(Un-) settling Sites and Styles: Performers in Search of New Expressive Means

University of Bergen, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design

Project manager: professor Einar Røttingen

This project aims to widen the area of what we can express, demonstrate and talk about in the performer’s search for expressive means when transmitting a musical composition’s expressive intentions into performances. Through the study of scores and relevant sources focusing on personal artistic reflections and intersubjective exchanges within a research group, the project seeks to get new insight into performative processes and make a contribution to developing and renewing ways we express ourselves as musicians in our music, and how we speak about our music within and outside music institutions.

The selected compositions are by 20th century and contemporary Norwegian composers within the categories piano, voice and strings. The main group of composers – Harald Sæverud, Geirr Tveitt, Fartein Valen, Klaus Egge, Ludvig Irgens-Jensen and Morten Eide Pedersen – represent stylistic diversity and artistic individuality. At the same time, they epitomize the search for new aesthetic directions in the 20th and 21st centuries, situated in a Norwegian, cultural context.  Their music is still about to establish performance traditions, yet hardly any artistic research has been done and questions prevail as to how these composers’ styles and expressivity could be understood and interpreted. The project’s main aim is to gain new insight into these composers’ performance practices through new forms of discourse within and about their art works. In addition, the project will include a dialogue-based development of a new composition by Knut Vaage focusing on the interactive process between the performer and composer. 

The methodological approaches have their basis in the performers’ individual working processes, within which a wide range of elements already informs artistic practice. The research aims to show the diversity of individual approaches and – through the mutual exchange and interaction of members the research group – will get closer to the core of the performative interactions and be able to convey their individual experiences in a comprehensible language. This includes the exploration and recognition of metaphors, images, and analogies, as well as practical, non-verbal means of expression used to explain questions of expressivity. Further, this implies to experiment with new ways and the creation of new, possible models and methods for how interaction and dialogue between performers can (un-) settle individual expressive practices, based on a deeper understanding for the contingencies of performative situations, sites, and styles.

The research will include the investigation of concert performances in different venues and examine recording situations with interacting musicians, sound technician and producer as performative acts in order to discern in what way expressivity and the choice of expressive means is affected by different contexts in relation to artistic strategies and results. 

The artistic results will be documented in concerts, recordings, videos and texts on performative issues and processes.

 

 

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