Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros ‘Musica Nova Contemplativa’

'Musica Nova Contemplativa' LP front
'Musica Nova Contemplativa' LP back
'Musica Nova Contemplativa' side A
Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros

German visual artist Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros (born 1941, Bad Kreuznach, in Rheinland-Pfalz) was studying philosophy and psychology in the early 1960s when he started to experiment with phosphor pigments to create luminescent paintings, soon to be exhibitied in various international art galleries, including Cabinet Gallery, Frankfurt, 1965. The novelty of these paintings resides in the fact they do emit light themselves. Mühlum-Pyrápheros also created on site installations (called Translucent Architectural Sculptures) in architectural spaces, where translucent sculptural elements made of crystal glass and stainless steel reflect and color the environmental light. These sculptures have moving glass parts radiating light in multiple directions.

Published 1970, Musica Nova Contemplativa is Mühlum-Pyrápheros’ only released music composition, based on a 1964 graphic score. It is here interpreted by the author on violin (and viola?) and  Johann Georg Ickler on organ and percussion. It sounds like it was recorded in a non-resonant acoustic space, possibly a German Protestant church. The LP, recorded 1967 and released in 1970, was released by a French book publisher and whether there was a German edition is not known. It apparently came with a set of 12 color slides available on request from the publisher and which I don’t have – the pictures above (from  the official website) are intended as a replacement. The Musica Nova Contemplativa cycle is a collection of short, Minimal and rather focused duos. Each uses a modicum of means, like: slowly diffracting, long held notes, repeated pizzicati or a special violin technique that sometimes sounds remarkably like crystal glass played with wet hands. ‘Surfaces musicales statiques’, as the French liner notes appropriately describes the music.

Musica Nova Contemplativa:
01 Part I (5:11)
02 Part II (2:40)
03 Part III (1;57)
04 Part IV (3:59)
05 Part V (2:21)
06 Part VI (3:26)
07 Part VII (3:25)
08 Part VIII (2:45)
09 Part IX (1:59)
10 Part X (2:42)
11 Part XI (3:20)
12 Part XII (2:59)

Total time 36:40
LP released by Editions du Berger, France, 1970


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11 Responses to “Winfried Mühlum-Pyrápheros ‘Musica Nova Contemplativa’”

  1. 2 continuo April 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Glad you were curious enough to download this oddity. Thanks for your comment.

  2. 3 Marc Fontfreda April 23, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Yet another out-of-nowhere rarity unearthed by Mr. Continuo .
    Google the record title for info and there´s only one meaningful entry in the vastness of the internet. Guess ….

    Do you keep collecting this stuff ? , what are your sources (if you´re willing to tell us …)

  3. 4 continuo April 24, 2010 at 6:32 am

    To beat Google is not an easy task and is, obviously, only possible in the margins of the margins. I do collect rare and obscure records, sourced from second hand dealers, flea markets, eBay and mail orders. The above LP was bought in 2010. Thanks for your interest and your comment.

  4. 5 zepelim April 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Continuo,

    Thank you for the comment, we are looking foward to fix the rate.
    Congratulations for the great selection of records.

    Curious the name of this album being in portuguese…

    all the best,

  5. 6 continuo April 24, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Winfried Mühlum also says his artist’s name – Pyrapheros – is Greek for ‘lover of light’, which is dubious. Obviously he had a passion for foreign languages. I had no idea the title was in Portugese, as it sounded Latin to me. Thanks for the info and good luck with future issues of the Zepelim radio show.

  6. 7 zepelim April 25, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Good point, yes it makes sense he chose that name!

    From what I read, he presented his work in Lisbon (Portugal) also in São Paulo (Brazil) in the late 60s. Maybe its a reference to it.


  7. 8 paracetamole May 29, 2010 at 10:57 am

    i found the german issue of this record by w.m.p a few days ago
    it was released on düsselton label düsseldorf germany very small private label the only other reord i know on this label is a very hard to find krautrock lp by lang´syne released 1975 only 267 copys exists

    this copy was released in 1970 my version is a foldout cover and whats on the french release is the frontcover is here on the back and the writing musica nova….. is on the front +
    experimentalplatte nr.1 ( experimental record no.1) on the bottom of the frontcover .in the foc are liner notes by w.m.p with a date düsseldorf am rhein fall 1970
    maybe thats the first issue ??

    cheers marcel

  8. 9 continuo May 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Great find, Paracetamole. I can’t tell which issue is the original. Did your copy came with color slides?

  9. 10 holterbach July 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    what a lovely unknown gem ! considering the year of release, there’s something really exciting about this music, and also here is another exploration of continuous sound music, not exactly drone, but flux music, made by visual artist… at this moment of time, it seems that people close to visual arts were much more able to evolve from traditional “contemporary music”, and explore new exciting territory…
    too bad for me, now i REALLY want to get a copy of this record !!
    thanks so much for sharing this !

  10. 11 continuo July 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Hi, Emmanuel, thanks for your comment. I agree with you there’s a lot of original music that emerged from the visual arts, and this blog precisely explores the territory. Getting a copy of this LP will prove difficult, I’m afraid, so good luck.

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