SOMA021 / Ãkos RÃ³zmann
12 STATIONS / TOLV STATIONER (1978-2001)
- 1. Part I Property â€“ Room / Rekvisitasalen (57:35)
- 2. Part II Property â€“ Room / Rekvisitasalen (45:51)
- 3. Part III/1 The Contents and Life of the Black Pit / Det svarta hÃ¥lets innehÃ¥ll och liv (71:42)
- 4. Part III/2 The Contents and Life of the Black Pit / Det svarta hÃ¥lets innehÃ¥ll och liv (49:37)
- 5. Part IV The Abandonment of Hell / Helvetets Ã¶vergivande (59:38)
- 6. Part V The Awakening / Uppvaknandet (46:05)
- 7. Part VI The Celebrators / De firande (63:06)
7 CDâ€™s packaged in a hardcover slipcase with a pull ribbon, 20 page booklet containing an extensive essay on the composition by the scholar Gergely Loch, photos from the process and of scores and the composer
In 2012 Ideologic Organ released the 2LP set â€˜12 Stationer VIâ€™ featuring the last part of a large scale work by the Hungarian-Swedish composer AÌkos RoÌzmann. Here, in 2014 Ideologic Organ is immensely proud to present the complete version of RoÌzmannâ€™s epic masterpiece presented for the first time in its entirety as a deluxe 7CD set.
AÌkos RoÌzmann (1939-2005) was born in Budapest where he studied organ and composition at the Liszt Academy. From 1971 to 1974 he studied composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and from 1978 he was an organist at the catholic cathedral in Stockholm. Throughout his life RoÌzmann dedicated himself to musique concreÌ€te developing one of the largest and most rewarding bodies of work in this, the most alchemical of all musical genres. In the early eighties, RoÌzmann started to build a private electroacoustic studio which he installed in the basement of the Catholic Cathedral whilst continuing to work in tandem at the Elektronmusikstudion (EMS Sweden) where he produced his earlier masterpieces.
With an unwavering commitment to the creation of music RoÌzmann would often lock himself up in his windowless studio working into the night in order to achieve the results he desired. He did not seek the approval of his peers nor the satisfaction of his audience with the only concern being the perfect articulation of his vision. This combination of vision, passion and stubbornness resulted in one of the most singular catalogues within the field of musique concrete. Commissioned by the Hungarian composer MikloÌs Maros who requested a five-minute work for piano and voice. RoÌzmann accepted the offer with the intention of writing a tape piece made from recordings of MikloÌsâ€™ wife, the soprano singer Ilona Marosâ€™ and his own experiments with prepared piano. The elements recorded here became the source material for Twelve Stations, a work which flew far from the initial five minute brief to land 20 years later as a spirit stretching journey of more than 6 1/2 hours. The compositional process is unique in RoÌzmannâ€™s output due to the 18 year gap between the initial phase and completion of the final work. The first phase made between 1978-1980 consists of an exploration of traditional musique concreÌ€te techniques such as speeding up, slowing down, cutting and splicing tape. The last four stations made between 1998-2001 embrace digital technology where small sections of the original recordings from 1978 were fed through an effects processor and improvised on a sampler keyboard. Despite this gap and the different techniques deployed at each period of creation the monumental result sits as a complete and staggering whole.
Within the set limitations of the source material RoÌzmannâ€™s skill unfolds in an uncanny ability to coax a vast world of flexible sound from the original piano and voice recordings. The result is a maelstrom of dynamic audio and one of the most daring, challenging and rewarding works of musique concreÌ€te from the 20th Century. â€˜Property â€“ Roomâ€™ parts I and II initiate proceedings with a vast landscape of Sturm und Drang. The original material of piano and voice are dissected and reconstructed as a means of evoking an aggressive otherworldly atmosphere. â€˜The Contents and Life of the Black Pitâ€™ shifts further outside with an expansive palate of heavily corrupted voice and frenzied electronics dancing in a most unsettling fashion. â€˜The Abandonment of Hellâ€™ leads the listener into a sophisticated and shocking melange of audio disorientation, one with a distinct â€˜musicalâ€™ quality. One senses a master craftsman quietly whittling away at the individual elements in order to harness the previously unobtainable world within. Part V â€˜The Awakeningâ€™ implants female forms in the mix as the growling, belching, disturbing voices of the early sequences are replaced with more heavenly voices ascending the malformed matter below. RoÌzmann was typically ambiguous about the meaning behind his work despite suggesting earlier that the first part of â€˜Twelve Stationsâ€™ was an interpretation of the â€˜Tibetan Wheel of Lifeâ€™. Alongside his interest in Tibetan Buddhism he maintained his following of the catholic church and as a consequence one may also read this sequence, with its uplifting motifs as an ascent from hell into heaven. RoÌzmann concludes proceedings with â€˜The Celebratorsâ€™, which presents itself not as an ending but rather a continuation of sorts. A short musical refrain conjures a prism where refractions of voice and sound appear like a hall of mirrors, spiralling onwards and outwards, without end.
Epic in scale, timbre, technique, mood and movement, Twelve Stations is a unique masterpiece of 20th Century musique concreÌ€te and presents itself as an intensely personal and bold realm of sound, an offering as such, a radical mass open to all.
Man meets different difficulties and sufferings through his wandering. These are forces between which a continuous struggle is going on. He cannot control and preside over these forces. He is being tossed up and down, powerless, like snowflakes in the storm: chaotic thoughts and feelings, gladness and suffering, which flow without intermission like a river that has no beginning nor end. All these are the fruits of our own deeds. However, in this life you have the chance to make easier those life wanderings that are to come. - RoÌzmann (from the programme notes for the 1984 premiere of the first seven stations).
â€“ Mark Harwood