to collaborate with them in programs that traverse genre and generation, incorporating theatrical elements or interactions with visual artists, and often also featuring their formidable improvising talents.