Petr Bakla  



For Eduard Herzog (2006) for violoncello and piano

- durata ca. 8 min
- commissioned by Avantgarde Tirol
- premiered by Rohan de Saram and Marlies Nussbaumer in Seefeld-in-Tirol on 1st September 2006

Eduard Herzog (1916–1997) was a Czech musicologist and thinker. In the 1960s, he made himself internationally famous by discovering the principle of construction of the all-interval dodecaphonic rows and worked out, using only his head, pen and paper, a complete list of these rows (there are almost 2000; independently of Herzog, the same was achieved by Herbert Eimert in Germany, but with the aid of computers and on more primitive level of understanding of the whole phenomenon). I always felt a bit sorry for Herzog, since his achievement of genius (and a kind of Holy Grail for the dodecaphonists) came somewhat too late, when the dodecaphony and related techniques were already becoming matter of history (and Herzog’s country was facing the not-exactly-modern-music-supporting Soviet troops...)
The underlying idea of the piece is an attempt to re-think (and perhaps de-construct, to use a trendy word...) the very universal and elegant idea of “all-intervalness” and “full chromaticism”. My approach is that of undodecaphonist simplification: the “all-intervalness” is represented by just four notes (e.g. 2-3-1), for “full chromaticism” stands nothing else than the chromatic scale. However, some 10 Herzog rows have been used with fidelity – they are running simultaneously in the D section of the piece, the pronouncedly undodecaphonic nature of the resulting music being due to certain property of the rows which I detected when reading through Herzog’s list and which may be my little and late contribution to twelve-tone technique, today so ridiculously outdated.
Thus, from some point of view, FOR EDUARD HERZOG is a kind of survey on what have remained to us, born some 20-30 years after the apogee of serial music took place, from the old-good-avantgarde times; an attempt to find a personal connection with those avantgarde-heroes, to greet them and say thank you, with all that inevitably idealized nostalgia and a touch of irony.