Christian Wolff initiated his "Microexercises" series when the Miniaturist Ensemble asked for a piece with no more than 100 notes in it; he went on to create 21 more pieces, 13 of which are performed here by the South African duo of Beat Keller & Reza Khota on electric guitar.
Keller, Beat / Reza Khota Play Christian Wolff
Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Released in: Germany
"Microexercises were started when the Miniaturist Ensemble asked for a piece with no more than 100 notes in it. Having enjoyed making one such piece, I went on to make 21 more (and then a second collection, Grete, with an additional 14). Instrumentation and number of players are mostly open, as are selection of pieces, playing order, clef and transposition readings, and dynamics.
I like the notion of quite long pieces, and, more recently, also quite short ones (these have a history too: Beethoven's Bagatelles, Schumann, Webern, Cage's piano Haiku from the 1950s, Kurtag). I don't worry too much about intensity of focus; it's more about transitoriness and catching what's going by, then letting it go. And making each piece itself, not like the others, or, if repeated, there is also the possibility of its being different from itself."-Christian Wolff, July 2013
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"Christian Wolff was born in 1934 in Nice, France, has lived in the U.S. since 1941. Studied piano with Grete Sultan and briefly composition with John Cage. Associated with Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor and Earle Brown, then with Frederic Rzewski and Cornelius Cardew. Since 1952 associated with Merce Cunningham and his dance company. Taught Classics at Harvard (1962-70) and Classics, Music and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College (1971-1999). Published articles on Greek tragedy, in particular, Euripides. Writings on music (to 1998) collected in book Cues (published by MusikTexte) and in Occasional Pieces (Oxford University Press, in preparation). Active as performer, also improviser with, among others, Takehisa Kosugi, Keith Rowe, Steve Lacy, Christian Marclay, Larry Polansky, Kui Dong and AMM. All music published by C.F. Peters, New York. Much of it is recorded (Mode, New World, Neos, Capriccio, Wandelweiser, Wergo, Matchless, Tzadik, HatArt, etc.). Honors include DAAD Berlin fellowship, grants from the Asian Council, Mellon Foundation, Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer, Foundation for Contemporary Performing Arts (the John Cage award); honorary degrees from California Institute of the Arts and from Huddersfield University (UK), membership in the Akademie der Kuenste, Berlin, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, lifetime achievement award from the state of Vermont."-Dartmouth College (http://eamusic.dartmouth.edu/~wolff/)
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• Show Bio for Beat Keller
"Guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and bandleader based in Winterthur, Switzerland. After graduating as a jazz guitarist from the Zurich School of Music and Drama (Hochschule für Musik und Theater Zürich), Beat Keller obtained a Master of Arts in composition from the Lucerne School of Music (Musikhochschule Luzern). Among his current projects are Keller's 10, Beat Keller & Reza Khota (CH/SA, guitar duo), Gunfire Orchestra (CH/NO/SA), Bowee/Keller, Peckinpah Trio (CH/USA) and Animate Repose (DE). His compositions have been played and recorded by NDR Bigband, Lucerne Jazz Orchestra, Ballbreaker Ensemble, Composer's Group Ensemble, Keller's 10 and the Haiku String Trio. Beat Keller has given concerts all over Switzerland, in neighbouring Europe, the United States and South Africa.
Record releases on: Unit Records, Alpinechic (both CH), Edition Wandelweiser Records (DE) and Silken Tofu (BE).
He has won the following grants and awards: "Best Debut Release 2008" (worldwide) awarded by AllAboutJazz, New York, for "Keller's <10>"; "Förderpreis 2010" from the City of Winterthur; "Artist Residency" in Cape Town, South Africa, 2012, awarded by the Pro Helvetia Foundation; "Moods Jazz & Blues Award 2013", 2nd prize for "Keller's 10"; "Artist in Residence" in Berlin, Germany, 2014/2015, awarded by the Canton of Zurich."-Beat Keller Website (http://beatkeller.com/en/about/)
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Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Catalog ID: EWR 1306
Squidco Product Code: 21828
Recorded in Southfield, Cape Town, South Africa on December 6th and 7th 2012 by Mark Fransman.
Beat Keller-electric guitar
Reza Khota-electric guitar
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1. Exercise No. 12 2:31
2. Exercise No. 1 2:15
3. Exercise No. 14 5:23
4. Exercise No. 13 1:13
5. Exercise No. 8d 11:47
6. Exercise No. 6 0:25
7. Exercise No. 9 1:43
8. Exercise No. 20 0:21
9. Exercise No. 21 0:22
10. Exercise No. 22 0:09
11. Exercise No. 11 2:39
12. Exercise No 22 Take 2 (Powerchords) 0:09
13. Exercise No. 14 Take 2 8:19