Pata compositions
for improvising orchestra

collage of musicians collage of musicians collage of musicians

Many years of work in the field of contemporary orchestral music, a fascination with how present-day compositional languages have evolved and the opportunity to engage with non-European cultures in concert tours facilitated by the Goethe Institute have enabled the composer Norbert Stein to develop a distinctive musical sign language for larger ensembles.

Stein's system of graphical notation began with "die fuenf Tage", played by the Pata Orchestra at the Moers Jazz Festival, and continued to develop in various encounters with "ARFI", the French musical collective (News of Roi Ubu). It then took him to Latin America, where he joined forces with Brazilian musicians in an imaginative application of his notational concept (Pata Bahia), and finally to Indonesia, where he crossed musical boundaries in his ground-breaking collaboration with KUA ETNIKA, the gamelan orchestra (Pata Java).
"Graffiti Suite", a composition also based on graphical notation and a resounding success when first performed by the NDR big band, is available on CD. Extracts from the score were also published by the American musicologist Theresa Sauer in her collection "Notations 21".

Example of graphic notation

Pata compositions are musical parades which are carefully guided by the conductor and yet allowed to unfold freely. They consist of a succession of changing musical scenes, distinctive sound structures, artfully arranged layers of events. These open up spaces for solo and collective improvisation, allowing an individual moment to be creatively captured in an exciting sequence of musical events which fascinate eye and ear.

The compositions are based on elementary and universally understood musical constructs which span all cultures. Stein's sophisticated system of graphical notation, a world apart from the 5-line system, outlines the musical process clearly and precisely, at the same time remaining open to the manifold possibilities of musical language and instrumentation, and allowing the individuality of the players to unfold.

Example of graphic notation

The symbiosis between composition and improvisation which is at the heart of Pata compositions provides a framework within which an improvising orchestra can create powerful, exciting and unique music - music of the 21st century.

Realising a Pata-composition for improvising orchestra:

Performance of the first movement of Graffiti Suite by the James-Choice-Orchestra at the MusikTriennale Koeln.

"Franz Pataeng"
(Part 1)

"Franz Pataeng"
(Part 2)

Cover of the CD Graffiti Suite

Further information and reviews about
Graffiti Suite played by NDR Bigband

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