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Godfried-Willem Raes: “Fuga Otto Nove” (1991)

From the album Logos Works

The Belgian composer and polyartist Godfried-Willem Raes (born 1952 in Ghent) is a self-styled muziekmaker (music-maker) whose work spans many different media and creative approaches, including self-built instruments and software, automata, compositional algorithms, and sound installations. Among Raes’ more ambitious innovations is holosound, an “invisible instrument” that translates the motions of a performer into sound via a computer-driven interface. (The idea of controlling sound through bodily movement has a precursor in the remarkable Terpsitone of Leon Theremin, invented in 1932.) 

In 1968, Raes founded the Logos Foundation, a new music organization built around the performances of the Logos Duo, consisting of Raes and his wife and fellow composer Moniek Darge. Raes later designed the Logos Tetrahedron, unique performance space in the Ghent city center. In addition to hosting Raes and Darge’s music, the space is used as a forum for a diverse array of avant-garde, experimental, and world music performances, from Japanese butoh to amplified plants. (Recently, Logos Foundation’s funding from the Flemish government has come under attack. Please sign this online petition to urge the continued support of this vital musical institution.)

"Fuga Otto Nove" is an extract from Raes’ Fugue Books, a collection of compositions created using custom-built software to implement rules of contrapuntal interaction between voices in a polyphonic texture. The goal was to devise a set of compositional rules that would elaborate a polyphonic web purely on the basis of the initial melody, known as the “subject” or dux. On the basis of the software’s analysis of the subject, it offers the composer a number of choices, guiding but not fully determining the process of musical creation. 

Intended as an object of “abstract music” in the tradition of J. S. Bach’s The Art of Fugue, Raes’ Fugue Books leave open such details as instrumentation, tempo, and dynamics. The resulting music is at once rigorous and playful, and offers a distinctive contribution to one of the most storied genres of European classical music.


Played 179 time(s).

June 18, 2012, 1:47pm

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