Helmut Schäfer – Thought Provoking III

Helmut Schäfer

CD – 23five
This interpretation of Helmut Schäfer’s free score features muted tones from a pipe organ, electronics, a hair dryer, a gong, a violin and an intermittent flux of percussion. These are the basic elements of Though Provoking III, the last work by the Austrian electroacoustic composer who committed suicide in 2007. The elaborate composition was first presented in his hometown, Graz, while a second performance in Vienna featured violinist Elisabeth Gmiener. In 2006 the work received a third articulation with percussionist Will Guthrie joining Gmeiner at the St. Andre Church in Graz. After Schäfer’s death Guthrie carefully wove the three recordings into one, remaining faithful to the original compositional tension and generating the basis for this album. The work was remixed by Zbigniew Karkowski, whose close collaboration with Schäfer dates to back to 1998, with Disruptor, the Austrian artist’s debut album, which preceded Bisskraft (2007) and Eminent Risk Factor (2008). Schäfer always used musical language in a very acute and explicit way, as a pick-lock for exploring his relationship to society and loudly expressing dissent. In this work, the alternation of opposites does not lead to any form of pacification; there are gashes of lighting here as well as shadowy zones. According to Schäfer noise may be considered as “a therapy that can help us face with ourselves and the sides of the life that are less beautiful.” A very special source of energy, which in his case, sadly, was not enough to relieve his many burdens.