AG Neue Musik ‘Glasmusik’


01 Glasmusik – Teil 1 (22:32)
02 Glasmusik – Teil 2 (21:57)

AG Neue Musik with Walter Sons, conductor

Total time 44:30
LP released on Disco-Center, Germany, 1982

Inspired by Josef Anton Riedl’s 1977 ‘Glas-Spiel‘ (for glass tubes) and the activities of the then newly launched Toronto Glass Orchestra, Walter Sons created his own glass music ensemble in 1981, at first named AG Neue Musik (New Music Workshop). It was composed of students from the local Kassel University who were training to become music teachers. Walter Sons had been teaching new music, collective improvisation and direction at Kassel University since 1973. He later created an other ensemble titled Metalmusik (1987). Glass materials were collected thanks to a gift from the local Glashütte Süßmuth Gmbh company (in Immenhausen near Kassel), a company specializing in traditional glass manufacturing. The glass elements and objects are mostly used in their original state, neither re-build nor re-shaped, except for home-made glass flutes. The Glasmusik LP is based on several collective improvisations, from which 8 distinct parts emerged that were re-enacted for the recording. Additionally, post-production montage is noticeable on side B when the drum section slowly fade out.

The performance and recording site – the foundry house of the Henschel factory (where once the melted steel was put into shape) – adds to the acoustics of the instruments here. It is a rotunda (a building of circular shape), about 200 square meters big, with a dome-shaped roof, made up of clay tubes. The text mentions the ‘supra acoustic’ (probably a lot of reverb and sound reflections) that, while being critical for conventional instruments, was an advantage for the glass sounds.
[Email from Vespucci, Feb. 10, 2009]

The full range of glass sounds is used from hitting glass, blowing bottles, rubbing glass objects with ustensils or wetted hands, etc. Instrumentation is varied and include: glass tubes, sheets of glass, marble glass, hanging glass rods, glass flutes, various bottles and big jars reminiscent of Harry Partch’s Cloud-Chamber Bowls. In later Glasmusik Ensemble incarnations, glass harp, Plattenverrophone or Verrophone (see here and here) were added. Note: I’m adding a new category on this blog titled ‘glass music’ so as to include previous posts François et Bernard Baschet and Radical Glass Music. More to come, hopefully. Thanks to Vespucci for generous help with this post.


5 Responses to “AG Neue Musik ‘Glasmusik’”

  1. 1 vespucci February 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Uh, that was pretty fast! I didn’t expect it so soon here, continuo. Thanks for YOUR work, and for dedicating Philip his own “Glass Music” category… ;-)

  2. 2 continuo February 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I’m a great fan of glass, of course.

  3. 3 ushaped February 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks alot for this LP. I’ve seen the Glass Orchestra but never have heard of this ensemble before. I very much appreciated the included article on the acoustics of percussion instruments.

    Great blog!

  4. 4 continuo February 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    You’re welcome M. U-shaped.

  5. 5 malletdiction March 3, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    cool stuff.
    Hope they avoid the lead crystal madness associated with Ben Franklin’s instruments.

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