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).