Corroboree: for 3 or 2 Pianos

Year 1964
Publisher Edition Peters
Program Notes CORROBOREE was composed in 1963–64 on commission from Radio Bremen, Germany, and first performed in that
city by Aloys, Alfons, and Bernhard Kontarsky in May, 1964.

The title is an Australian native word defined by Webster as a nocturnal festivity with songs and symbolic dances by which the Australian aborigines celebrate events of importance; a noisy festivity; TUMULT. The piece will be a little noisy, and although the Kontarsky brothers are not Australian and did not actually sing or dance, the festive aspect of their activities is both legendary and joyous, and thus the title seems quite apt.

I have used five kinds of piano sounds as the basic structural material: single notes, chords, and clusters on the keyboard, and pizzicato and muted sounds on the strings. By means of frequency, tempo, and density controls, these five “colors” are distributed among the three pianos to make the continuity a kind of sonicspatial “conversation .”

The macro-form is fixed but there are degrees of flexibility and spontaneous exchange in most of the interior sections of the form. As in my “open-form” works (a different form of the materials in each performance), the possibility of intimate, immediate, and spontaneous exchanges and shifts of action and “poetry” throughout the performance is extremely important.

More Information Commissioned by Radio Bremen, Germany for the Bremen Festival. Dedicated to the Kontarsky brothers.
Audio Samples


Selected Performances 1964-05-06 Bremen
Soloist: Aloys, Alfons, Bernhard Kontarsky

1969-03-03 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Alfons Kontarsky

1969-03-07 Mainz, Germany
Soloist: Alfons & Aloys Kontarsky

1976-01-28 Frankfurt
Soloist: Anne Stickler, Heiner Goebbels, Joachim Baerenz

1983-05-12 Saarbruecken, Germany
Soloist: Yukiko Sugawara, Gunilde Cramer, Andras Hamary

1987-05-11 Auditorium RAI, Rome
Ensemble: Ensemble Gruppo Musica d'Oggi

1989-12-01 Oberlin College Conservatory of Music
Ensemble: Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble
Conductor: Earle Brown
Soloist: Carl Riehl, Jeremy Denk, Robert Spano

1992-04-09 Darmstadt
Scholz, Kristiane; Persson, Mats 

1993-06-03 Hebbel Theater, Berlin

1995-01-14 Leipzig
Soloist: Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Florent Boffard

2000-04-10 University of Texas College of Music
Conductor: Fouad Fakhouri
Soloist: Tomoko Yonemaru, Cavett Hughes

2001-09-14 Sendesaal Radio Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Ensemble: MusikFabrik

2002-11-20 MoMaQNS -Long Island City, New York
Ensemble: Stephen Gosling, Joseph Kubera, Mark Peloquin

2003-11-22 Funkhaus Wallrafplatz, K?ln, Germany

2013-01-19 Boston
Callithumpian Consort

2016-07-30 Maui, Hawaii
performed by Adam Tendler, Joan Forsyth, Robert Pollock
New Music for 1, 2, & 3 Pianos (released 1995)
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SCENE Piano Music of the Darmstadt School Vol 2 (released 2004)
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