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Thomas Jahn and his composition „Tempo guisto“

(The interview was released in „Impulse“, No.7, May 2004 in „kammermusik heute e.V.“. Interviewer: Stefan Schäfer. The interview is shortened)

You have studied and worked with Hans Werner Henze on the creation of the festival „Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte“ in Montepulciano .For many years you have known him and kept in touch with him. The subtitle „Tempo guisto – Musik zu einer choreographischen Imagination“
(Tempo giusto – music for a choreographical imagination) reminds me some of his compositions. What kind of influence has Mr. Henze on your work as a composer?

You are alluding rightly to compositions like „El Rey de Harlem – imaginary theater for...“ by Henze.
The co-operation with him was one of the most formative impressions of my life. This is due to the circumstances. The co-operation took place during a time when myself wanted to learn and met him as somebody who wanted to learn too. We both were „in permanent training“. He created the Cantiere and he had never done anything like that before. So I saw a man walking on a tightrope. He had a dream and the reality boxed his ears permanently but, what shall I say, with a Machiavellian doggedness he translated his dream into action. So I participated in a progress where the teacher appeared to be strong and weak at the same time. How honest. To experience someone strong in all his weakness is the best instruction in composition and life one can imagine.

 What is conceiled behind the title of your latest composition „Tempo giusto“?

Oh, this Tempo giusto...Odysseys...When I agreed in 2000 to compose a piece my creativity was a raven night  Burn out. For the soul it felt like a long term of unemployment.
At the time I was busy with the sonata da camera and the sonata da chiesa, both children of the suite and therefore dance music. How did all these dance musicians communicate about the tempo of this new fashioned chamber music? They detected from the structure of the scores the behind slumbering dances like Allemanda, Sarabanda, Giga etc. and they played them in the „right tempo“. The „ensemble acht“ are for me the descendents of these dance musicians. For the first time I decided to document the process of development in working reports, in so called „rudiments“, in diaries and correspondences with persons. What kind of influences contributes to overcome the burn out syndrome for a blazing burning fort he music? A friend of mine pointed out with refined irony that figures from E.T.A. Hoffmann like Olympia, Antonia and even Giulietta contribute their share. When faced with irony I am going to the wall. No matter how, for me this process became the program of an imaginary choreography for which I composed the music.
For me the idea is sympathetic that the ensemble gain by working the single parts in a kind of work in progress. In this manner the music was created in
a long working process
A reflection to the economy of the composition. In the past people asked me from where I took so
many notes in my pieces. Indeed, I was unbelievable lavish with musical affects, baroque so to speak. Tempo giusto is quite different. Each note is like a penny turned twice before spending it. The detail becomes more important than the whole. There is the power. The whole is always a matter of reporting but the detail is one of experience.

More Infos: STAGE WORKS "Tempo Guisto"
More Infos: ENSEMBLE "Tempo Guisto"

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