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Back with a bang: Speak Percussion assembles on The Sound Barrier!

The Sound Barrier for Sunday 3 September 2017

After five weeks out of the Sound Barrier chair, studying the music of my hero Karlheinz Stockhausen on the other side of the world, it is nice to be returning this weekend with three of my local heroes as studio guests.

Tomorrow night I will be joined live in the studio by Eugene Ughetti, Matthias Schack-Arnott, and Kaylie Melville of Melbourne's sensational percussion troupe, Speak Percussion, coming in to talk about, and play some live music from, their upcoming show, Assembly Operation, drawing on the sounds of everyday life and assembling them into yet another of Speak Percussion's trademark works of percussive, multimedia, invention: this time, building the unexpected and astonishing out of the familiar and unremarkable.

Alongside my chat with Eugene, Matthias, and Kaylie, and the music they'll be playing in the studio, I'll also be venturing into other percussion works that in one way or another have come back with me from my time in Kürten, Germany, throughout August.

That will include one of Stockhausen's earliest works, and his first piece for percussion, SCHLAGTRIO (Percussive Trio) for piano and 2 x 3 timpani, from 1952, which was given a sensational performance by three of this year's Stockhausen Course Participants – Tilmann Wolf on piano, and Songyi Kim and Huang Shiau-Shiuan on timpani. Unfortunately, I'm not able to bring you their performance - and it really was a stunner - but I can bring you the original recording made in 1976 and directed by the composer with the recently late Aloys Kontarsky on piano, and Jean Batigne and Georges von Gucht on timpani.

I'll also be playing recordings of two works by composers who were part of this year's Stockhausen Courses: Fellen ('Skins') for solo snare drum by Florian Zwißler and verval ('decay') for oboe and percussion by Eric Verbugt: two works that explore different alcoves in the diversity of what percussion can be and do.

I'll be finishing the show with a piece from the opposite end of Karlheinz Stockhausen's musical life: UVERSA, from his final cycle of works KLANG ('Sound'), for basset-horn and electronic music, played by Michele Marelli, the man who premiered it, and performed it again this year in Kürten, with all the power and conviction that this piece, which listens to and translates messages from the capital of the Superuniverse, commands.

I hope you can join me this Sunday night at 10.00 PM (AEST), either online or on the radio, as I return to bash and bang through The Sound Barrier. The show will also be available to listen back to, here on the website, shortly after it has gone live to air.

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