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 cds
Direct purchase: Bandcamp / Discogs






“Harald Kimmig is a German violinist, improviser and composer from Offenburg. In his youth, he studied violin. In later years John Tchicai and Cecil Taylor were among his teachers and he also performed with them. Nowadays he has a trio with Carl Ludwig Hübsch and Lê Quan Ninh, and another one with Swiss musicians Daniel Studer (bass) and Alfred Zimmerlin (violoncello). For Creative Sources, he released two CDs in 2018 with Ernesto and Guilherme Rodrigues, a.o. Already in 1997 Kimmig released a solo violin album ‘Im Freien’. With ‘One Body One Bow One String’ Kimmig chooses once more the solo path. The release consists of two lengthy improvisations of 35 and 27 minutes. During these improvisations, he introduces more and more extended techniques and moves away from the recognizable violin sound. Speed and repetition are two main characteristics. The improvisations are performed with great drive and show vibrant energy. Patterns move on and are slightly changed and at the same time, the music is full of dazzling detailed complexity. During these extensive improvisations, Kimmig sometimes makes a contrasting gesture or twist. In some passages, he plays the violin in a percussive way, at other moments he produces a very noisy sound. But whatever happens on the way, both improvisations are propelled forward with a strong focus. This is an inspiring work by an excellent performer, released by the Slovenian Inexhaustible Edition label.” / Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly, 7 May 2019


“Album en solo de violon improvisé et … maîtrisé de manière alternative, bruissante et virtuose. Deux pièces respectivement de 37:05 et de 26:59. La science du frottement à la fois faussement répétitive, mécanique et pleine de nuances, extrême, étirée, jusqu’au boutiste. J’avais été fasciné par le Live at the Mosteiro Santa Clara a Velha par le violoniste Carlos Zingaro, habité par un lyrisme inouï. Se situant au même niveau que son collègue portugais, mais dans une démarche plus «conceptuelle», Harald Kimmig incarne la gestualité et le rapport physique les plus expressifs qu’on puisse entendre. Une formidable capacité à varier les sonorités dans un ostinato dense et sauvage à l’image du dessin de la pochette. Les percussions col legno sur les cordes et le corps de l’instrument, l’insistance rythmée de ces pizzicati et frottements et son audace se libèrent dans un flux organique qui happe l’écoute, l’attention de l’auditeur dans une mise en tension jamais prise en défaut, même quand cela frise le silence (cfr 1/ vers la minute 32-33). Le violoniste sublime l’utilisation des techniques alternatives: magique. Harald Kimmig fut un jour sélectionné par Cecil Taylor lui-même pour se produire avec lui à Berlin en 1989 lors de la deuxième de ses inoubliables résidences Berlinoises (Looking (Berlin Version) Corona/ FMP). C’est tout dire. Il a fait peut parler de lui publiant un album ou deux par décennie. On peut l’entendre aujourd’hui avec le String Trio, en compagnie du violoncelliste Alfred Zimmerlin et du contrebassiste Daniel Studer, un groupe aussi convaincant que le Stellari Quartet de Wachsmann, Hug, Mattos et Edwards. Écoute recommandée du String Trio: Im Hellen (hat Now ART) et Raw avec John Butcher en invité (Leo). Voici un improvisateur incontournable, intransigeant, radical et portant l’acte d’improviser au sommet comme ses collègues Jacques Demierre, Michel Doneda, Lê Quan Ninh, Urs Leimgruber, John Russell, Gunter Christmann… Incontournable! Produit par László Juhász, un irréductible basé à Ljubljana, une ville où il se passe quelque chose.

PS: le premier album solo d’Harald Kimmig fut publié il y a longtemps sur le label Hybrid et est tout aussi merveilleux: Im Freien.” / Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, Orynx-improv’andsounds, 17 May 2019


“Harald Kimmig, gerade gehört mit Daniel Studer und Alfred Zimmerlin, gehört in Freiburg zum selben fieselschweifigen Fähnlein wie Ramsey Ameen, Billy Bang, Jon Rose, Phil Wachsmann, Albrecht Maurer oder Gunda Gottschalk. Er hat, in den 80ern ‘eingeweiht’ durch Cecil Taylor, neben dem improvisatorischen Händchen auch ein kompositorisches, vereint in der interdisziplinären Erforschung des menschlichen Faktors in Tanz, Wort, Grafik, Klang. Neben dem Zusammenklang als EKT mit eRikm und Olaf Tzschoppe oder Verzweigungen im Creative Sources-Gestrüpp in Lissabon stehen Aufführungen mit The Human Factory Band, 2016 die Bespielung von Villingen-Schwenningen mit ‘MegaHer(t)zStadt’ und heuer im Juli das elektroakustische Spektakel ‘Position_900-Freiburg sonifiziert’ zur 900-Jahrfeier der Breisgaumetropole. Hier aber, eingespielt 17 Jahre nach seinem waldeinsamen ‘Violin Solo »Im Freien«’, ist Kimmig wieder ganz für sich. Diesmal auf engem Raum, als ein surrender Schwarm, ein tremolierender Drang in bebender Unschärfe und unbändiger Unruhe, ein manueller, schwellender Strichcode, sägend, fieselnd, zuckend. Ein Ton, tatsächlich ostinat nur auf einer Saite gefiedelt, gezirpt, geknarrt, geräuschhaft furzelnd, manisch wetzend, col legno klappernd. Sogar ganz perkussiv, wobei der Bogen verwischt, was die Fingern krabbeln und tocken. Holz und Gespinst in Interaktion, irrwischig strichelnd, rappelig klopfend. Keine Violine kann ahnen, dass ihr mal sowas blüht. Wobei es ja prickelt, pikanter als das gewohnte Pizzicato, ausgefuchst auf Draht, auf kleinstem Fleck ein Lexikon der Unruhe, mit Seiten in ppp. Und einem zweiten Band, mit wiederum schillernden Tremoli, manisch grillend, im Wechsel von leicht und druckvoll, schnell und schneller, schabend, klopfend. Die Violine in der Nussschale. Und als Nussknacker. Mit Kimmig als Scrat, das ‘Ice Age’-Cronopio, das aber zuletzt mit knurrendem Magen in Winterschlaf sinkt.” / Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, BA 105, 3 March 2020