Wood or Blood?
New scores and new sounds for voice and clarinet
Astrid Kvalbein and Gjertrud Pedersen, Norwegian Academy of Music
What is this thing called a score, and how do we relate to it as performers, in order to realize a musical work? This is the fundamental question of this exposition. As a duo we have related to scores in a variety of ways over the years: from the traditional reading and interpreting of sheet music of works by distant (some dead) composers, to learning new works in dialogue with living composers and to taking part in the creative processes from the commissioning of a work to its premiere and beyond.
This reflective practice has triggered many questions: could the score for instance be conceptualized as a contract, in which some elements are negotiable and others are not? Where two equal parts, the performer(s) and the composer might have qualitatively different assignments on how to realize the music? Finally: might reflecting on such questions influence our interpretative practices?
To shed light on these issues, we take as examples three works from our recent repertoire: Ragnhild Berstad’s Vevtråd (Weaving thread, 2010), Jan Martin Smørdal’s The Lesser Nighthawk (2012) and Lene Grenager’s Tre eller blod (Wood or blood, 2005). We will share – attempt to unfold – some of the experiences gained from working with this music, in close collaboration and dialogue with the composers. Observing the processes from a certain temporal distance, we see how our attitudes as a duo has developed over a longer span of time, into a more confident 'we'.