Ich grolle nicht Remix is a seven-minute real-time performance composition for two Blue Air infrared MIDI controllers, custom software created in Max, and Kyma. Ich grolle nicht Remix represents my electroacoustic recomposition of Robert Schumann’s “Ich grolle nicht,” from his song cycle Dichterliebe, Op 48, No. 7. To create my interactive electroacoustic recomposition I reflected upon Schumann’s original musical setting, inclusive of the text, the vocal lines, and the piano accompaniment, and sought to create a new musical outcome that plays against the musical and cultural expectations generated by the original song. The sounds contained in this composition are predicated on a recording of a performance by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone, and Alfred Brendel, piano. I augmented this sonic material by making individual audio recordings of both the voice and piano parts with Stephen Rodgers performing the vocal part, and me playing the piano part. Unlike traditional acoustic musical settings based on notes being the fundamental element, electronic music composition deals directly with sound as its primary component. The compositional techniques associated with the sonic transformations used in Ich grolle nicht Remix include sampling techniques, granular synthesis, and analysis and resynthesis.
In my composition, I considered the original song and the poem’s emotional tone before reimagining the interactive electronic music composition. In “Ich grolle nicht,” Schumann expresses intense inner conflict as an emotional response after the poetic persona has been rejected by his beloved. I augmented this sarcastic and ironic tone to its micro-sonic level through synthesis techniques and performative actions shaped by the Blue Air controllers. Audio snippets of sounds are shortened and expanded to durations that cannot be achieved or imagined using traditional acoustic instruments or human voice.
Because the sight of an individual operating infrared sensors and computer technology is visually so different from a vocalist and pianist performing, the sensitivity of time and place is dramatically altered in my version. Because Schumann’s original music setting is so familiar to our ears, the musical transformations I produce are all the more striking.