"Drei Steine hoch" (1999) for panflute and guitar

extract score, 1999

You'll find my kind-of-opus-one 'Drei Steine hoch' from 1999 on the CD of ensemble verso (Mathijs Koene, panflute and Stefan Gerritsen, guitar). The CD came out on the Karnatic Lab Records-label.

Listen to some examples here!
You can purchase the CD for 15 Euro here.

"Helbich has two short movements and a long one, at times shrill enough to please dogs..." (La Folia, Online Music Review)

Program note:

Drei Steine hoch (1999)
"Information as well can be a form of beauty."

In Drei Steine hoch (three stones high), the music “surfs” a hallucinogenic collage of styles, techniques and gestures at a high tempo. While the form is therefore additive, in moments this flow of linearity is interrupted and the music dives into deeper layers of the technical and musical material.

Through out most of the piece the players relate in a quasi-heterophony to each other: going the same way, but not in the same way. That supports the characteristics of the panflute and the guitar as well as their equally strong effort to extend these idiomatic boarders.

The focus is a (qualitative) differentiation more than an (quantitative) expansion of the instrumental possibilities, with the aim, to get an impression of the artistic potential behind. At last, it might represent the utopia of collectively performing individuals.

These ideas are reflected in the choice of the title: it implies a concrete measurement of three times something, but this summation is relative, since the three individual stones could be of different sizes.

Drei Steine hoch was written at the request of Matthijs Koenen and Sfefan Gerritsen in 1999 while we where all studying in Amsterdam. Not long after, I wrote another piece for the same instrumentation (panflute or recorder plus guitar), In Stein. Even though, the two pieces are quite different from each other in terms of their aesthetics, together, they represent a shifting point in my compositional interests towards the 'performative aspects' of composed live-music.

A brilliant summary of pan-flute techniques in contemporary music  by Matthijs Koene with some score examples of Drei Steine hoch, you can find here.  


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