Thomas Köner

Tiento de la Luz

Denovali Records den249cd
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A tiento is a form of keyboard music that originated in Spain in the mid-15th century. Thomas Köner's first encounter with this musical genre was initiated by an invitation from the Frankfurter Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (Frankfurt Society for New Music) to do a live performance. For this performance Köner chose to do an interpretation of Antonio Cabezon’s "Tiento del primer tono" (1570), that he rearranged and played with gongs, keyboard and live-electronics in 2012. "Tiento de la Luz" is Köner's second tiento, succeeds "Tiento de las Nieves" (2014) and precedes the upcoming "Tiento de la Oscuridad". While "Tiento de las Nieves" is a work for solo piano and live-electronics, the instrumentation of "Tiento de la Luz" is more diverse: in addition to Köner's distinct live-electronics, there are two parts for keyboard, percussions, and viola da gamba.

For Thomas Köner the difference between writing purely electronic music, like "Permafrost" (1993), and creating music with classical instruments and electronics is only gradual. The core of Köner's works is always a sense of place (topos) and tone colour. He often travels around the world and records sounds and images, and this can result in sonic topographies like "La Barca" (2009), a panorama of 22 locations on five continents, or "Novaya Zemlya" (2012), based on his engagement with an island in the Russian arctic. Köner experiences the colours of place and tone as unique voices of these locations, while being aware that these expressions are just surface effects.

The starting point for Köner's work is his understanding of that sense of place and tone, the awareness of its radiance, and the distinction of what it is not: It is not a realization that could be accomplished by pure field recordings. Similarly, the place, the seed around which Köner's creative process unfolds, cannot be a geographical one, and neither a temporal one. In fact, according to Köner, the “eternal now” commonly associated with music or its experience is a myth and just does not exist, because the "now" never appears without a timeline. In the liner notes to this album, Köner even goes as far as to claim that "Music does not exist". "And how could it?", he continues, "The beat has no presence and can only point to the following beat, the insubstantial note depends completely on its neighbours in the melodic line, the chord is dispensable after its harmonic release and one abstract noise obstructs the other. These elements are obviously marginal, peripheral gestures that I have emphatically peripherized in my work."

The only expression that is independent and able to communicate itself according to Köner is tone colour. In the finishing words of the album liner notes, Köner states: "And as it became clear, the mysterious seed, the topos of all sonic expression, lies in tone colour, or better, lies in the awareness of it, which is its resonance. The textbook definition of tone colour can only describe what it is not: qualities of sound that are not related to pitch, volume, or duration. Tone colour is therefore the absence and yet the total presence. For example, a mother reading a fairy tale to her child is reading words made of letters - but the child hears the mother’s “I love you“ in her voice. This is resonance. I throw a pebble in a lake and there is resonance. If the pebble is dirty, there is still resonance. There is a sense of purity. Thoughts create resonance. Sounds create resonance. Resonance is pristine, detached of the object. Appearing as tone colour, sound has the potential to become its own resonance, effortless and luminous."

Thomas Köner: Tiento de la Luz

Tiento de la Luz 1 Thomas Köner 8' 15''
Tiento de la Luz 2 Thomas Köner 6' 57''
Tiento de la Luz 3 Thomas Köner 9' 47''
Tiento de la Luz 4 Thomas Köner 7' 31''
Tiento de la Luz 5 Thomas Köner 11' 15''
Tiento de la Luz 6 Thomas Köner 5' 25''

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