Beyond Formalism: developing dramaturgy as the basis for a freer formal expression in music related to the natural world
Katmeridu-Staneva, Afrodita Katmeridu
Having as a background the unique Bulgarian folk music with its irregular rhythms, and the system of the East European and Middle Eastern maqams, as well as the traditions of central European music, these compositions attempt to synthesise a new and personal musical expression. This is based on the exploration of the structural proportions of rhythms and scales, using short musical ideas as constants, each capable of development and transformation as described in the theoretical work of Jan Kapr (Konstanty. Prague: Panton, 1967). These constants are transformed within various technical categories, for example: rhythm, sound painting, harmony, melody, etc. where each transformation has a different process, repeating and developing polyphonically, and creating diverse means of expression in search of a narrative consistency. This musical narrative is related to the dramaturgy of the natural world, using different instrumental forces to express the energies and interactions of phenomena such as colours, crystalline structures, and biological and geological evolution. Grounded in the work of J. S. Bach, the notion of the constant was developed through the analysis and use of techniques found in the compositions of György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, and the English composer George Benjamin. Leoš Janaček’s rhythmic layers, and Arnold Schönberg’s rethinking of polyphony in his development of the dodecaphonic system were also influential, as well as some aspects of music therapy, in relation to the power of colours and natural phenomena on the human psyche. This submission is the result of the personal, lifelong development of its author: a result of rethinking and unfolding the main principles of the music of the previous centuries, seen through the eyes and with the perceptions of an artist living in the 21st century. The main goal was to produce a unique, well organised, and expressive musical language without any obvious signifiers of a national style, in which everything has its place, and is a response to the powers and processes of the world around us: music that has all the preconditions to be well understood and appreciated by both performers and listeners, and which is grounded in, yet renews, cross-cultural musical traditions.