Dialogical Composition

Jakob Kullberg, Research Fellow at Norwegian Academy of Music

Jakob Kullberg’s research project “Dialogical Composition” deals with the hierarchy between composer and performer, and how these established roles can become more equal and more creative on both sides of the fence. 

As part of his project he works with four Nordic composers namely Per Nørgård, Kaija Saariaho, Henrik Hellstenius and Bent Sørensen.

For each composer my project will be divided in two types of processes:

1. Transmogrification: to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely

As a preparatory process each of these four composers have given me assignments that resemble transcriptions in nature, albeit rather impossible or at least less than obvious suggestions for transcription.

Impossible in the sense that the assigned tasks cannot be carried out simply by redistributing the musical components in a new way, or by doubling or omitting existing components. The idea is that each assignment from the composers forces me into a gray area that combines simple re-arrangement with actual composition.

Hence the idea to use the word transmogrification instead of transcription.

It is of key importance to the idea behind transmogrification, that I strive to be creative inside the framework of each composition and that I attempt to stay inside the style of a given composer.

The point with this process is to get deeper into each composer’s music and to start working with their musical material in a more creative way.

The idea stems from the experience of making such a creative transcription of Per Nørgård’s music in close collaboration with the composer.

2. Dialogical Composition

The secondary process is the collaboration on the composition of new works by each of the four composers.

Here the idea is to attempt to meet somewhere in the middle and with each composer try to establish ways with which my creative potential can be utilised whilst still staying within each composer’s musical world.

Jakob Kullberg and Per Nørgård. Photo: Kåre Viemose