On the May 7th and 8th, the Barbican celebrates the legendary composer Steve Reich with six unique concerts under the title 'Reverberations: The Influence of Steve Reich'. Ahead of the event, Hauschka guides us through his approach to the prepared piano.
"Since I found out in 2004 that it might be the most comfortable situation to play electronic music without any electronic equipment by preparing the piano with sounds on top of the strings, I am still fascinated by the possibilities.
In order not to reduce my musical output to the trick of preparing it is always important to put the instrument in a context or form to expand into diverse compositions and to keep on experimenting.
In Autumn 2009, I wrote twelve pieces for a classical chamber orchestra and at the same time I recorded more club-orientated tracks with pure piano sounds. These two divers poles somehow reflected my wish to expand the possibilities of the piano.
These diverse recordings also needed a diverse preparation technique and a different approach to playing the piano....which was and is always refreshing.
In general I use preparations that are bouncing on the strings or material between the hammers and the strings.......Here are a few things......for muted strings I use felt wedges and wooden sticks that piano tuners use to mute the strings.
For hi-hat sounds I use paper and thin plastic pieces.
For hi-hats and any rattling I use beer bottle caps and necklaces and for sustain notes I use vibrators and ebows depending on which character the tone should have.
At the Barbican concert [Hauschka performs on May 8th as part of the Reverberations weekend] I will perform with two wonderful drummers, Samuli Kosminen and Kai Angermann and because we play in a church [St. Lukes], which mostly has a lot of reverb , we have no idea what the sound situation will be and we will decide about the piece that we play at the soundcheck.
The influence of repetitive layers of sound, percussion, vibraphone and drums have all the elements that the compositions of Steve Reich have as well, where I see his music as a bridge between modern club music and indie music on the one side and on the other side the classical composition. Sometimes I have the impression of walking over a comparable bridge while I am building it and behind me it is collapsing at the same time.
I am more then honored to be a part of this festival and negotiate in the live situation my connection to Steve Reich."
Hauschka will play Session 5 of Reverberations.
Full details and tickets can be found at www.barbican.org.uk/reverberations/