Buchvorschau “Theatermusik. Analysen und Gespräche”. Teil 9: Paul Clark

Ein kurzer Auszug aus dem im Oktober 2019 erscheinenden Buch Theatermusik. Analysen und Gespräche (Roesner, Theater der Zeit 2019):

DR: Do you predominantly respond to the text with your music?

Paul Clark: It will be the text and a conversation with the director. But you’d be amazed how sketchy that is at that point! With Katie [Mitchell], if it is a naturalistic play, we might have an hour-long conversation and I might say: »I’ve read the text and I’m interested in one particular angle – ›looking‹«. I’m not too worried at this stage about whether the audience will find it legible. It’s just a way in. A way of finding musical games. I might write material for, say, clarinet and piano and pursue the idea, that the clarinet ›finds‹ the piano over the course of the piece – I’m just making this up, of course – but something like that might spark off an idea and then I write lots and lots of music, some of which uses electronic processes to further explore the idea.

Clearly the main reason I can write music before I have actually seen anything of one of Katie’s productions is because I have seen so much of her work and I know how ›high‹ it is going to be, how to pace things, what problems are likely to arise that I might be able to help solve. I also look at how much text there is on a page. If it is one of her live-cinema[i] productions, there sometimes isn’t so much text, which means that the music can be more detailed and even literally have more notes! Also, I look whether there is a pattern to the passages with fewer words that I can use. What I noticed when I was a young musician was that whenever I saw a film where I thought the music was amazing, and I waited for the credit, it was always ›found‹ music …

… so the music pre-existed and had its own logic like your music for theatre? …

PC: Exactly, and so that’s what I do! Also, and this is going to sound crazy, I don’t think the composer is always the best person to choose the music. At least for plays and movies where the structure of the piece is not a musical structure. I think the composer is the best person to write the music! I am happy to write music and let someone else decide where they think it works best. I can still react to that and if they are always using Track 3, I will then write some variations on it, so it develops during the piece and creates a satisfying journey. But I always know I am content with the raw material. Whereas if I try to fit it in and tailor the music during rehearsals, I have to essentially collaborate on writing the music with the director, which is possible but very hard and they have a lot of other things to worry about. I like to say: pick the things you like, I’ll give you a lot of choice. And I know that I’m happy with every piece of music that might end up in the show and that there is a strong family sound. There was no compromise when you wrote it. And you are free when you are writing! That’s my process and I try to talk people into letting me do that, whenever I can.


[i] See Janis Jefferies and Elena Papadaki: „Katie Mitchell: Intimate Technologies in Multimedia Performance“ (2012).


Dieser Eintrag wurde veröffentlicht in In English, Interview, Zitate von David Roesner. Permanenter Link des Eintrags.

Über David Roesner

David Roesner ist Professor für Theaterwissenschaft mit Schwerpunkt Musiktheater an der LMU München. Er forschte und lehrte bisher an den Universitäten Hildesheim, Exeter und Kent. 2003 erschien seine Dissertation Theater als Musik, 2007 wurde er mit dem Thurnauer Preis für Musiktheaterwissenschaft ausgezeichnet. Zuletzt publizierte er die Monographie Musicality in Theatre (Ashgate, 2014) und arbeitet jetzt an einem Buch zur zeitgenössischen Theatermusik.

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