Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf/ Frank Cox/ Wolfram Schurig (Eds.), Substance and Content in Music Today, [New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century, Vol. 9], 200 pp., Pb., in English, with musical examples, (Wolke Verlag), Hofheim 2014
Content and substance (Gehalt) in music is the difficult theme of this volume. The central questions are the following: in what manner is music more than immanence, structure, and autonomous meaning, and to what degree do »extramusical« ideas and conceptions shape the work so that more appears to be in it than music alone. This theme is above all relevant for contemporary music of the twenty-first century, as ever more composers are interested both in cultural discourse and in a content-orientation for their music. How they approach such themes varies widely.
The present volume presents essays by Mark Barden, Dániel Péter Biró, Frank Cox, Suzanne Farrin, Wieland Hoban, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Timothy McCormack, Kai Johannes Polzhofer, Wolfram Schurig, Hannes Seidl, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Ming Tsao. All of these composers were invited to ponder the relationship between musical structure and the substance of music in light of their own musical practices.
Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf: What Is the Meaning of Musical Substance?
Mark Barden: Staging Absence—the Immaterial »im Material«
Dániel Péter Biró: The Sound of the Voice is the Name of the Place. On Compositional Allegory in »Al Ken Kara« (That Is Why It Was Called)
Frank Cox: Expressive Substance in »Eight Etudes« for Cello Solo
Suzanne Farrin: Near and Far: How I Write Away from Inspiration
Wieland Hoban: The Conundrum of the Concrete. Or: How Much Content Can the Substance Take?
Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf: Concept and Abstraction. »void – kol ischa asirit« and »Hommage à Brian Ferneyhough«
Timothy McCormack: Dragging the Sound. The Locus of Substance in »DRIFT MATTER« for Solo Cello
Kai Johannes Polzhofer: Commemorative Composition. Analytical Remarks on »Trauermusik im Gedenken der Völkerschlacht 1813« (2012/13)
Wolfram Schurig: Étude transcendentale. Substance as a Compositional Task
Hannes seidl: Music as a Social Situation
Steven Kazoo Takasugi: On Musical Content (from a Composer‘s Perspective)
Ming Tsao: Resistance and Difficult