Harald Kimmig – One Body One Bow One String



1. Part I (35:07)
2. Part II (26:59)

· Harald Kimmig: violin

All music by Harald Kimmig (GEMA)
Recorded by Alexander Grebtschenko at Sonic Art Laboratory Freiburg on 17/7/2014
Mixed and mastered by Alexander Grebtschenko
Drawings by Harald Kimmig
Liner note by Nina Polaschegg, translation by Ruth Chastel
Graphic design by László Szakács
Produced by László Juhász

Harald Kimmig violin solo Variety in Reduction

Whilst it is often stated that the hardest part is played by the nimble fingers of the left hand, the right hand is the real “heroine” of music and virtuosity. The left hand has something else to do – or to pause. But more on that later. Dexterity and artistic sensitivity = high musicality. And to mention another equation: reduction + variation = lively stylistic diversity. Or: reduction + high intensity = powerful energy with soft intimacy. A contradiction? Not at all when listening to the music played by Harald Kimmig. Both compositions of the solo CD are based on the same musical material, which is artfully arranged and dramatically slightly altered by the violinist. Thus, variety is achieved by iterative variations, by spacious twists upon the theme and the interaction between contrasting and continually evolving the musical material. Gentle changes in perspective unfold the music just heard to carry on in constant variation. Reprise, coda, inversion.

Both half-hour pieces start with powerful tremolos before following sometimes straight-lined, then again intertwined paths. There is no variance in pitches, no motif, gesture, not even a melody or rhythm opening the dramaturgical field. Only fast bow strokes on the strings, always the same tone. Rather, the same keynote. The pitches will follow, many of them – for it is the overtones that Harald Kimmig teases out of his instrument. Arranged in a virtuoso manner, he creates polyphonic sound patterns from a single, bowed violin note. It almost sounds as if various violinists are interacting. It is the change of the stroke, but also slightly shifting the bow pressure that trigger this pitch explosion. On and on, there is no pause, no breathing. And suddenly the bow stops, the pressure is enormous, a rasping resulting noise, as if the bow arm had to fight against a high resistance. And presently flies over the strings with the greatest of ease again to conjure tremoli, repetitions, spectra of kaleidoscope-like colour and pattern. In between rhythms show up for a short time, the steady repetition turns into almost dance-like gestures. But these are only brief interludes, irritations. It almost seems as if they serve to draw a deep breath, to have a short break, to release tension in order to regain concentration to be able to follow up on the long, continuous path of violin sounds. On and on. Now the left hand, which did not have a lot to do yet, becomes active. Not, however, to stand by her colleague and to divide the bowed sounds into various (basic) pitches. No, she does her own thing, letting her fingers fall on the instrument’s body instead of on the strings. By creating acoustic colour variations the fingers of the left hand follow suit the right hand. Thus, the left hand produces different tones: From high over muffled to beating and pulsing sounds, the variety of acoustic colours is amazing. As soloist as well as duet with the bow hand, they perform against each other, next to each other, meeting each other.

This evokes associations. For example, associations with the string trio in which Harald Kimmig plays together with cellist Alfred Zimmerlin and double bassist Daniel Studer. As with his solo project, one does not always know how many musicians are actually playing. While Harald Kimmig succeeds in making the auditor sometimes believe that he/she is listening to a duet, the three string players often sound like a meta-instrument. Absolute precision, exact interplay (whether human to human or hand to hand), a musical and tonal thinking that is both fluent and conceptual. Spontaneously and momentarily realized in full clarity. It also evokes the association with Harald Kimmig as a performer who uses his body as a kind of second instrument. Sometimes his movements are in tune with the self-produced sounds, and then he acts as an antagonist, as a visible-physical counterpart of the acoustic identity.

On and on. For just half an hour. Only then there will be time to pause.

Nina Polaschegg
Translated by Ruth Chastel

Released: December 2018 / first edition of 300 copies
Purchase: Bandcamp / Discogs



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