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Large Works Have Major Potential for Conflict: a Talk with Jan Müller-Wieland

A very wide variety of composers and authors of the musical scene gave “designations of their positions” during the course of the Frankfurt Music Fair in March 2008. Excerpts of these statements can be read in the printed edition of the Neue Musikzeitung 4/08 and in their entirety on the website of that magazine.

Amongst the comments made by composer Jan Müller-Wieland, presently living in Munich, are the following:

“Tradition is the most exciting thing. After all, it can only take shape if it is of a high standard. Tradition in music history or literary history is the tradition of not creating boredom. The point is to create tensions and represent conflict; thus the point is the tradition of the history of conflict in music. The greatest pieces are always the pieces with the greatest potential for conflict. As far as that goes, I regard myself almost imploringly as a traditionalist.

“I don’t think of a listener while writing. During the process of invention, I am first of all interested in the situation of the piece, its dramaturgy. The performance space is also important, however. I try to think from within the piece itself on the basis of dramatic conception.

“With vocal music, my aim is to transport the text to another level of reality by setting it and through my sonic ideas. This is not deconstruction, but rather transformation.”